Digital | ON: TECH

Everything you need in one gadget

by Chiho Komoriya

Whether old-school or state of the art, the more a gadget can do, the more you feel you need it.

Takara Tomy gets very meta

The popularity of social networking picture apps like Instagram isn’t waning, but there has been a little backlash to digital photography with a rise in younger generations taking an interest in retro-style analog snapshots, in particular with instant cameras. Toy company Takara Tomy is tapping into that market with the Pixtoss ,a new instant toy camera that will be released in white on Feb. 27, with other colors following in March.

The Pixtoss uses Fujifilm Instax mini film, but unlike the adult Instax series of cameras, it has a wide-angle lens, making group selfies much easier to take. Basically, its a toy so don’t expect anything particularly advanced. It’s quite chunky, with large buttons and very simple functions. The viewfinder and flash are in one corner, the shutter lever next to the lens and there’s a side handle to manually crank out the photo. To use, simply point, shoot, then turn the handle.

A fun addition is a free lens filter that reduces light entering the camera so that you can take double (or more) exposure shots and superimpose images. For an extra ¥1,408, a color filter set is also available to give photos an orange, pink or green tinge. They’re like Instagram instant-film filters, but for an actual instant-film camera.

At ¥6,578, the Pixtoss could make a good first camera for a kid, but there’s nothing to stop adults having fun with this, too.

bit.ly/pixtoss-jp (Japanese only)

Don’t miss a word on TV

Sony’s SRS-LSR200 kills two birds with one speaker: It improves the TV watcher’s listening experience by bringing the sound closer to them, while also functioning as a remote control unit.

This stereo speaker’s charging dock is connected to the TV via its headphone or digital audio output jack, which ensures that it plays sound simultaneously with the TV speakers. It has buttons on top to allow the user to change channels and a dial to adjust volume. Sony released a similar SRS-LSR100 in 2015, but this new update includes an extra built-in speaker at its center, which only outputs human voice frequencies, making dialogue clearer to listeners.

Originally designed for the hard of hearing and people who like to watch TV from afar while doing something else, the speaker has a top handle, so that its easy to move around. Just leave it in the dock to charge (or plug it in directly to a power outlet) when not in use, then carry it to wherever you want it. It’s also splash-proof — good for kitchen users — and has a headphone jack, so you can plug in headphones without the need of a cumbersome extension lead directly connected to the TV.

Priced at ¥22,000, the SRS-LSR200 is compatible with a range of TV brands, can run for 13 hours on a full three-hour charge and, as a giant remote controller, it could come in handy for those who keep losing the TV’s original one behind the sofa.

bit.ly/tvspeaker-jp (Japanese only)

A really smart wallet

Smartphone, check; wallet, check; battery, check; cables, check. These days there are so many things you need to make sure you have before you leave the house, and so many things that are easily lost. Hirase International Trading has taken an all-in-one approach to its Superby project by combining a phone case, battery and cables into one wallet.

A successful Makuake crowdfunding project, the Superby looks like a simple long wallet. Inside, however, there’s a 5,000 milliamp hour power bank that supports wireless charging and has both lightning and micro-USB cables built-in. There’s also a USB Type-C connector in another pocket. It can charge up to three devices simultaneously: one wirelessly, two using cables.

As a wallet, there’s a section for notes, slots for credit cards and a pocket for a smartphone. At just under 18 centimeters long and 10 centimeters wide, it can store an iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 11 Pro Max and various Androids. There’s only one color, though — black. The Superby will retail at ¥11,800, but if you are quick, you can still get one for as low as ¥8,260 via Makuake.

bit.ly/superby-jp (Japanese only)

Coronavirus banner