Chances are good that if you're reading this publication you already have a pretty decent grasp of English (probably better than ours, in fact), but for the native Japanese speaker looking to brush up on his/her foreign language skills, we can't think of a device better suited for the task than NHC's rather awkwardly-named Magic-Talker Color Personal Multi-lingual Assistant. Like previous offerings we've seen from Sharp
, and Franklin
, the USB 2.0-compatible Magic-Talker contains numerous dictionaries along with incorporating MP3 and WMA music playback functionality, but those goodies are just the tip of the iceberg. You're also getting tons of conversation tutorials -- complete with animated representations on the full color QVGA display -- and several practice tests for acing the TOEIC exam and impressing business colleagues with your copious English skillz. But that's not all, as this 256MB device (upgradable by 2GB with an SD card) also supports DivX and MPEG-4 video playback (with a TV out for vids up to 640 x 480 at 30fps) and sports an FM tuner (with direct recording, of course), line-in recording, and the ubiquitous voice recorder for practicing your pronunciation. Games, a calculator, and an E-Book reader are also standard, making the ¥44,800 ($386) LM-500J (as it's officially known) seem like a veritable steal compared to similarly-priced devices without nearly as many features. Throw in some WiFi, Bluetooth, and WLAN radios, and we'd
even buy one, though we couldn't for the life of us tell you the difference between kanji, katakana, and hiragana.