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Panasonic SL-S 360

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      03.08.2000 17:36

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      I bought this portable CD player for one reason, battery life and in that respect it has never let me down. The SL-SX300 is about as small as a portable CD player could get, being not much larger than an actual CD. The base is black while the Lid is a metalic blue. There are sockets for line out, a power adpator and of course the headphones. Around the side there is a volume control while on the front edge is a hold switch and one for selecting playing mode (normal, resume or random), both of these are sliding switches. At the top of the lid is a LCD display showing the track number and time, in front of this are largish round buttons for back, stop, play/pause and forward. To the left of the display are buttons for the equalizer and memory, to the right for anti-shock and repeat. The anti-shock mode is only 10 seconds but I have rarely had any trouble with this. Even though I always have this option switched on it does not seem to have significantly reduced the battery life. The Equalizer thoughis less impressive having only three modes - normal, xbs and live. There was a time when you could manually set the equalization but for some reason modern technology now means we can't be trusted and have to have some rather dodgy digital methods. I like the resume mode which means that when I next turn the machine on it will resume playing from where I left off. You do need to reset this switch whenever you change CD though because it just remembers a track number and goes to it regardless of the disc. Also it annoyingly goes into repeat mode when you play a CD, probably so it can replay those first few tracks it skipped although it will now loop enedlessly unless you manually stop it. The hold button is essential as it stops any of the buttons on the lid from working so that it doesn't get accidentally turned on, or off, while bouncing around in a bag. The LCD panel just displays the track number and time that has been
      played. When the player is switched on but not playing it displays the number of tracks and disc length. I prefer a time remaining timer to a time played one but there is no option for this. While it clearly has the capability to display battery strength this is not used on this model. There are also inidcator icons for memory, repeat mode, equalizer mode and when the battery is about to fail. There is a 'remote control', which is really just the main controls repeated on the end of a piece of wire, which can plug into the headphone socket, and then the headphone will plug into it. This is incrediably handy because I can keep the played at the bottom of a bag and just have the control bit sticking out of the top. It has its own hold button, as well as ones for backwards, forwards and play/stop. Because stop doubles up with play there is no pause which is greatly missed and usually means having to stop, refind the track and start again whenever you need to pause. The control also has its own volume control. Ideally you should set the CD player volume to the middle and then you can use this to turn the volume up or down. I tend to put it on full volume though because it gives me more scope, and I do have hearing difficulties anyway, although I wouldn't say it is too loud, it is more than enough. Even with the CD player on full voume it can be turned down to silence on the rmote, not all remotes can do that. I said that battery life is what I wanted in buying this model and that is the best feature of the player. It takes two AA batteries but you can fix a small black box to the back of the unit, which obscures the power adaptor socket and so would need to be removed if you wish to plug the CD player into mains. This box takes an additional two AA batteries and should officially give about 48 hours of playing time. I have never timed it but in real use I can get away with two to three months of playing time. Every week I ma
      ke two four hour train journeys on which it gets a lot of work, in addition to being played on the bus to and from work, and sometimes even at work itself. Overall it is a rather feature-less machine compare to other models but it is below £100 and has great battery performance and doesn't jump about. If that's all you want then this is a great machine.

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