* Prices may differ from that shown
Just last weekend it was Susan’s birthday – I’d been trying to think for a long time about what to get her – she’s one of those people that are really difficult to buy for (unfortunately) so, after much hesitation I finally thought of something. In a months time we are off to Disneyland Paris (which is great) but we’re going on a coach (which is a nightmare) The downside to this is a 14 hour journey to get to Dover 14 hours stuck on a bus is no laughing matter. Looking through the newspaper one weekend I saw an advert for Dixons offering this Sony Discman at £40 – fantastic I thought, this could be just the thing to help while away those hours. A quick trek into town and a purchase later I had bought the player. The first thing to strike about the unit was its compact size. I remember when portable CD players first came onto the market – they were pretty bulky things and the term ‘portable’ could only be used in the loosest possible sense! But, as with all technology, over time the units and components inside are improved upon resulting in a very slim line unit that can quite happily sit inside a jacket pocket when you’re out and about. The unit I bought was also available in a darker blue colour – quite attractive with silver buttons for the typical functions you would expect a CD player to have – pause/play, skip forward/back. At the base of the unit is a clear LCD display that shows the track number, time elapsed and battery level – another handy little feature that helps complete this unit. It also has a ‘Hold’ button, this renders the buttons on the machine in-operable until the ‘hold’ button is pressed again – meaning that you can’t accidentally press ‘forward’ or ‘stop’ when you have the player in a bag or jacket pocket, another nice little touch for this machine. The CD player has a ‘jog protection system’ too – basically it remembers a small amount of the music being played, so that if the unit is heavily bumped or knocked the music shouldn’t skip out of synch. I’ve given the thing a good shake whilst listening to it and it’s done the job admirably – so full marks there. Just as important to the quality of the unit is the quality of the headphones you use in conjunction with it. I’d have to say that the Sony headphones supplied are pretty good for what you pay. I’m sure that there are better headphones available, but these would probably cost you a fair bit more to buy – so you can’t complain with what you get included in the system. The instruction manual supplied is pretty clear and easy to understand – but even the biggest technophobe would struggle to work this thing – it really is that simple. Just open the unit, pop in a disc, hit play and away you go! One thing that Susan has wanted for a long time too is a Car CD player. Sadly my funds couldn’t quite stretch to one of those. But by using the player in conjunction with a car-cd cassette adaptor she can use the Sony unit in her car now. The sound is great and the jog protection system has never let us down going over bump roads. If you’re after music on the move, then for £40 you really can’t go wrong. Sony have built up a reputation for high-quality merchandise and this is certainly no different – a great product at a decent price from Dixons – who would have though THAT possible!
I was well chuffed when my girlfriend bought me this CD player. Tapes just don't cut it for me, far too crackly and always getting chewed up. I could finally listen to my collection of CDs without having to copy them all to a scummy old tape. Hurrah! The CD player I have isn't quite like the picture above; instead it's in an attractive blue colour. There are 6 buttons on the front face, just below the part that opens, 2 switches on the front edge and an open button on the side. The 6 buttons are: 2 for volume up/down, 2 for play and track select, one for stop and one for repeat and shuffle. These click in a satisfying fashion and are nicely push able, always a Good Thing for electronic gadgets I believe. The 2 switches are for turning on and off bass boost and "hold" mode. Being Sony the build quality is pretty good, although I have noticed that the socket for the headphone jack is a bit flaky. Sometimes if you knock the plug slightly, the sound crackles and can even cut out. This happened from the start, it wasn't due to my ham-fisted ness, honest. Unless you are particularly careless then this isn't too bad. But still, it gives a rather shoddy impression. There is a little LCD display at the front of the player, showing track, time, current mode and, importantly, battery level. The battery level is pretty good, with 4 blobs of power and it seems pretty accurate. Sometimes though, when turning the thing on with a new CD inserted, the battery level pings about wildly and if you don't have full power it won't turn on at all, even though the batteries are half full. Pressing play over and over gets past this, but it is annoying and I'm sure I wasted a few decent sets of batteries before I realised. The bass boost is pretty good, the sound is fairly meaty and the mini earplug style headphones provided don't hiss very much at all. Apparently using the boost drains the batteries faster, but as I have never used it without this feature (because it sounds a lot better on) I have never been able to properly compare. As it is, a set of 2 AA Duracell last approximately 15 hours. Or about 2 weeks train journeys, as I measure it. CDs can be set to play through once, repeat all tracks, stop after 1 track, repeat the same track or shuffle and repeat. Rather curiously, shuffle on its own cannot be selected, so if you are the sort of person who falls asleep with the player on, be warned that it will continue forever (or until you wake up and press stop.) Another strange feature that I don't understand is a "volume limiter." This would be useful if it regulated the actual volume of a CD, so if a track was significantly louder than another, it lowered the level to something that didn't make your ears bleed. Sadly, it doesn't work like this; instead it just locks the volume at a set level and stops you from increasing it. Loud tracks are still louder than quiet ones. A bit pointless and not a feature I ever use. The "hold" switch is a Godsend. When you put this in your bag (or giant pocket) for wandering around it's very easy to for the control buttons to be accidentally knocked, increasing the volume to deafening levels or skipping your fave track. The hold stops this altogether by disabling them. The hold switch itself requires a fair bit of force to toggle, so no chance of it accidentally being changed. A nice touch when playing CDs is the unit remembers where you were when you pressed stop. So if you have to stop to talk to someone, pressing play afterwards returns to a couple of seconds before you stopped it. This memory can be reset by opening the lid for a second. A word of warning - it boasts on the box that the CD player has a 2 second memory to stop skipping. This is a lie. It skips like Skippy the skippy Bush kangaroo even when just walking. Don't even think about trying to go jogging with it. I am happy though, as it's fine in a backpack or sat on your lap in the train, which is all I use it for. I reckon this is a pretty good CD player, it's not too pricey in terms of players, and I certainly have no complaints. It would have got 5 out of 5, but the lack of a program feature, that dodgy headphone socket and it's skipping, let it down. Still, I would certainly recommend it to a friend.