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I needed something to listen to while I worked at home, in the garden and in the office and I needed it quick. Paying a quick visit to my local Bennets I picked up the AZ102N, a CD/Radio by Dutch manfacturers Philips.
Because I wanted something cheap and cheerful that would be subject to a few knocks I picked up Bennet's own brand £19.99 stereo which had unfortunately sold out, this was the next cheapest thing but I am glad I picked a reputable brand because it fulfills all of my needs as a radio and CD player.
It was very well packaged with a power cable, instruction manual and cardboard packaging (very environmentally conscious there). The picture for this review is silver, mine is light blue and white which does not help with dust or grime. I feel the silver version would have hidden day to day scratches and dust better.
The stereo feels very well made and solid. I particularly like the fact very little chrome effect has been included making it look a bit plasticky and tacky. It is very aesthetically pleasing with two large dials for volume and radio tuning. It has seven buttons on the front for shuffle, repeat, rewind, play/pause, stop, fast-forward and programme. It also has a little LCD display on the front as well as the function slider for MW, FM (radio stations) and CD. Next to the function slider is a 3.5mm line in port for Mp3 players and iPods. On the left hand side lies a DBB or Dynamic Bass Boost button to enhance the sound reproduction of the CD, radio or music from the line-in port. Underneath are air vents and a well designed snap off plastic piece to insert 6 C type batteries.
The radio quality is really very good picking up all of the stations I frequently listen to. It has an inbuilt telescopic antenna which retracts and sits on top of the hand, a very neat affair! The CD quality is also very good and can be jogged, turned upside down and on its side without mention of skipping.
Sound quality is very good from the considerably small speakers and they do not distort at high volumes. The soundmachine is capable of pumping out high volumes without any trouble although this is without the DBB switched on. Switching this on with result in a deeper sound but becomes instantly distorted and unpleasant to listen to. I feel this function is superfluous and rarely have it switched on. The bass response is quite good for a small stereo and I am very pleased with the quality for the price.
It has a basic range of features but what it has it does very well. I think the line-in port is an added bonus and regularly plug in my iPod when I haven't got a CD version to hand. Because I tend to use batteries more than the mains, I think that the stereo is very eco-efficient in that the batteries tend to last a good few weeks before the sound becomes weak and they need to be changed.
As I commented before, the silver version would probably hide any scratches or dust better than its blue and white counterpart. However, it feels well made and nothing rattles or creaks. All of the moving parts such as buttons, battery lid and antenna feel firm and don't feel as though they are going to fall off.
For £29.99 from Bennets I feel this was very well worth the money spent. I have a CD player, an FM and MW radio along with a line in port at a very low price. I could have purchased a cheaper stereo such as an Argos Value £13.99 one but I may have regretted this later. I do not own anything from Philips but believe this was a good purchase and I am sure it will last.
Overall an excellent CD/Radio stereo and would recommend it to anyone to is looking for a stereo for the kitchen, bedroom or office. While it is basic it does what it is told without any argument. Thumbs up!