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If you're listening out for something compact and bijou we can help.

IF YOU spend a lot of time on the move, a portable CD player is the perfect travelling companion. Compact, clear and a joy to use, they even have anti-shock systems built in for unexpected bumps and bangs. But how much do they cost and what do you get for your money? We dropped into Dixons to put four favourites to the test.

Aiwa XP-570 (pounds 59.98, Dixons)

Warranty: Specified separately from purchase date by Aiwa

Features: 10-second anti-shock system; runs off mains and batteries; batteries rechargeable; linear bass system; headphones.

As with all the CD players we tried, this one gave a great sound. The control buttons were also straightforward, although we did think the top plastic section would break fairly easily. The other downs on this one included it being pretty bulky to carry around, there were no batteries included and there is no car kit available for it either (fairly important to a lot of buyers). It is a great price and if it's a basic model you're after, a good enough choice.

Rating: 6/10

Sony D-E705 (pounds 129.99, Dixons)

Warranty: One year

Features: Anti-shock system; up to 20 hours battery playback; digital out for connecting to hi-fi (cable not supplied); runs on mains, ordinary batteries and rechargeable batteries; ordinary and rechargeable batteries both supplied;

headphones with remote control and display; carrying case for player and battery.

You get what you pay for with the Sony. A superb sound and the remote control with display on the headphone cable is sheer luxury. This model is also sleek, compact and pretty solid by design. It has a car kit available and will play on two ordinary AA batteries (with anti-shock off) for 20 hours, which takes some beating. If money is no object, you certainly won't be disappointed.

Rating: 8/10

Kenwood DPC-395 (pounds 89.98, Dixons)

Warranty: One year

Features: 10-second anti-shock system; runs on mains, ordinary and rechargeable batteries; rechargeable batteries supplied; bass boost; digital out for connecting to hi-fi; bass boost; headphones with three key remote control.

We went from the Sony to Kenwood expecting to be disappointed but were pleasantly surprised. This jazzy model has a lot of great features, not least the fact it can run on both two or four ordinary batteries and has a mammoth maximum playback time of 25 hours. It also has a handy remote control on the headphone cable and a car kit is available as an option.

Rating: 9/10

Philips AZ7481 (pounds 99.98, Dixons)

Warranty: One year

Features: 25-second anti-shock system; runs on mains, ordinary and rechargeable batteries; bass boost; 99 track programmable; digital out for connecting to hi-fi with cord; shuffle, repeat and resume facility; headphones.

This model had the longest electronic shock absorption system of all the players we tested and it was also the only one to supply a hi-fi cord. For real techno heads it can also programme an amazing 99 tracks (the Sony goes up to just 22). For the money, we were disappointed there was no remote control and the battery life was a bit poor - just 12 hours. A car kit is available, however.

Rating: 7/10
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Wilson, Pam
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jun 5, 1999
Previous Article:YOU'RE TUTU SMELLY; Ballerinas' shoes beat dirty rugby boots for nasty whiffs.
Next Article:Your Festival Guide for `99.

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