Apac LV210

MP3 CD playerWhile MP3 CD players are undoubtedly better value than most other portable MP3 devices on the market, they definitely have a long way to go before they feature the functionality and user friendliness of some of the less capacious and more expensive players - at least, this one does.

It's an attractive player that features a translucent aqua lid along with a silver control panel and a small LCD screen. Once you turn it on, you can't help but be disappointed by the unit's features. The LCD screen, which is not backlit, does not have a battery indicator and does not display file names for MP3s - when you have over 150 files available to you, it would be nice to know what's there! The supplied headphones did not produce enough power output and were overshadowed by the calm roar of the engine of the bus I ride into work on, making me miss most of the lyrics to my favourite songs.

The limited controls on the panel seemed to need an extra hit or two before they would accomplish their function. Other limitations include the lack of equaliser effects or tone controls, fast forward and rewind capabilities for MP3s (only VCDs can get this treatment, via the remote) and a repeat-all function that can't be used in conjunction with the random function. These controls are located right above the device's spindle and seemed to contribute to jittering sound output when played, even with the ESP (anti-shock) function on.

The unit's constant disc rotation gave the player's two rechargeable AA Ni-HM batteries four hours of lasting power in my tests when playing an MP3 CD at full volume with anti-shock protection.

On the plus side, the unit is very versatile. It will play regular CDs and you can even plug it in to your TV to watch PAL or NTSC video CDs. It ships with audio and video cables (RCA) as well as a remote control and a power adapter. It is recommended if your main use for the item will be stationary, but look elsewhere if you need to listen to something while you're on the move.

Apac LV210

Price: $249; Distributor: Pineapplehead Distribution; Phone: (03) 9852 7444; 1300 302 306; 1800 657 601; URL: www.pineapplehead.com.au

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