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COMET


“AN IPOD Classic would be the right choice for you,” stated the sales assistant as he navigated through the menu screens of the recommended device. He was making excellent use of the live iPod displays with multiple demo-ready products, rather than pointing out other brands’ players, which were switched off in a protective glass cabinet. I pushed him to see what else Comet has to offer.


“The Sony 16GB (NWZA845B) would have enough memory space for your needs; it’s £139.99 and has digital integrated noise-canceling,” he told me. Comparing the iPod and Sony NWZ in terms of memory for money did leave the Sony trailing bahind the £200 iPod Classic with 160GB of space. “You could also use the iPod as an external hard drive,” I was advised. With regards to docks, I was told: “We have a number of MP3 player docks. The majority are for iPods, but if you choose another brand you can always use a 3.5mm line-in.” The member of staff pointed out the Bose SoundDock Portable (with a rechargeable battery, £349.99), Bose SoundDock Series 2 (mains only, £249.99), a JBL On Time 5 (£129.99) and the Sony SRSGU101P (£99.99). Demonstrating the JBL and Bose units with the same song, I found the JBL had great clarity but the low wattage prevented high volume playback, whilst both Bose units produced the best performance at any volume.


The salesman was comfortable showing me the Apple products aided by the display, which allowed him to show off the devices at any time, compared to every other MP3 player in stock. I just thought it was a shame that he was unable to provide a side-by- side demonstration.


SCORE 7/10 www.pcr–online.biz


RICHER SOUNDS


THE SALES assistant began with a quick summary of what Sony MP3 players and Apple iPods were capable of, as he said they were the most suitable products the store had for my needs. “Both Sony and Apple used to use their own


music format which only played on their devices, but both now use MP3 which is the most common,” I was told. He showed me the iPod products including the Touch, Classic and Nano, detailing the key features and the fact all could carry my 100 albums. I asked which was the best for ease of use. “For


the average customer the iPods offer that bit more due to the vast range of accessories created specifically for the range. The docks also tend to be a bit cheaper as there is more competition. For your needs I would edge towards an Apple iPod, but the exact model depends on your budget or purpose of use,” he said.


Looking at the docks the salesman pointed out the Bose SoundDock Portable with its rechargeable battery. “You could always use a surround sound set- up or a mini hi-fi with an iPod dock,” the member of staff stated. We viewed the Sony BDVE370 5.1 system (£299.95) which allows an iPod to be connected via the USB port and the Sony CMTBX77DBI (£129.99). Both produced great sound and could be considered as a solution, but I was sold on the Bose. I was pleased with the service received; the salesman knew his stuff and was happy to take the time to show me other products that met my needs. With third-party firms building iPod compatibility into their products, it was hard to see the benefit of choosing any other MP3 player.


SCORE 9/10 November PCR 41


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