In South Africa it’s called a Gumba Gumba, township lingo for the Boombox. The portable player with big sound has been around for a long time, starting with the cassette tape, and then including a CD player. Now Philips has reinvented the boom box for the digital age, with their AZ1330D.
The unit is well packaged with simple instructions. Plug it into the wall, select radio and you are ready to go. To insert the iPod, you need to find the correct adaptor from among the box of adaptors supplied. The instructions are clear but, like most men, I fiddled with the gadgetry until I found one that fitted my iPod.
Once plugged in, use is really simple, as all controls are large and well marked. Operation is intuitive and simple, and the supplied remote works well. The unit uses 6 D cells to keep it portable, and again these are easy to install. The manual is a little dense but well numbered and logical, for those who read those things.
Gumba Gumba oh yes. Loud and clear, the Philips sounds good. It’s not audiophile quality, but really decent. It has bass boost for those that want big bass, and a relatively clear and honest sound. It does not play extremely loud without distorting, but is more than good enough for most of us. The radio performs well on FM, with good discrimination between close stations. On AM, for those who want it, it’s fine with little interference. The CD player and iPod dock operate as expected and make the unit really versatile.
The world is full of multipurpose iPod docks with radios and other features. A portable radio, CD, and dock is nothing really new. However, Philips has put together a high quality, logically set up, and well-specced unit that I enjoyed using. In short, not innovative, but a good example of blending new digital technology with useful features.
The street price is in the region of R1000. At this price, taking into account the features and the options, as well as the decent build and sound quality, I would say that this Philips unit is very good value for money. It sounds nearly as good as the expensive iPod dock’s out there and has some useful features that most don’t offer, such as the built-in CD player.
My search for a replacement bedroom radio alarm and music player has just ended. The Philips will replace my old smoking radio alarm, which will now retire after 20 some years of good service, and yes it was also a Philips.
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