New Sony Jukebox

Written by Smarthouse staff     01/07/2005 | 07:10 | Category: MEDIA CENTRES

Another new Sony Jukebox already? Mai non, mon cher. This here is no jukebox. It's Japanese giant Sony's first-ever DAB portable, and we should be very grateful for it. And why, please, is that the case?

New Sony Jukebox

Model: SONY XDR-M1

RRP $449

Because there's no DAB in Japan. There's no DAB in the US, either. In fact, DAB is only really established in Europe, so considering the amount of drop-dead Japanese kit we never see, it's pretty amazing that Sony's blessed us with our very own DAB portable. It's an important landmark for the technology, too: Philips, Panasonic and JVC might have already taken the DAB plunge, but Sony's the name everyone's been waiting for.

And with the recent announcement from retailers in the UK declaring DAB sales to be greater than analogue for the first time, here's proof that the market's well and truly galvanised.
Enough of the politics, you're thinking. You haven't said a word about the product …Patience, mon petit déjeuner. First off, it's a fine-looking device in its black acrylic and brushed aluminium, and is more compact than its major competitors.

The display is a smart white-on-black LCD affair, which seems fairly clear and pretty. It does DAB - this we know - and FM, so if you're lacking in crystal digital reception you can switch to crackly analogue, and it will store 40 of your favourite stations. Not that anyone has 40 favourite stations. Sound quality comes courtesy of Sony's trusty MegaBass.

However let the buyer beware: although there are many positive aspects of Sony's DAB offering, it's actually far from flawless.
Sony is renowned as something of a battery king, squeezing up to 30 hours of playback out of its minuscule NW-HD3 digital music player. But this time it's dropped the ball, drawing a meagre nine hours from this box. Not the end of the world if the battery were rechargeable, but Sony has the audacity to expect you to stick two AAs inside this bad boy. The cheek!
It's expected to arrive in July, with its price to be advised.