Nuggets: Aiwa MiniDisc as sexy as Panasonic's?

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Darling... that sounds fabulous

Aiwa is banging on about how its latest MiniDisc player, the AM-HX30, is one of the smallest, lightest players around. Well it's only a few mm smaller, and over 30g heavier than Panasonic's much sexier -- in my humble opinion -- SJ-MJ70. Having said that, once you get your hands on the Aiwa offering it is an extremely gorgeous piece of kit, with fantastic sound delivered to you through padded 'airfit' in-ear earphones, which although slightly uncomfortable do a good job of sealing in the bass.

The two-step Dynamic Super Linear Bass control has only a tiny effect on the sound, which admittedly needs little improvement as it is. On the actual unit itself you only get the basic stop, play, rewind/fast forward and volume functions. To access the more advanced features you have to move on to the remote control, which is rather annoying as it more than doubles the amount of wire you have dangling over your body. The backlit remote displays the disc name, track name and number, with the program function letting you search for tracks while playing. There's a neat programming function, allowing you to select up to 25 songs to playback in the order of your choice. All these functions take a while to get the hang of but all the controls are neatly laid out and much less fiddly than on other MiniDisc remotes. One extremely annoying habit of this otherwise lovely little player is that it takes a good couple of seconds to move on to the next track.

It comes with a rechargeable NiMH battery, as well as an external AAA battery pod. Combine the two and you get an extremely impressive 21 hours of playback. It's stylish, sounds fabulous and comes in a velvet carrying case which doubles as a kitten on long train journeys. What more could you want?

On the shelves now for £150.


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