19th Sep 2007 | 23:00
Light on features but heavy on bass, and going for a song
For its debut DAB radio, Philips has taken a laid-back approach - literally. The sleek black body with chrome surround handle may recline to present its wares, but there's not much on offer.
The main reason that the AJ5100 is a cinch to operate is because it doesn't even try to do anything remotely exciting. This is demonstrated by its limited connectivity. Hidden away on its shoulder is a telescopic aerial to boost DAB and FM reception, with just a headphone socket and the power jack for company - although there is a battery compartment for easy portability.
Auto tuning without any delay, the unit offers a simple toggle between DAB and FM alongside an info button to choose between signal strength, the time and date, and displaying scrolling text.
A menu command gives access to manual tuning, DRC (which alters sound levels according to what's being broadcast) and the name of the software being used. Choosing between options is simple: left and right scroll buttons are used to run through DAB stations available, while up and down arrows control the volume.
Oddly, although 10 presets are provided for DAB or FM stations, these controls are hidden away on the unit's neck.
Unfortunately, the speakers dominating the front are a letdown in more ways than one. The silver cloth covering looks a little tacky, but the sound coming from beneath is better than we expected for the price.
Speech radio is rendered with precision, and surprisingly, for such a small unit, there's just enough bass to give some depth even to music broadcasts. A play of Sinatra's Luck Be A Lady on Radio 2 proves that while the AJ5100 can't reach the impressive sound of other, more expensive DAB radios, it does provide very accurate stereo and will fill a kitchen without much trouble.
A one-trick pony with unique styling, the AJ5100 joins the hordes of products that are aimed at those looking for a simple, affordable DAB solution for listening to voice radio in a kitchen.