While most people are upgrading to hard drive-based MP3 players for their portable music fix, there are a number of people that still want to hold on to the wonders of CD. After all, who hasn’t got a heap of discs sitting at home collecting dust rather rapidly. Panasonic hopes to woo the CD Stalwarts with its new player - the SL-CT810.
The sleek, thin player that has a battery life of around 120hours from two Ni-cad rechargeable batteries has a secret tucked inside. That secret being that it doesn’t just play CDs. That’s right, Panasonic have given the player the capabilities to play MP3 CDs, offering those not sure whether they want to make the jump to a hard drive based system the chance to experiment.
As a CD player the unit performs very well. The remote control offers a one-line LCD for song, track, and other such information and the player also supports the ID3 tagging format. The majority of the controls such as equalizer settings and shuffle options are also all controlled via the remote.
The player offers a very competent sound for the money with a good level of balance between bass and treble. The equalizer settings allow you to alter this slightly although there is no manual control. One interesting setting is the addition of a train option that will actually deaden the sound so surrounding travellers can’t hear your breakbeat tunes so clearly.
Out and about the any skip function performed okay, not as well as Sony’s G-Shock system, and certainly not good enough for jogging but carrying it inside your jacket pocket or a bag didn’t present many issues for us.
The player although very good, isn’t without its faults, mainly that the DC charger unit that comes in the box requires you to add a small attachment to the player before you plug in the charger. If this seems strange, then the fact that this small add-on (that will take you about two days to lose) attaches to the player magnetically, hardly makes sense either.
It would have been nice if the LCD on the remote had the possibility of rotating depending on which way you wear the remote on your jacket. The appears the unit has been currently designed to wear clipped to the outside of your jacket with the display facing in (text reading left to right), however if your not wearing a jacket the remote appears upside down (text reading right to left), and it’s small things like this that let the player down.
This player comes so close to becoming so much more than is actually is. The sound is great, and so is the stylish design but too many idiosyncrasies spoilt the package for us and on the MP3 front, another £100 is a high price to pay over Proline's £30 DM1945MP3 portable- even for the better battery life and intelligent Stop and Pause letting you can resume playback from any point on the CD while the unit is closed. The £100-130 mark is hitting budget hi-fi separate territory, so with shops like Comet selling other branded portable CD/MP3 players from £60, the Panasonic should only be considered if money's no object.