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Philips Streamium WACS700: Worth a curt glance

Looking for a stereo with CD ripping skills and a penchant for the fashions of the 1980s? Look no further, we have the eyebrow raiser for you...

Much as we miss the 1980s, Philip's apparent resurrection of the Bang and Olufsen Beogram CDX is a little quirky. While some designers seek to integrate consumer electronics invisibly with your living room, the WACS700 is as brash and unapologetic as a severed head in your soup.

The WACS700 (what a truly clever and catchy name, no really) is a streaming audio player in the vein of the Sonos Digital Music System. Like the Sonos, it's easy to set up, though slightly more sluggish in detecting its base station. Unlike the Sonos, the WACS system includes built-in speakers in the base stations, and also a built-in CD player and hard disk in the central hub.

The central unit slurps up CDs through a top-loading slot-loader (and our ability to say that out loud is solid evidence of our complete sobriety). It will rip CDs onto the internal hard disk for streaming to other WACS stations. Yes, this thing has no concern for copyright violation; instead it trusts you as a responsible free-thinking individual not to outrageously pirate everything in sight.

Unfortunately the ripping is lethargic -- our G5 Mac managed to rip the Prodigy's Fat Of The Land in a fraction of the time it took the WACS to smack its proverbial bitch up (don't worry, those are song lyrics, thus above rebuke).

We'll be putting the system through a more thorough test over the next few days and intend to bring you a complete report on its performance. Until then, geeks. -CS