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If there's one gripe we've always had about portable players it's that the bundled earphones are almost always complete rubbish. Manufacturers seem to spend all the money on the player and throw the headphones — one of the most important parts of the chain — in as an afterthought.
Thankfully, the Oxx Digital Pocket DAB+ is different. Oxx has thrown in a pair of excellent a-Jays One earphones, though you always have the option of adding your own if you like.
The Pocket is a portable radio which includes both a DAB+ and FM tuner, and takes a pair of AAA batteries. It's a compact device and fits easily in the palm thanks to the rounded, rubberised back. The Oxx features a two-line LCD display which shows track and other usual DAB+ information.
For the price there's very little of the other features that more expensive tuners provide like live rewind or even broadcast quality data.
The controls are simple with a last/next station, volume up/down Mode and a preset button. Add in a centre button that acts as a power button and Mute and you have a device that's intuitive to operate.
Battery life is advertised at eight hours, which we were able to exceed with a set of alkaline batteries installed. Still, we'd invest in a set of rechargeables as even a week's worth of batteries would be expensive.
Audio quality is quite respectable, though there's not much sense of cohesion on broadcasts. Instruments tend to live to extreme ends of the soundstage, and vocals tend to get lost in the middle somewhere. Despite this, the combination with the a-Jays means DAB+ actually sounds sweeter and cleaner than its FM counterpart.
We found that changing the headphones for a better set such as the Ultimate Ears 700s wasn't worth the trouble as these only served to emphasise the digital hash that is found at the upper register in DAB+ broadcasts.
If the Oxx Digital Pocket was AU$100 we think it would sell like hotcakes, but as it is it's still a very handy radio with decent quality audio.