The Philips AZ1330D ($110) is a portable speaker system that includes an iPod dock, AM/FM radio, CD player, and an auxiliary input. There's no denying that Philips has done a thorough job of cramming every conceivable feature into the AZ1330D boom box (what, no 8-track?), but the overall performance of the system leaves us disappointed.
The Philips AZ1330D boom box has a glossy, streamlined design that would not seem out of place on Darth Vader's bookshelf. The entire AZ1330D system measures 14 inches by 5.5 inches by 10 inches, without an iPod in the dock. The design of the boom box is deeper than we expected, yet it's still compact enough to fit within a bookshelf or on top of a dresser. With a weight of 5 pounds (without batteries), however, the Philips AZ1330D is hardly the most portable speaker system we've seen. Ultimately, the Philips AZ1330D is geared toward someone who wants all the features of a full-fledged stereo system, yet isn't willing to commit the money or the space. Additionally, we found that the precarious iPod dock, fragile front-loading CD tray, and uncomfortable handle make the Philips AZ1330D unsuitable for children or outdoor use.
The AZ1330D boom box is no slouch on features. Philips has managed to squeeze an AM/FM radio, iPod dock, CD player, and auxiliary input all into one easily manageable space. What sets the Philips AZ1330D apart from most of the competition is its ability to play MP3 and WMA data CDs (although DRM-protected WMA files are not supported). While playing MP3 or WMA CDs on the Philips AZ1330D, track information is displayed on a large, 2.5-inch LCD screen just above the iPod dock.
Radio and iPod playback on the Philips AZ1330D is nothing special. There's no built-in tone control or stereo enhancement to shape the sound quality, although there is a button marked DBB that acts as a bass booster. Overall, we found the controls for all of the AZ1330D's various features to be intuitive and easy to find.
Despite an impressive list of features and an attractive price, the Philips AZ1330D is far from perfect. First and foremost, the sound quality of the Philips AZ1330D is dearly lacking for low-end oomph. Comparable iPod speaker systems such as the Griffin Amplifi or Altec Lansing iM600 blow the Philips AZ1330D out of the water when it comes to sound quality.
The Philips AZ1330D's radio reception was average for a system of this size. The radio function allows for up to 25 station presets, although saving presets is not so intuitive. We also noticed a surprising jump in volume when we switched from iPod or CD playback to the radio.
Our final disappointment with the Philips AZ1330D is the crummy range on the included remote control. We found that the Philips AZ1330D's remote had a range of around 15 feet before punking out. The remote control also lacks a Power button, so you'll still need to get off the couch to shut the AZ1330D off.