The CDM-D150 from iPod and iPhone accessories manufacturer GEAR4 is a solid follow up to last year's best selling CDM-100. The update offers the same black and silver styling and feature set, with the addition of DAB radio. DAB, or Digital Audio Broadcasting, promises improved clarity and choice, although not always great reception or high quality bit rates. Above all it’s a convenient way to find, store and discover more, thanks to text services, about your favourite music and stations. As well as extra choice, DAB can supply useful information such as which tracks are being played, news, weather and travel updates.
Along with DAB radio, the CDM-D150 is well featured, with room for a slightly fiddly top loading CD player, iPod or iPhone dock, which sits in front of the CD player and FM radio. The universal dock comes with a discreet cover to keep things clean and tidy when not in use while a selection of three dock adapters offers a wide range of compatibility. GEAR4 even includes a potentially useful line-in port for use with other music players.
Particularly suitable for bedroom or study, the CDM-D150 is a compact micro system that doesn't look or sound too cheap or tacky. Soundwise, performance from iPod, CD, DAB and FM radio is fine as long as you except the limitations set by buying an all in one system. This isn't audiophile quality Hi-fi and the price and potential use reflects that. Lookswise, the black and silver design is neutral and won't offend the eyes in any room. A well featured but simple and intuitive remote is also included so you can control settings from afar, ideal if you are lying in bed.
We found docking and undocking your iPod or iPhone requires care to line up correctly, and occasionally a little jiggle left and right is required to get your device sitting straight, connecting and charging. While the CDM-D150 will happily sit on a bookshelf, you'll need to make space for the attached iPod or iPhone when in use.
Other features include a clock with sleep and alarm functions with the choice of waking to music or radio, the ability to set up to 10 DAB and 10 FM presets, and five EQ settings - flat, classic, rock, pop and jazz - which are probably best left alone. It’s worth noting that the lower spec CDM-100 model, which the CDM-D150 replaces, is around £30 cheaper, although bargain hunters should note both can be found discounted below the SRP if you shop around.
The GEAR4 CDM-D150 is a good bet for anyone wanting a reasonably priced and compact all-in-one system that offers some future proofing with the addition of DAB radio. The next logical step is to add Internet radio, which would dramatically increase choice, something we hope GEAR4 are working on.