For those who don't want to spend £700 on the Philips WACS7500 or splash out on one of Sony's Giga Jukes, you could try the HDD-based JB7 from market newcomer Brennan. There are no speakers, no Wi-Fi, no radio, no big colourful display and no lush extra features. Instead, it's a compact unit with a simple purpose: to aggregate your CD collection with minimal fuss.
Technophobes may appreciate its simplicity -- we'll know when we've had a play ourselves -- and anyone without a computer will undoubtedly find it a convenient way to break into the jukebox market.
The JB7 includes a 60W amplifier and the Freedb CD database built-in, so your CD rips are automatically labelled and tagged with artist info. The whole lot can be directly hooked up to a pair of speakers. Unfortunately, it only offers an utterly pathetic 20GB version starting at £250, 40GB for £300 and 80GB at a horrific £320.
We see a major issue here: why max out with an 80GB hard disk for Silicon Heaven's sake? Would it really break the bank to shove in a 250GB disk instead? Those drives are hardly costly these days; plus, it would open the possibility to rip CDs into true lossless quality -- offered by the JB7 -- instead of lossy MP3, which is really the only way you're going to get a massive CD collection into even the top model's space.
But the main thing we take issue with is price. You can pick up a 20GB hard disk for less than £20. This is what's in Brennan's entry-level model. Hop over to a site such as Scan.co.uk and you can snag 500GB drives for about £60 more. Why, then, does Brennan want £70 more for just 60GB of extra space?
We'll have a full review and a hands-on report for you very soon, as our JB7 has just arrived. Safe to say we're absolutely shocked at the expense of this simple unit. -Nate Lanxon
Update: The Brennan JB7 uses the Freedb CD database, not the Gracenote database as previously stated. We have updated this story and apologise for any confusion.
Update: Read our full Brennan JB7 review.