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Clarion FB289RBT

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Clarion FB289RBT
RRP: 119.99
Best of the web: 109.99 (clarionworld.co.uk)

Overall
The Clarion is cheap as chips, but there's not much else to compliment.

Click here for a larger photo of the Clarion FB289RBT

Performance
Sound quality is okay, but the Clarion is outperformed in most areas by the other six units on test. The SD card function works well, but the absence of USB and iPod connections limit the appeal of the FB289RBT. The menus are rather fiddly, too.

Ease of operation
The Clarion's microphone isn't built-in, which means you need to wire it separately a pain if you're doing the installation yourself. Otherwise, fitting the unit is pretty straightforward. Once it's all up and running, the sub-menus and controls aren't particularly intuitive. It appears to be built for looks, rather than ease of use.

Buying
It's certainly cheap, but we'd recommend stretching your budget by 50 quid or so, if at all possible. Go to clarionworld.co.uk and you'll save a tenner and postage and packing is included in the price.

Quality
The unit looks reasonably understated and classy, but cheap plastics make the Clarion feel flimsy. The buttons creak when pressed, and the screen is too small, but the backlights, which glint from between the buttons and change colour every few seconds, are a neat touch.

Special features
It will play MP3s, but only from an SD card, not much use for the iPod generation. You do get a cheap plastic case for the removable fascia, but the telephone misses out on many features you can't download your mobile phonebook, for instance, although you can stream music via the Bluetooth connection with certain mobile phones.