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Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: audio accessories

This year's best headphones and speakers to give as presents

Musical treats come in all shapes and sizes, with radically varied price tags. But any of the audio gadgets featured here will look (and sound) great under your Christmas tree.

Philips DS3000 Fidelio

A great choice for the fashionista in your family, the stylish Philips DS3000 Fidelio iPod/iPhone dock is the perfect present. The silver dock plays audio through its 8W speaker, while charging a connected device.

The Fidelio is compatible with all generations of iPod and iPhone except the shuffle, connecting to a PC via USB for faster iTunes synchronisation. It even has its own alarm clock app. Just add batteries to the Fidelio for use on the move.

Altec Lansing Octiv 202

iPhone and iPod touch owners will love this triangular speaker dock. It's ideal for use in homes with more than one Apple fan, able to dock and charge two devices simultaneously.
 
Two free apps really make this dock stand out among its rivals. Music Mix lets you control the percentage of tunes selected for playback from each docked device, while Alarm Rock turns the speaker dock into an alarm clock with your choice of wake-up call.

The Octiv is compatible with the entire  iPod and iPhone range, except the shuffle.

Bowers & Wilkins MM-1

PC fans and music connoisseurs will love Bowers & Wilkins' MM-1s. This two-speaker system is packed with advanced drivers and electronics to ensure a brilliant sound. Each black and chrome speaker stands 170mm tall and includes two drivers.

Volume buttons and a power switch are built into the metal trim of one unit, while more playback controls are available through a pebble-shaped remote control. These speakers sit at the pricier end of the market, but Christmas does come but once a year...

Denon AH-C710

Denon's AH-C710 earphones come with a hefty £139 price tag. However, if you or the person you're buying for are serious about your listening pleasures, they should make a great investment.

Each earphone has a soft foam earpiece and three different-size silicon pads to ensure a snug fit. Denon also says the earphones feature a ‘radial cascade damper', which reduces vibration and noise caused by cables rubbing.

Available in silver or black, the AH-C710s come bundled with a gold-plated stereo mini-jack, an extension lead, a cable clip and a rather nifty carry case with cable-management facility.

• £139 inc VAT
denon.co.uk
Denon AH-C710 review

Philips SHQ 4000

Sports enthusiasts will love these practical earphones with a striking bright orange and grey design. The Philips SHQ 4000s feature a flexible neck-band to keep them in place during exercise.

A 1.2m cable lets you position your music player anywhere on your body during sporting activities, while a bundled clip lets you secure the cable to your clothing and prevent it from flapping around.

For us, though, the real selling point is that these earphones are washable. As soon as you've finished a workout, run them under warm water and dry them off, ensuring they're left smell- and sweat-free for your next burst of energy. Not only does it make these earphones more pleasant to use, it also stops them becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.

• £39 inc VAT
philips.co.uk
Philips SHQ 4000 review

Christmas gift guide index:

PC Advisor's Christmas 2010 gift guide:

  1. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: all-in-one PCs    
  2. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: laptops
  3. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: cameras    
  4. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: satnavs and GPS    
  5. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: photo printers    
  6. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: media players    
  7. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: audio accessories
  8. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: keyboards & mice
  9. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: gaming kit

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