In Search of the Perfect Tabletop Radio

Shopping Guide

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As someone with commitment issues who obsessively window shops before buying anything, I've had a new tabletop radio on my wishlist for two years now. During the search, I've made notes on what I'm looking for in an ideal radio: iPod/MP3 compatibility (duh), good reception, compact design, an alarm would be nice, and — this is my ultimate deciding factor — it's got to look good. Here are 10 options and links to stores that sell them.

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The most sustainable of the bunch, this radio was designed by Singgih Kartono from responsibly harvested ebony wood. It's an AM/FM radio that's MP3 player compatible and sells for $250, and it's made by craftspeople paid living wages in Indonesia.

5093f14fdbd0cb035800051b. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Tivoli Audio
Tivoli's Model One Radio has received consistently high customer reviews across shopping sites. Designed with a classic casing that's available in wood, it's an AM/FM radio that's compatible with iPod and MP3 players and sells for $150.

5093f150d9127e2f2600044f. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Orla Kiely
Exclusively available through Orla Kiely and John Lewis, the Evoke Mio Digital Radio isn't yet sold through US stores, but is scheduled for market expansion in 2011 if you're willing to wait. This FM radio is iPod/MP3 player compatible and sells for £150.

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At less than less than 6 inches long, the Geneva Sound System Model S is a very compact model. With a built-in iPod/iPhone dock, FM radio, programmable alarm clock, and three color options, it sells for $300.

5093f151d9127e2f26000450. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Bobby Berk Home
This tabletop radio includes a CD player, radio, alarm clock, and MP3 player compatibility. Encased in wood with natural or high-gloss lacquered finishes, the Sonoro Cube comes in 10 colors and sells for $300.

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They specialize in "new-stalgic" radios that combine modern acoustics and MP3 compatibility with mid-century style. The CR3009A iSolo has a built-in iPod dock, it's compatible with other MP3 players, it has an AM/FM radio, and sells for $150.

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The Sony ICF-CS10iPBLK is the least expensive of the bunch at $75 and receives high marks in customer reviews. It's iPod and iPhone compatible and comes with AM/FM radio, dual alarms, and a remote control.

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The Tangent Cinque CD Tabletop Clock Radio radio plays CDs and is compatible with MP3 and WMA formats. An AM/FM clock radio with remote control, it's available in 4 finishes (walnut, black, red, and white) and sells for $142.

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Designed by Jonas Damon, the Areaware 2B Radio has an open back that allows you to see its vacuum tubes. It's a simple black box design made of aluminum and MDF, it's MP3 compatible, and it sells for $350.

5093f154dbd0cb033a0004e0. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Bose Showcase Store
The Bose Wave Radio (this is the II version) is a wireless model with a SoundLink adapter, which connects the radio to your computer and your internet radio or iTunes playlists. It has AM/FM radio, an alarm clock, and it's the most expensive of the group at $450.

Photo: Orla Kiely Evoke Mio Digital Radio

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