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Astell & Kern’s AK Jr Player Slims Down High-End Audio

Astell & Kern, makers of luxury audio players, will soon have a flashy new device on the market: the highly pocketable AK Jr. This svelte, brushed-aluminum device packs the features of the company's larger players into a more compact form. You lose out on the second headphone/line-out jack, and the volume deal is quite a bit less meaty, but you can expect similarly high fidelity audio.

Of course, the jury's out on just how much of a difference high-end audio products matter. But there are other perks to being high-end: support for all manner of formats and a ton of options for tweaking your sound, to start. It's also quite a handsome device, and the metal body, though only as thick as an iPhone 6, should be quite tough. The 64 gigs of space inside will fill up fast if you use high-resolution music files, but there's a micro-SD slot that will let you triple the capacity.

The AK Jr will cost $500 (making it the cheapest AK player by far) when it hits the U.S. — it's currently having its debut at an audio show in Munich.

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—Devin Coldewey