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Speakers lack bass, line in function is limited, but still good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months. I also liked that it includes a carrying case, external antenna, and ear buds. The carrying case is a thin neoprene job of decent quality. It probably will not protect the radio from impacts, but will protect it against scratches. The case is big enough to accommodate the included accessories; it even has a gusseted zip-open expandable area in the bottom to make sure of it.
This is nice; I HATE it when a provided case cannot be made to work after the initial factory packing. The speakers have no bass. When you see the size of the radio, it will not be surprising to you. Normally, I would not give much weight to this, but since it actually has two speakers, for stereo sound, the expectations are a bit higher. Not a deal killer, as the radio is still pretty compact.
Not a biggy, but worth mentioning. This is the price of a small radio! The issue arises between songs from the smart phone, when the signal drops for an instant. Then, the connection is lost, and you have to unplug the phone and re-plug each time. The result is that this is useless as external speakers for an MP3 player, but could still be used with a Discman or Walkman or something. Now, onto the meat of the radio. It is so much less time-consuming to find stations this way.
Then, just scroll through them one station at a time with the ratcheted tuning knob. If you like to manually tune with a knob, this is not really the best radio.
Turn faster, and the increments are larger. It sounds ideal, but in practice, it is not as easy as an old fashioned analog style knob.
You only need to tune manually to move away from the broadcast in tiny increments, to make those weak signals easier to hear. The sensitivity of this radio is great, as is selectivity; on par with my Sangean ATS The amount of memories is more than adequate, especially when you remember that shortwave conditions change night by night. Another reason I chose this over the PL was that the telescopic whip antenna and internal ferrite antenna are longer, and should give slightly better reception.
The other features on the radio are also appreciated. For instance, the alarm clock works great. Good radio reception, along with independence from AC power make it idea for this use. The thermometer is also handy. I use it to see how cold my apartment is, when the landlord is being cheap with the heat. The built-in clock is quite accurate. The intelligent backlight works great and intuitively.
It can also be controlled manually. The band buttons on the top front right of the radio, are quite hard to press. I wonder why they take more effort than all the other buttons? No biggy. In Variable Memory Mode, one can enter the memory number one wants to go to directly, but must enter all three digits.
Variable Frequency mode allows us to directly enter the frequency to jump to. A long press on any of these three buttons scans in that mode. For example, a long press on VM would scan through your saved memories, waiting on each one for 8 seconds. A long press on VF would scan the whole band, stopping for 8 seconds or until the tuning knob is turned manually on each station with a signal. Another long press turns it off.
The AM tuning bandwidth can be changed between 1, 2, 3, 4, or 6 kHz increments. The red text by some buttons indicates the feature that can be changed by a long press on that button when radio is powered off. But it seems to be a traditional feature for shortwave radios. The top of the enclosure gets in the way.
It always has to be at a slight angle. This is a minor design flaw, but it prevents the radio from being put too close to a wall or from putting it on a windowsill when it is on the stand.
The viewing angle from the LCD is from a slight downward direction, not straight on, so the display is hard to see when the radio is standing up straight. All in all, it is a great radio, but if I were to do it again, I would get either the PL I would value the extra compactness, since the sound is not going to be great anyhow.
The line-in jack is useless for MP3 players, so no value added there. I like the analog manual tuning and volume better on it. The antenna will go straight up when it is on the back stand. It has much fewer memories, but enough for the job at hand. All in all, this PL is a great value, but probably not any better than the PL, when it comes right down to it.
I give it a 5 star rating because the minor cons are not strong enough cancel out all the great things about it. CONS: - Line input is monitored, and turns off between tracks from an external MP3 player; makes this feature all but useless - Speakers have no bass, but this is to be expected from a radio of this size - Antenna cannot go straight vertical when the radio is on its back stand.
Another press restores normal reception mode. That one is easy…others require that you press a specific button, sometimes with power on and sometimes with power off, to change other settings. I will present a list at the bottom of this review for handy reference…sort of a Quick Start Guide. I am indebted to members of the Yahoo PL group who discovered these before my radio even arrived. Basic performance seems the same luckily. Firmware is the software that the hardware runs on. Although improvements are still to come, DSP chips have already become the defacto standard and the results can be phenomenal, but there are sometimes undesirable side effects too.
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