The ideal pocket radio should be at ease in FM (+fm stereo via the earphone plug), MW, be able to receive some stations in SW, shouldn't drain the batteries in no time and welcome additions would be an MP3 player, BT interface, solar panel, possibility to charge the internal batteries via an usb connector.
It's a very interesting radio, and probably one I'd bring with me on a trip.
FM Reception: 9/10. Very good reception, and FM is stereo via the earphone jack.
RDS Display: yes ! Very nice addition.
MW Reception: 8/10. Quite sensitive, but maybe not as good as my Tecsun PL-380.
LW Reception: 7/10. A lot of people have complained that this radio is deaf in LW. I'm not experiencing this problem although the reception is
not as good as, let's say, the PL-380. Anyway, I'm receiving the main stations here in Belgium: RTL, Europe1 and BBC even though it's weak.
SW Reception: 8/10. Will pull a lot of stations.
Air Band: 7/10. I can hear a lot of traffic around my place and I'm located several dozens of kilometers from the nearest airport. Not bad.
HF Amateur bands: 6/10. will cover all the HF amateur bands, and includes an SSB mode. However, I find it not that easy to use compared to the Degen 1103, for example. Fine tuning an SSB signal is just slow. Also, it exhibits some distortion when a ssb signal is first received. The Degen 1103 beats it hands down on this point.
VHF/UHF Amateur bands: n/a
CB Band: yes
Rechargeable Battery: Use a rechargeable 18650 battery. Not so common as AA or AAA batteries, which I'd prefer. Battery life seems to be good but I didn't fully test it.
Speaker sound quality: 7/10. Not good, not bad, just what you'd expect from a pocket radio. A tad more bassy than the PL-380.
Ease of use: 7/10. Things could be better on this side, but it's not that bad. The thing which sucks the most is the preset pages. Really awkward.
Preset memories: 7/10. Lots of space to store the stations. But you have to store the presets in a particular "page". Not very straightforward.
MP3 Player: n/a
Aux input: n/a
Solar panel: n/a
Record on SD card: n/a
My last thoughts:
I warmly recommend this radio, for those who :
- Want a good DX pocket machine
- Want to listen to amateur bands in SSB
- Want to see FM RDS data
- Want a very good FM/AM/SW radio
Things I don't like:
- Usability is not at its peak. SSB mode sucks a little bit.
- Very slow when switching bands (and when switching from normal mode to ssb mode) and when switching presets, sound does not come straight away.
- Uses a "banks" system for the stations presets which sucks a little bit. So, the first 10 stations are stored in bank "a". Stations 11-20 are stored in bank "b" and so on. You'll have to select the bank before being able to select the preset, which is *very* annoying. This is almost a show stopper. being a digital radio, what I was expecting was an easy to use presets memory system. This is not the case ...
This has been fixed in the Radiwow R-108 (but this radio lacks the SSB mode, and is less sensitive).