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Shopbot has a large selection of radios that sport different features of many kinds to meet the needs of every user. We count with both AM / FM and Digital radio devices, and this buying guide will expatiate comprehensively about both types and all their particular perks. Divided into the sections below, you will find information about what makes a good radio and which radio type you should buy based on your profile and needs.
Choosing a portable AM/FM radio
These are the radios as most people have come to know them since their invention back in the 50s. This technology has allowed people all across the world to listen to music, news, weather forecast and audio shows for many decades, and it still remains the preferred choice by a large part of radio enthusiasts. Though their functioning has been practically untouched for all this time, the more recent devices are much more portable and have many more features than back in the day. The devices present in the market nowadays can be categorized to help users find the exact kind that best fits their style. Check out some of the terminology below:
These devices have once been the only referential we had when talking about portable music players. Sometimes they count with a CD or cassette tape player and talk radio through headphones, but the basic package is just the straightforward AM / FM radio that works on batteries and can be carried attached to the body with a built-in clip or armband. This type of radio has greatly benefited from the reduction in size along the years.
This denomination is reserved for radios that fit within a certain size range and style. These units are generally handheld and very modest in size and weight, which makes them convenient for carrying between places where you like to listen to music – provided you don’t need to do so on-the-go. They are generally described as “Mini”, “Slim” “Ultra Portable / Compact” and so on by the sellers or manufacturers.
Vintage portable AM / FM radios are specifically aimed at those who are perfectly happy with radios just the way they were from the beginning. These are often related to a sense of style and nostalgia. They are generally significantly bigger than every other radio described here, and are more suited as a tabletop unit – which goes well with its usual proposal of also being a novelty, decorative item.
The digital AM / FM radios are a mid-term between DAB and classic models. This is an attempt to shorten the gap between them and MP3 players or other wireless electronic devices. These devices are often more compact than regular models and count with advantages like a more accurate digital AM/FM tuner, digital display and preset favourite radios, much like car radio systems.
Boombox radio players are more robust than each other AM / FM radio counterpart in both size and features. They generally count with built-in CD player, cassette player and the traditional radio panel. They count with large speakers – generally two – which provide louder and crispier sound, making them ideal for larger rooms. More advanced models count with USB ports to connect with MP3 players, functioning as amplifiers of sorts.
Choosing a Digital Audio Broadcast radio
Digital Audio Broadcast technology is the natural step forward when it comes to radio devices. There are significant advantages to products in this category, such as a wider range of stations to choose from – including radios dedicated to specific music styles –, a more stable signal, generally better audio quality and other more sophisticated features. Preset radio tuning, LCD displays that show station and music information, access to internet radio, buffering so that you can pause songs, rewind and record functions – just to name a few. In many places around the world digital radio is either scheduled to completely replace analog signals or has already done so. Consider these aspects when acquiring a Digital Audio Broadcast radio:
First and foremost, it is important to know how and where your radio device is going to operate. Bedroom radios, for example, would benefit greatly from alarm clock functionality and USB ports for listening to your own MP3s. Being able to control the display brightness is another important detail, since overly bright screens can be annoying when you are trying to sleep. Depending on your sleeping habits, an easy-to-find snooze button can be a serious requirement, too.
Living room radios generally require top-level sound quality and the ability to handle higher volumes to fill the entire room with sound. Internet radio functionality would also be pleasant, so that you have a wider range of stations to choose from as well as the possibility to listen to podcasts and catch-up services. In both bed- and living room setups, an iPhone / iPod dock could also be desirable if you have such devices. Kitchen devices, on the other hand, have simplicity and compactness as their best feature, since they generally just work as a distraction for carrying out other activities for a shorter period of time.
To actually know which particular model and manufacturer are going to better suit your specific needs as listed above, you must be aware of the product’s characteristics. Reading Shopbot’s expert reviews would help you a long way in that regard, as well as customer reviews from users with similar needs.
Consider how user-friendly the device is: is the display easy to read and understand? How about the button layout and menus? Features come next: do I want a product that can record into memory cards? Or maybe work as an iPod / MP3 auxiliary device? Can it pause and rewind songs? Most importantly, of course, is the sound quality and volume of the device. Is it compatible with my needs? These are all important questions to ask when making an acquisition, so make sure you read those reviews to know exactly how they fit into your premise!