I've had my radio for around 4 years now and would thoroughly recommend it. The digital radio uses an ariel and despite being in a room that gets a poor mobile phone signal, it always seems to get a good strong signal. In the four years I've had it I don't think I've had trouble with the signal more than ten times and have never needed to switch to FM as a result. The sound quality is very clear. I listen mostly to radio 4 and can make out every word clearly which I cannot always do on some radios. The volume is easy to change with two little buttons on the side, one for up and one for down. It can belt out quite a volume even rising above the washing machine or the competing sound of the TV from the living room. Using the radio is very straight forward and simple to do. Once switched on, it automatically tunes to the last station you were listening to. To change you simply turn the dial to the station you want and then click in the middle to select. I especially like this feature as it means you are not getting little snippets of lots of channels on your way to find the one you want. Also it's really helpful that the screen shows which channels you are going through, with a wee description, making it easy to find a channel to suit your mood. It does make a click sound when going through channels though I am not sure why. There is also an info button that will give you more detail about what you are listening to. I've used this to find out detail like what book I'm listening to if I miss the start of book at bedtime or the like. The radio also comes with 5 pre-set buttons which allows you to pre-set 10 channels . The description says 20 but that's 10 digital and 10FM as far as I am aware. I'll be homest I've never used them as the tuner dial is so easy to use. This is a basic level DAB radio and as such does not contain some of the features of others such as recording and timers for shows. In my opinion it does not suffer from the loss of this although this may be as I use it in my kitchen for background noise while we are in there. All great so far but this is not a five star portable radio as it eats batteries like you would not believe. I used it as a portable radio when I first got it but very quickly started to use the power cable it came with and have done ever since. So it is portable to take on holiday yes but not away from a power source for any length of time. Sorry I've no exact timings on battery life. My other niggle is that when it's switched off at the mains, as I do every day, when switching it back on, you also have to switch the radio power on too. Now I know that's hardly a hardship but it gets on my nerves.
I bought my first digital radio back at the turn of the century when the technology was pretty new. Back then, there wasn't much choice in DAB radios and the Pure Evoke One I settled for set me back almost £100, but was worth every penny. I dropped it, I sat on it (don't ask!), the dog trampled on it, I stood on the ariel and snapped it off and still it went on receiving all the stations with crystal clear quality. I had it for almost 10 years before it finally went to Radio Heaven and I needed a replacement. My only real gripe about my old radio was that it was pretty bulky and heavy. So, when I set about looking for a replacement, portability was an important factor. Eventually, I settled on the Intempo TRS-01. Retailing at around £40, the TRS-01 is at the cheaper (but not the cheapest) end of the digital radio scale. It's a no-fuss radio and doesn't have many of the bells and whistles that more expensive models have, so as with any electrical purchase, you need to decide which features are most important for you. For me, portability was the main thing. I like listening to my radio in all sorts of places, so wanted a radio which I could move from room to room in my house, or even take on holiday with me, without feeling as though I was lugging a brick around. Here, the Intempo is perfect. Measuring less than 6cm high and around 30cm wide, it doesn't take up a great deal of room when slipped into a bag or case. It's very light and won't have you exceeding your luggage allowance if you decide to take it on holiday. Even the charger is lightweight, similar in size and weight to a standard mobile phone charger. You can run the radio off either the mains or use batteries. I've only ever used mains power, but would imagine that it is pretty power hungry and expensive to run using batteries for any length of time. It takes 4xAA batteries and I suspect that a single set of batteries would not last very long. The Intempo is very easy to set up and even a novice can be up and running in a few minutes. All you need to do is plug the Mains adapter into the radio and hit the Power On/Off button. The first time you switch it on, the radio will automatically tune itself to find all the stations available in your area. If for some reason that doesn't happen (or if you need to retune it at some point in the future) you simply hit the Autoscan button to repeat the process. Once done, it's simply a question of turning the dial to find the station you want, pressing the dial to select it, and you're ready to start listening. Simple, easy to set up and use and there's no need to read 150 pages of a manual just to switch it on! There is a gripe in that the buttons are fairly small so people with chubby fingers or limited dexterity might find it a little difficult to operate. The volume up/down buttons, in particular, are located on the side of the radio and are quite fiddly to press. The writing above the buttons is also not terribly clear and I frequently find myself having to lift it up towards the light to read what each button is. Similarly, layout of buttons is not logical (to me, at least) and I frequently find myself accidentally hitting the Autoscan button when actually I want to turn the damn thing off. The Intempo is also somewhat lacking in the number of pre-set channels you can have (ones you can store in memory and access at the press of a button). Many digital radios offer you 50 or more pre-sets. Since it's at the lower end of the market, the Intempo has just 20. Since I tend to listen to just a couple of stations, I don't find this a problem, but if you like some variety in your radio diet, it's a limitation you might need to consider. Sound-wise, the Intempo is very good. Although it's only small and has (relatively) low powered speakers when compared with other models, it's still powerful enough for most people. In a normal household environment, I find that a volume level of 1 or 2 is fine, and even in noisier environments I've never had it turned up past 4. Of course, if you like music blasting out at top volume, the relatively low-grade speakers are unlikely to be enough for you; but if loud music's your thing, you probably wouldn't consider this model in the first place. The radio's real Achilles heel lies in its reception. It appears to have a far more limited range when picking up channels than my previous radio. There are a number of channels (including 5 Live Sports Extra) which this radio refuses to admit exist, but which I was able to listen to in the same house using my old Pure Evoke One. Reception can also be very temperamental and weak at times. I don't live in a DAB blackspot and the digital signal is quite strong. Yet, no matter where it is placed, the only way to get a signal is to extend the ariel fully. This is at least twice as long as the radio itself, which makes a bit of a mockery of the small size of the radio, as wherever you put it, you need to factor in several feet of extra space into which the ariel can extend. Worse, you have to position it perfectly before you can get any reception. Move it just a centimetre too far to the left or right and the crystal clear DAB sound becomes a succession of crackles and noise. Again, this limits the "portability" benefit as every time you move the radio to a new location, you have to spend 5 minutes or so finding the optimum position in the room and the best direction in which to point the ariel. Even once you've got it all set up correctly, the problems don't end, as the radio doesn't like movement! If someone dares to walk anywhere within a radius of about 5 feet in front of it, the station disappears and that awful crackling comes back. This makes it very impractical to have the radio in a busy room, as every time someone moves, the radio objects. If you live on your own, or only listen to the radio in a single room it's not too bad, but otherwise you may encounter problems. It's a shame the TRS-01 suffers from such poor reception, as in every other respect it's an excellent choice. Lightweight, portable, easy to set up and available in a range of colours, it offers a good option at the cheaper range of the market. However, the poor reception is a critical flaw. Unless you know you are going to position your radio in a single location and never move it, it's difficult to recommend. You'd probably be better spending an extra £10 or so and getting a radio with better reception. © Copyright SWSt 2009