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I adore listening to the radio, especially the DAB channels. I bought this a while ago and I have it in my bedroom and I use it everyday. It tunes well and always picks up new channels and tells me to change my presets when the channels have moved. I've always had good reception on it and there's not been a channel I've wanted to listen to that hasn't had good reception. I keep the aerial straight up and this seems to work for all the channels I listen too.
It's a small radio which you can use just on batteries or plugged in. I keep mine plugged in all the time so I can't vouch for the quality when just using batteries. The sound quality is good in my opinion and there's options to change the Sound EQ: more bass, clear, vocal, soft and EQ off. I use EQ off as I think this sounds the best. The sound quality isn't as good as my stereo system but this is just a small radio so it doesn't really matter to me. I like the look of it, its silver/grey and the panel which displays the station/information is lit up blue when plugged in. It's quite small and doesn't take up too much room on my desk. It's also really light, so I can move it around easily.
It's also has lots of information on the display panel: the station name, what's playing, clock, genre, area which can be switched around by pressing the display button. It's relatively easy to use and I've not ever had any real problems using it. I really like the fact that it's really easy to switch stations, you just swivel the tuning knob and it automatically changes. The volume works the same way and it gets quite loud as well. It's got room for 10 presets which is a fine enough number for me but the ease of switching stations means I don't use the presets a lot.
I will concede there are probably better value for money DAB radios out there but this has served me really well and I've always enjoyed using it. It's worn really well as I've had it for a couple of years now with no problems.
IN A NUTSHELL
+ Easy to use
- Limited functionality compared to some DAB radios and poor, tinny sound quality
Not up to Panasonic's usual high quality and so NOT RECOMMENDED
I'm one of those people who like technology but who likes it to be easy to use. In my mind there's no point in having the latest gadgetry if you need a PhD to understand how to use it and an encyclopaedia (or its DVD equivalent) to operate it! The trouble is, I'm also a musician, and so, when it comes to audio products I'm a bit picky to say the least. My husband sighs with resignation if I so much as mention wanting to go to a store to look at audio equipment, such is my reputation!
The Panasonic RF-D1 DAB radio was not a tortuous purchase, however. It was a prize from Virgin Radio (for guessing "who was under the box"!). It didn't, therefore, go through my usual rigorous testing prior to its acquisition. So, what do I think?
I've now had the radio over 3 years and I must say I'm pleased with it as a basic piece of audio equipment. Until we upgraded our external aerial it lived in the kitchen but since the upgrade it's had to move and now lives in our dining room leaving the kitchen bereft of music!
The radio certainly fulfils my criteria that it must be easy to use. It combines both a DAB radio and a standard FM radio and one can switch between the two formats at the press of a button. Tuning is easy via a knob and there are 6 preset buttons giving up to 20 presets that can be used to store favourite stations. The radio will also "auto search" stations for you.
One of the joys of DAB broadcasts is that there is a lot of information broadcast with the sound and a screen on the radio will display play details such as song title along with telling you what station you are tuned to. The display is clear and uncluttered but is limited to a single line of information. The display can be altered at the touch of a button but certainly, in comparison to other models, the information seems very limited.
There is a built in clock but I've not really found much of a use for it as there is no record facility on the radio, nor alarm. There is a sleep function (in 30 minute intervals) but it's virtually inaccessible and requires multiple button presses and knob twiddles to set it. Hardly worth it!
But to the sound....
Let's put it this way, if I'd been buying, this wouldn't have made it off the shelf. For a radio that, when it first came out, was amongst the most expensive table top radio you could buy, the sound is appalling. Cheap speakers emit empty, tinny sound. There is a "sound equaliser" but the options are limited and none really enhance the listening experience.
An extendable, rotating aerial means reception is fairly good although I've found that I have to have the aerial extended and against a wall or other large object for the reception to be acceptable on both DAB and FM. We did have to move the radio when we had a high grade TV aerial fitted as the DAB reception disappeared totally. I suspect this was interference but not sure why. It is possible to connect an extra external DAB aerial to the unit which is quite unusual for a portable of this size.
The headphone socket (and line out) is sited at the rear of the unit which is, in my opinion, a design flaw. It makes it fiddly.
As a simple, intuitive radio this is an acceptable piece of kit. It's suited to kitchen or garage use. The lack of alarm would keep this out of the bedroom and it's too large as a bathroom radio. The sound quality is not really good enough for living accommodation if you like your music but it would suit someone just looking to listen generally to the radio. It's simple enough that granny could use it without having to retrain! In some respects it's as well that it's intuitive as the instruction leaflet is hopeless!
The radio will operate on mains or battery power (4XC). Battery life is poor and, for that reason, I've always had it plugged in!
Overall I think this is a pricey unit and one that doesn't live up to Panasonic's usual high standard for audio equipment. If you pick one up cheaply then you could do worse, but if you love your music then you can do a whole lot better!