Product Type: Philips portable radios
Newest Review: ... and there's a lot of buttons. In all the controls, functions and buttons make this alarm far too bothersome for me. The display is acro... more
Not for sleepy listeners
Philips AJB 4500 DAB Clock Radio
Member Name: Vixstar
Philips AJB 4500 DAB Clock Radio
Date: 20/07/10, updated on 21/07/10 (204 review reads)
Advantages: Good brand; Dual alarm; Range of sound sources; Doesn't assume I'm an IPod owner
Disadvantages: Buttons; No on/off button; Backlight (although not totally bad)
The radio whilst not very tall has quite a large footprint, so takes up a fair chunk of my pretty large bedside table. Its a nice, ordinary white with a large collection of buttons on the top and a white back lit display with black numbers...and here comes my first snag with the radio (actually two)...The backlight has three brightness settings - flood light, completely off and a mid way setting which I find lights up my bedroom to an extent that I found irritating for a few weeks. Also its quite difficult to make out the info on the display (whatever you have it set to-a standard DAB radio function is that the display can show a lot more than the time) especially when half asleep which is when I often find the need to peer at the display. On the plus side being able to turn the display off completely is a luxury at the weekend, meaning I can drift off listening to the radio and not care what time it is. Clock setting is automatic, plug it in and go.
Another pro is that the radio is not just a DAB radio, it also has FM (again pretty standard) and an portable music player connection in the form of a stereo earphone jack which can be untucked from the bottom of the radio.
So I decide to turn it on and give it a go...and meet another snag no obvious on/off switch and not the clearest instructions. So I apply common sense and prod the sleep button - nothing - snooze - nothing; after a few more prods it turns out the useful button is labelled Source, poke once for DAB, twice for FM, three for MP3 and one final time for off...what is wrong with an on/off button?? Anyway radio on I decided to properly peruse the rest of the instructions. Brightness button does what it says; volume likewise; scan, preset and tuning simple enough to follow the instructions and get the hang of them once; the sleep button has a range of time settings which will control when the radio goes off (more about this in a minute). And then we come to the alarm buttons you press and hold till the numbers flash and its fairly intuitive to set the time and decide what kind of alarm noise you require (beeps, radio, MP3) and each alarm can have its own particular set up - this is great as I like a gentle nudge from the radio and then a thump from the beeps. The alarms seem effective enough I like the beeps, gradually increasing volume, and the alarms are very simple to turn on and off, however as all the buttons are flat on the top of the radio it is easy to prod the wrong button if you just wave your hand about and hope - again something you are likely to do in a half asleep state. They are easy enough to press and reach, but distinguishing them by touch alone takes some practice and I am still driving myself nuts hitting scan instead of sleep.
Enough about the buttons, what about the sound? Well it scores well here, in my opinion although i have only really used it for spoken word DAB stations and a couple of attempts with a basic MP3 player, but the sound is clear enough and no interference so far. Only a single speaker in the top but then again its a clock radio not a state of the art sound system. There is an 'interesting' volume related sleep function. As the sleep timer counts down the radio gradually reduces the volume setting, so that you can drift off gently. However I find that this volume reduction starts quite early in the countdown and actually wakes me up so for me not a useful thing but the theory's good.
So all in all do I love or hate this radio, well I still own it the quality is good and I like all the functions and the fact that the majority of them are very simple to operate. I especially appreciate the earphone jack MP3 connector, maybe not the most hi-tech solution but at least it can be used with any MP3 or portable music player. The layout of the buttons is not an example of great design and could have been avoided by the simple expedient of making the buttons distinctly different shapes; and the backlight is aggravating, but may be comparable to other clock radio backlights (although comparing it to my other Philips DAB it seems to be a standard thing with the brand) however the light off function is a compensation and most welcome.
In the end if I'd shopped around or paid more I probably could have got better but the clock radio does its job- wakes me up and lets me listen to a variety of noise - and is quite intuitive to set, so I think in the balance it gets 3 stars (although 2.5 may be fairer)
Summary: You need to be fully awake to hit the right button
|Ease of use:|
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