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Philips Portable DAB Radio DA1000

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    1 Review
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      20.12.2005 16:58
      Very helpful



      Looks good and sounds ok but short on stamina

      I have had this radio for about twelve months and I don't really have any major complaints about the product. However, it is rather expensive and there are minor drawbacks that have caused some irritation and anxiety. This made it a very difficult decision when I recommended this radio.

      I can't explain exactly what it is but you get the feeling that this radio can break down at any moment. It seems to lack a certain robustness. I've dropped it on numerous occasions when in use and it immediately switches off. So far it's turned back on again without a problem, but this does not inspire me with confidence.

      This radio looks and feels good when you have it in your hand and the interface is lush and easy to use but is easily scratched. When changing stations or the altering the volume there is a backlight that comes on and this is good for night time use but there is no other way of turning on this back light. The earphone lead is longer than usual (presumably to obtain a better signal). The lead in some ways is well designed - one earphone lead is longer than the other which eases use but the lead is very thin and often gets tied in a knot. The rubber ear inserts that cover the earphones started to come off after the first few weeks and I ended up losing one in work - probably hoovered up by the cleaners. Another irritation is that the headphone plug goes in at the side and not at the top. This makes it awkward when you want to slip it into your pocket. It also makes the bag you get to protect it of less use as you need to 'squeeze in' the headphones if plugged in.

      The digital reception is overall satisfactory. When tuning the radio there are two scan options: local and everywhere. Setting the scan to 'everywhere' and not just local will get you more stations. There are 10 options for preset stations but if you retune - for example when moving to different parts of the country to pick up the local stations - your presets will have to be reset. I managed to pick up just over 40 stations when in Manchester, Liverpool or Newcastle.

      There is a tendency for the digital reception to gurgle on the back of a bus, on top of mountains in the Lake District and when buses pass in streets with tall buildings although it seems to work ok around computer equipment. On trains it depends where you sit; a window seat is preferable and the radio needs to be at arms length away from you so as to stretch the aerial (headphone wire) and pick up a signal. There is also a satisfactory FM reception, but I found that the stereo function only works infrequently and mostly relies on mono.

      Batteries and Recharging
      The battery life could be longer. Battery life is quoted as 8 hours per charge. I've not timed it exactly but I find an hours charging roughly equals a an hours listening. However, the two AA size Ni-Mh batteries have very low capacity (1200mA/h) so more powerful ones might improve the charge time significantly. It's recommended to charge for at least 7 hours each time and not to top up the charge. This will prolong the long term life of the batteries. The batteries are recharged in the radio by plugging it in at the mains while the radio button is off. This is a nice touch and is much more convenient than taking out the batteries to recharge. Although it is recommended not to leave the batteries in whilst using the mains power supply to listen to the radio.

      There is a lock button that prevents the radio from switching on accidentally whilst in the pocket (this is easily done if the lock is not on) - essential when you consider the battery life.

      Although cost can be a subjective thing, at £100 (I bought mine at Argos but have since seen it recently for £90 at Comet) I did wonder about what you actually get for your money. It seems a lot just for a radio with a bit better reception and a few more radio stations. I was disappointed overall at the number of stations available.

      I have to admit that before I bought this DAB radio and being ignorant of the technology, I had assumed that I would be able to listen to say... a local radio station from Manchester whilst living in Newcastle... sort of like the internet... if you think this then you're a silly billy like me.


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