Product Type: Sony portable radios
Newest Review: ... left of the radio, which is particularly useful because when you have spent time winding up energy for the device to run on you will not ... more
This Radio Will Wind You Up
Sony ICF B200
Member Name: victorias_books
Sony ICF B200
Advantages: Economical, environmentally friendly, simple to use
Disadvantages: Poor sound quality, you must expend a lot of energy to achieve a relatively short listening period
In theory I think wind-up radios are fantastic. They are economical and environmentally friendly, so you don't have to concern yourself with shelling out for new batteries or them sucking too much juice out of the mains. In reality however, the energy you are required to exert just to give an hour or so's listening time may force you to re-evaluate your opinion.
The ICF B200 is built to be durable, with its hard wearing plastic casing and absence of protrusions. It is also coloured a shade of dark blue, so that any marking or scratching it sustains to its surface appears minimal. The radio is equipped with a FM/MW tuner, the dial for which is located on the right side of the device. When the radio is in use a red light illuminates on the left of the radio, which is particularly useful because when you have spent time winding up energy for the device to run on you will not want this energy drawn on unnecessarily. The speaker region is located in the centre of the radio, and on the left is the handle with which you wind the device up.
The process of winding the radio up is very simple. You simply raise the handle from its flat position into a vertical position and manoeuvre it in a circular motion. The amount of pressure you must apply when performing this action is minimal, so although you may have to spend a considerable time doing this to achieve a good listening period, the winding action offers little resistance. To achieve a listening period of thirty minutes, the manufacturer claims, you must spend one minute charging the radio, and to achieve fifteen hours of continuous listening you must spend one hour charging. This may not sound too taxing, but it very much depends on your listening requirements. If you are considering listening to the radio while at work, for example, fifteen hours of listening may slip by very quickly. Also, it is very unlikely that you will have the time or inclination to spend an hour winding the radio just to achieve this. The longest continuous period I spent charging the device was ten minutes, and after that I could not face repeating the task for a number of days. Also, I have discovered the manufacturer's claims to be somewhat optimistic: one minute's worth of charging will deliver around 20 - 25 minutes of listening, and not the thirty they claim.
The radio is equipped with a retractable receiver, which slots into position behind the device when it is not required. When using the radio you must position it vertically and extend it upwards to achieve a signal. Attaining a good signal on this model is very much a case of location. I find that the further you extend the receiver the better quality the signal, but this must also be coupled with placing the radio in a spot where it will obtain the most ample sound. This is very much a case of hit and miss, although I find placing the radio on a windowsill to be very effective. Even then however, it is unusual to find a spot where the radio will deliver a sound that is not grainy.
This radio is lightweight and thus great for being on the move. The sound quality is substandard however, and the energy you must expend in order to achieve just a short period of listening time would make me hesitate to recommend this product.
Summary: A great idea in theory, less so in reality
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