Product Type: Sony portable radios
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A FAB DAB Sony Clock Radio
Sony XDRC705 DAB
Member Name: Nar2
Sony XDRC705 DAB
Date: 21/03/08, updated on 22/03/08 (3698 review reads)
Advantages: Classy, easy to use, easy to listen to; does what it says.
Disadvantages: Changing prices.
Like many companies these days it seems the old style analogue clock radio is on its way out unless it is priced and made to a budget. The age of DAB / Digital Audio Broadcasting technology has meant that cheaper radios are now appearing on the market, either from larger companies such as PURE or Grundig who were one of the first companies to launch a DAB radio and then names you've never really heard of such as Sound Tone and Acoustic Solutions who bring cheap offerings from supermarket and to companies such as Argos, Comet and Curry's who then bring out their own versions under so-called exclusive brands. Past experience has however told me that the better brand names are best to stick with; I've had cheap BUSH, Alba and Acoustic Solutions DAB clock radios and they never last due to the high power they contain, the heat they give off and poor signal reception. Which brings us back to the analogue radios because wavelengths are generally easier to trust if a DAB radio can't pick up its digital stations.
Like a few reputable brands, Sony has moved the game on. This radio allows you to choose between FM and DAB stations instantly without having to fuss about with a tuner dial. So what I hear you cry? Portable DAB radios have been doing that for years! Ah but very few bedroom clock radios exist which have both these functions and the Sony here has this feature plus a little more to offer to people who are looking for a classy design and some handy features for wake up.
** Nar's Quick Skip Product Spec **
* Model name: Sony XDRC705 DAB Clock Radio
* Large LCD black panel with blue background, white clock LED's with a choice of three dimmer settings.
* Front mounted speaker - Mono only.
* Buzzer alarm or FM radio alarm or DAB radio alarm functions.
* John Lewis price £49-00; online prices average to £59-99 and £99!
* Every day, Weekends, Week Days and "Just Once" alarm settings.
* Time and Date/Time only function display.
* Smart, compact, easy to use and read time/radio design; height of 11.5 cm by Diameter of 10cm and a width of 20cm.
The choice for another Sony however was initially limiting. It seems that no longer do Sony produce Cube designs that have always had an exciting appeal in the bedroom that can offer DAB technology.
Out of the box, the Sony XDRC705 model looks different from many radios around even though it is not cube shaped, it is elevated and rectangular from its bottom upwards. This is really what attracted me, because both my parents suffered from poor eyesight and needed something just as clear as their old Cube radio. Finding something with good clarity however has been time and patience. If there is one thing Sony knows how to do these days, it's how to make something so basic and ordinary good looking and slightly unique. So this extends to its black frontage with a clear clock face, cool Sea blue background when the clock gets switched on, whilst at the top around the black body white buttons adorn the top and are clearly marked which is a god send for anyone who has poor eyesight. Some may call this as extra padding in my review and this paragraph on the design may not matter to you, but if you hate receiving the glare of loud red or green LED's giving you the dazzling version of the time in the mornings, the cool whiteness of the Sony's white LED's are a refreshing change!
Not that my mother will take advantage of the buzzer function but the sound the Sony emits isn't too obtrusive to give a minor headache of the reminder of wake up. Although buzzers on radios are generally annoying and ear threatening, the Sony's buzzer is on average slightly better in quality than most on the market. What counts however is the fact that the clock settings and alarm settings are familiar to set - another factor to why I wanted to buy this radio rather than another company option.
Just like their Cube radio, setting the clock and alarms is quite intuitive with no need to put three or five fingers down to set the clock unlike past efforts. It only takes two fingers to set the clock whilst the alarm options are quite novel as they allow you to either set alarm for the whole week, the weekend or just one day if you happen to just want one day to wake up for a special occasion, early. Buttons are the way forward for Sony it seems, and there isn't any other dial or slider on this model as a result. Setting the clock, using the radio and volume can all be done through clearly marked buttons, which only need to be lightly pressed - something my mother needs a constant reminder of.
The DAB radio signals have been slightly strange during the Sony's break in period. Mounted to the right hand side of my parents' bedroom on a cabinet, the radio faces the north side of the house from its location and it has been difficult to get a station. Whilst this is not a problem for me, my mum loves the Pure Evoke radio I bought years ago and it picks up all DAB stations available in Scotland including the BBC stations and some as far as London based ones. As such the Sony has picked up a few, but not all of them and in the first couple of weeks of use, it did become frustrating that pockets of sound were becoming delayed with each stations, or would fade out automatically only for the default message to appear on the clock screen that the stations were unavailable. Oh yes, just like our Pure radio's lens, the Sony also gives a default scroll of worded information on the DAB radio station selected, and others can be selected through its push button tuning buttons whilst a 20 preset memory allows stations to be saved. But whilst the Pure's radio location is only just across from the master bed on another cabinet facing eastwards, the Sony in the North side took some initial time to pick up all the stations available rather than straight off with the Pure radio. It all goes to show that however expensive or technologically brilliant a DAB radio may be, it can't always be trusted to pick up stations whilst its location in the home is of great importance! Four months on and now angled towards the bed ironically, instead of flat against the wall, the Sony has now managed to get the same list of stations our Pure Evoke radio can pick up.
In FM mode however the signals are crystal clear (there is also a permanently fixed black "loose" wire which comes out the back for the FM radio) and it doesn't go without saying that the Sony has again, appealed to the ears of my parents in terms of sound quality. Just by pressing the radio change button you are taken to the FM world and like the DAB setting the Sony also carries its preset function of saving 10 FM stations.
Whilst the sound is muffled with no internal sound controls fitted and therefore has a sound quality built into it, the tone isn't too bright and there is a good balance of sound channels built into the Sony which makes listening to it, very appealing. I wish the same could have been said for my last cheap DAB radio which had a bright tone and very little else. Sony would however like to think that putting a speaker on the front means that you'll get to hear radio stations all that clearer, but I have to say that in light of this design it hasn't really made much of a difference of whether the speaker is located at the front or at the rear.
For the benefit of dust that is often evident on squarish clock radios however, the general clean finish on the Sony is excellent, rounded and set at angles where dust can't actually be seen. If anything gets on the front you don't polish it down with chemicals; simply wipe down with a moist cloth.
In all Sony have created a very fine qualitable DAB clock radio with a few features designed to make life easier. Of course it's not the most highly kitted out bedroom clock radio around but for the price of £50, its' compact and flush design should appeal to radio station lovers who can't get enough radio programmes at any time in the day. My mum is so impressed with the ease of this radio that she has ordered another one from John Lewis for use in the kitchen and for a woman who doesn't like the most technological things around, this is quite a surprise decision. Thanks Sony and Thanks for reading. İNar2 2008
Summary: One for people who just want to wake up to a radio without being blinded.
|Ease of use:|
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