Product Type: Sony portable radios
Newest Review: ... and the vertical design means it can be placed on a bedside table or desk without taking up much room at all. It has an AC plug to power ... more
Wake Up To Some Cheap Styling
Member Name: rosebud2001
Date: 08/03/12, updated on 09/03/12 (162 review reads)
Advantages: Will reliably wake you up
Disadvantages: Cheap styling, confusing user manual, only one speaker
I decided to buy a replacement but choice is a bit limited if you want a digital radio alarm and the price can vary wildly too. Although I had been happy with the Alba product, I decided this time I wanted to get a Sony one. My daughter has a Sony DAB docking station for her iPod which has an alarm clock and it is simplicity itself to use. Unfortunately Sony only seem to have one product currently available which is purely a DAB radio/alarm clock - the XDR-C706DBP and it can be tricky to track down.
Argos currently have it on their website for £39.99 but I could only find two stores within 50 miles of my home which stocked it and it isn't available for home delivery. One store was less than 10 miles away so I reserved it there but the next best option is Amazon, who sell it for £50.92 including delivery.
~~The Radio Alarm~~
Compared to my Alba DAB radio alarm, the Sony one is far more compact. It is made from plastic with a black speaker and display panel and a white frame. I have to say it doesn't look particularly sleek and let's be honest here - it's hard to make a plastic radio alarm look expensive. Dimensions are 192.5 mm x 92.6 mm x 87.7 mm (width/height/depth).
The radio is rectangular in shape and has a thick base to support it. This thins out to the main part which houses the display, the controls and the speaker.
The display screen is on the front left with the speaker on the right.
Controls are on the top of the radio and these enable you to tune the radio and preset stations, set the date and time, set the alarm, switch the alarm off and change between FM radio and DAB radio.
The radio is mains powered and has a cord aerial.
Powering the radio alarm on and off is easy enough - you just plug it in and the screen will illuminate. You then have to use the Menu button and the up and down buttons (which confusingly have arrows pointing left and right on them) to find the Tune/Select button.
Using these buttons you can set the date, time and the screen display which will enable to you opt between the 24 hour clock or the 12 hour clock.
The radio comes already tuned but beware - it only has a fraction of the DAB stations available and you will need to do a full scan tuning to get the full range of stations. You can then preset your 10 favourite stations .
The clock automatically detects when the time changes at the start and end of British Summer Time.
I have said before that I like Sony audio products because I generally find them very straightforward and easy to use - and that was one of the major considerations I made when I bought this. Unfortunately the instructions are not very clear and as a result I struggled with getting this up and running at first.
Setting the date and time was easy enough, as was setting the alarm to only go off Monday to Friday. The alarm can be set to wake you up to the radio or to a buzzer. I prefer the radio to wake me up and it was getting the stations set using the preset that confused me.
You have to press the "Preset" button and then tune the station in to the number you desire (from 10) and then press and hold the Preset button for it to save. Unfortunately you do have to be quick - if you don't press and hold the Preset button within 7 seconds it fails to store and on some occasions it still failed to store when I was setting my preset stations. I did eventually get the hang of it but the instructions could definitely be better - they also suffer from "poor English syndrome", something I tend to find more frequently when I buy things these days.
Setting the alarm is easier and the instructions are clearer and I am glad to say that this hasn't failed to wake me since I got it, justifying me buying it to replace my unreliable Alba. If you need to unplug the clock and move it, the alarm and time remains stored in the memory so you don't have to worry about setting it all again, which is something I find very useful. There are four alarm settings you can use and in conjunction with these you can select between a Weekdays setting, a Weekends setting, Daily setting and a Once setting, which is useful for me when I am going on holiday and have to be up at stupid o'clock.
When the alarm rings in the morning you can use the Sleep function if you want a little more time but I don't use this - I either listen to the radio for a few minutes or turn the alarm off altogether. It's easy to do this - you just press the Radio On/Off button which is located on the extreme right of the radio.
The radio has been designed so the controls are on the top but sit at an angle. I must admit I don't really like this as above the button you press to turn the radio off is the switch for FM radio and in my befuddled early morning state I regularly hit this in error, to be met with the radio switching to loud hissing from the unturned FM radio which I do not use.
The sound quality on the radio isn't brilliant, which is to be expected from a single speaker radio. Output is pretty weak at 0.4 watts and while the signal is always crystal clear and the sound isn't tinny, it can't be compared to stereo output from a DAB hi-fi system. The volume control is good and allows a wide choice of options so if you want to be woken by music blaring you can be, but I prefer something a little more quiet.
I can also have some problems with interference on the radio and have to have the radio at one side of my bedside table and my cordless phone on the other as the phone interferes with the radio signal. I also find if I have my iPad on the bedside table and it's powered on that can interefere with the radio signal too. If you can put a phone and other electronic items on a bedside table on the other side of the radio alarm so this won't be so much of a problem.
The aerial also has to be completely unwound to pick up the best signal - I find having it hanging down in front of my bedside table gives a better signal than having it on the side of the table next to the wall.
The styling is a bit of a mixed bag - I quite like the shape of it but not the way the top of it is at an angle and I really don't like the white casing much - I really wish they had either made the whole thing black or put a grey plastic frame around the black as that would have looked classier in my opinion. The white just looks cheap. The plastic also makes this a bit of a dust magnet - especially on the black parts.
The display on the clock is brighter than on the Alba but I don't find it disturbs me. You can dim it but even at its dimmest setting it's quite bright but not annoyingly so. If it's going to be a problem you can always just turn the clock radio around so you can't see the time if you are facing it but I personally think this almost defeats the purpose of having a clock radio beside the bed.
Once you have mastered the instructions and got this up and running however it's a great little clock radio which doesn't take up a huge amount of space on your bedside table and more importantly reliably wakes you up in the morning as requested to. I've had this for over a month now and it's not let me down.
For the money this is a decent enough radio alarm but I wouldn't have paid more than £39.99 for it. Argos claim the RRP is a shocking £69.99 and there's no way this radio merits a price that high. The sound quality isn't good enough and the functions don't have much in the way of bells and whistles either so I can only assume you are paying for the brand.
Summary: An expensive radio alarm clock from Sony - don't pay full price for it
|Ease of use:|
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