Product Type: Sony portable radios
Newest Review: ... am pretty disappointed. The biggest issues arethe poor sound through poor reception. The old smaller unit always had a great reception so ... more
Riding The Radio Waves
Member Name: wigglylittleworm
Advantages: portable, good reception and sound quality
Disadvantages: terrible battery life, lose presets if disconnected from power
I was surprised at how small and slim my radio was when I got it out of the box, it measures 18cm by 10cm by 4 cm and weighs in at just under 1lb including batteries. The small size means that it is portable and easy to move around from room to room and overall the radio looks good enough and feels nice and sturdy. It can either be powered by the supplied 6v power adaptor or 4 AA batteries. Battery life is absolutely terrible, when I had a power cut and the batteries ran out within about an hour so powering by battery is not something I will be doing on a regular basis.
The radio can be set to receive either digital or FM broadcasts. The reason for choosing a digital rather than analogue radio is the fact that many stations are only available on digital broadcasts. I have found that my Sony radio has a really good reception on both digital and FM broadcasts. There is a list of digital stations which broadcast to my area available online and I am able to receive all of them even the ones which have a weaker broadcast signal in my part of the country.
The extra stations which are available on digital radio include several stations from the BBC as well as Christian radio, stations dedicated entirely to music from the 80's or 90's or classical music. Analogue reception is pretty poor in my area which is fairly rural and I really like the fact that on this radio I can pick up local stations whose reception is really poor on an analogue radio as well as listen to all new stations.
I really like the fact that the radio is extremely easy to tune, rather than twiddle with dials like you do with traditional radio you just flick the knob at the side of the radio and it goes through stations alphabetically. It is extremely easy to set your favourite stations as presets meaning that you just have to press a single button to find them again, 10 stations can be saved in this way.
As well as the standard radio the Sony XDR-S55 offers a couple of extras. The screen is small, only two lines of text can be displayed but it is easy to read and it gives you more information about what each station is playing which is a huge advantage over traditional radios. The sleep mode allows you to put the radio on a timer for up to 60 minutes so you can drift off with music playing without it continuing to play all night. There is a light which can be turned on and off which is handy if you are listening at night and don't want to switch the main light on to change radio stations. The travel lock button stops you from switching stations accidently when the radio is being transported or accidently switching the radio on and draining the batteries.
The sound quality on this radio, as you would expect from a big brand like Sony, is wonderful with speech and all kinds of music being played back nice and clearly without any kind of crackle. The radio cannot be set to a very high volume though, I use mine in my kitchen and even at full volume the radio is drowned out by normal noises like a kettle boiling.
One major downside of this radio is the fact that if it is disconnected from a power supply for more than a minute or so then you lose all of your preset stations and you also need to rescan for available stations when you switch the radio on again. This scan takes a couple of minutes and is pretty irritating; to save the settings you need to leave the radio plugged in all the time.
Overall I am happy with my Sony XDR-S55 digital radio as it is compact, has good reception and delivers a good quality sound. It has a few niggly things I dislike like the poor battery life and the fact it cannot be used at a very high volume but overall it is a good starter digital radio.
Summary: a good starter digital radio
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