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Tesco DAB 123 The Cheapest Digital Radio Alarm I Could Find
Tesco DAB 123 Radio
Member Name: hotrock4
Tesco DAB 123 Radio
Disadvantages: Poor Build Quality
I first saw this radio when I was looking for a DAB Radio Alarm Clock for the cheapest price possible. I was not too worried about style or even having the best quality as the only time I ever use a radio of my own at home is to wake myself up as I find it far less abrubt than having a buzzer going off right next to my head. This was eventually the radio I settled on at just £17.95 and I now have mixed feelings a few months after having brought it.
I ordered the radio on-line and when it arrived with me the first thing that struck me after taking it out of the box was how small the radio was (8x15x10cm). I was dubious as to whether this was a good thing or not but then considering the price I paid for it I wasn't too worried so took it upstairs to where I planned to be using it to try it out.
Installation & First Use:-
Inside the box I was greeted with simply a radio, charger and instruction manual, and it was obvious where I had to plug the jack on the opposite end of the wire to the plug into the back of the stereo . Once plugged in the wire ariel at the rear of the radio needed to be fully extended and this was installation complete. Once turned on the radio scanned for all of the available stations it could receive from where I had placed it and it stored them ready for me to use the next time I switched the radio on. This only works for the DAB stations the normal FM stations have to be searched for and stored manually as a pre-set station. There is a select/nav button and it is simply a case of pressing this to navigate through all of the saved DAB stations, selecting a station using the next/previous buttons then pressing the select button again to tune into the selected station.
As I had a DAB signal where I set the radio up there was no need for me to set the time as it did this automatically for me which I thought was a handy feature. The clock is easy enough to set if need be by the looks of the instructions but I shouldn't imagine many people would need to do this. I was quite lucky when setting my radio up however as we have 3 storeys at home and our bedroom is on the top floor. This is therefore where this radio resides, and receives a good signal although I have heard since purchasing it that some people have had trouble receiving all DAB stations with this radio without tactifully positioning it somewhere they may not have ideally wanted it placed.
OK so apart from the obvious and pre-mentioned features of being both a DAB and FM radio what else is there to mention about this compact radio?
There is the option to set up to two alarms, I was only expecting to be able to set one and the second was not really a bonus and I haven't used it however this may well be handy for others. The alarms are easy enough to set by using a combination of the menu, select, up and down buttons however the small LCD display and the size of the radio and buttons does make this a little fiddly.
There is as with most alarm clocks a snooze button which allows the inevitable to be postponed for another 5 minutes, and the alarm clock is turned off by using the power button, if the alarm is running from mains power turning it off will stop the music and just leave the time displayed.
Unfortunately the one feature that I feel an LCD alarm clock like this needs is not included, this is a backlight to illuminate the time or station whilst the alarm is going off or you are trying to find your favourite pre-set station of a night if listening to the radio before bed as sometimes I do.
This simple radio also has the ability to pre-set upto ten stations, this is as simple as pressing the pre-set button then pressing the up/down buttons to select a pre-set of 1-10 and once decided which number you want the station set up then press the select button.
The only other thing I can think to mention is that this alarm clock will run on 4 AA batteries. I feel this is most conveniant even though I haven't had reason to use this radio with batteries yet. AA size batteries as most will know are the most commonly used sized so if going camping or the like I would be inclined to take this inexpensive radio with me. Unfortunately I cannot comment on how long the batteries will last in this radio although I feel it should be a good while at least given the limited size of the LCD display and lack extras draining all important power.
Appearence, Looks and Functionality:-
Now this isn't the best looking DAB Radio but then for the price I really wasn't expecting great things. The left hand front of the radio is taken up by the speaker in the shape of the radio, whilst on the right is a small LCD display which displays the time, volume level, signal strength, whether alarm one or two is set, whehter the snooze is active or not, and whether the radio is playing FM or DAB radio.
The radio is available in one colour only which is black, with all of the buttons on top matching in colour, having the function of each button labelled in a grey/silver text which I feel will easily fade and rub off given another few months decent use. One thing I was pleased of is that nowhere does this radio have Tesco printed on it so my friends will know I've been cheap just not quite how cheap. The buttons do feel a little clicky, and of low quality and do make the radio quite fiddly to use especially when setting the alarm.
Functionality wise the radio does work quite well and I have personally had no problems with reception where I live, however the one we use identical to this at work does struggle to pick up a few stations, one that jumps to mind is Planet Rock,but if signal was ever that bad there is always the FM to fall back on. The radio has done everything I have expected it to so far, the alarms go off on time and the snooze works which are the main functions I'm interested in.
Sound quality wise as long as it isn't turned up to loud is good, the volume ranges from 0-32 however in my opinion I feel it only needs to go up to around 25 as anything over this I find to be unbearably tinny from the tiny speaker. The radio quality is pretty standard for a DAB radio and the FM is also quite good once tuned in with neither providing much crackling or interference.
For the price I do not feel you can go far wrong as long as you know you will get a good strong digital signal where you live. I would advise keeping your receipt as I have heard varying reports on cheap DAB radios when it comes to reception, and I feel I may have been lucky.
This does feel cheaply built, and has no back light for the LCD display however this is most definitely reflected in the price, and is a Tesco value product. I do not really feel I can recommend this radio to other people for any other reason than it is cheap for a DAB radio. I would tell people it is probably worth investing the extra money and spending more like £30 to get something more visually appealing with a far better build quality.
Not bad for a cheapy but for a small amount extra a far better product that does the same job can be acquired.
Summary: Not too bad for the price
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