I bought this little gadget a few months ago so that I could listen to music when I'm in the bath without driving the neighbours mad with the sound of my stereo blasting from the front room to the bathroom. I also thought it would be handy to have around in case of a power cut or, after the extreme weather conditions we had last winter in the UK, to sling in the car if I need to go out in the snow so that if I ever get stranded somewhere I won't drain the battery in my car by having the radio on. I wasn't expecting much for £5.50, and it's a small enough amount of money not to worry too much either way, but I have been pleasantly surprised. This analogue radio is a good little piece of kit by all accounts. It's light, and small enough to slip into a bag or a car glove compartment easily at 10cm x 4cm x 3.5cm. As well as being a radio it also has a torch positioned on the side; it's not the brightest torch in the world but it would certainly do in an emergency. The radio is AM/FM with comes with a headphone socket and also a handy carry loop. As you would expect, the controls are simple to operate. There are slide type controls for frequencies and volume. You choose your channel using a dial that is positioned on the front of the radio. There is also a fully extending antennae style aerial on top of the radio. You can either use the wind up function to power the radio or put batteries in. If you do choose to use it with batteries it takes 2 x AA. Now -I have to admit to being a bit dubious about claims that it would give 30 minutes of 'air time' from 60 seconds of winding. So I wound it up for a minute and left it in the bathroom, going back periodically to check. It actually lasted almost an hour! Granted, I didn't have the volume really high (that will drain the charge much quicker) but it was comfortably loud enough to be heard if you are in the same room as the radio. There are two small lights on the front of the radio; a red one and a green one. When the radio is charged up the green light will come on, and the charge gradually runs down this will get dimmer. A red light will come on when it's time to give it another crank. As you would expect, the sound quality is not pristine, but hey - we're not talking about a piece of Bang & Olufsen kit here. It's a £5.00 radio from Tesco! I find the sound to be perfectly acceptable, there isn't much interference at all and it stays tuned in to a station really well. Overall I am really pleased with this little radio. It's excellent value for money in my opinion. At the time of writing this radio is on offer from Tesco Direct for only £4.00. If you have it delivered to your local store then there is no delivery charge.
I might have given up a (semi) lucrative job in the UK to volunteer in Africa for a year, but that doesn't mean I'm totally skint. The rent I'm charging is more than my mortgage and I'm actually getting paid to live it up in the sun, despite the volunteer moniker, so when I got a list of things I might need for the year I didn't balk too much at the fact that most of them weren't already in my possession and would require a shopping trip. One of the things on the list was an FM radio (no doubt for early warning of military coups etc). Now for the time being at least I have a decent electricity supply, and also internet access which means regular Podcast downloads, but I didn't know this would be the case, so decided to look for a wind up or solar powered version. I spotted this one up in Tesco for the small sum of £6.97. The fact that it was combined with a torch (another item from the list) made it doubly worthwhile, and I didn't bother shopping around to see if alternative models would be any better. I mean, a radio's a radio, right? My first week in the country I was in an ok hotel (see review) which boasted satellite TV and continuous light, so this baby stayed at the bottom of my bag. Moving up country, though, I was hit almost immediately by a power cut, and found myself digging this out. I hadn't bought it for the torch, but that was what I needed it for at first. With it out, I decided I might as well have a play with the rest of it, and since then it has been my faithful companion over breakfast every morning. This is an AM/FM radio, reasonably compact and with a retractable, pivotable antenna. It runs on your choice of normal (AA) batteries or through winding it up using the handle that pops out of the casing on the front. You un fold it to give you some leverage, churn it round, and then fold it back up to stow it away. Simple. One of the first things I discovered was that it's a radio/torch but not at the same time. You can only have one function in use at once as the button is an either/or to toggle between the two. This means that if I want to listen at night, it has to be in the dark, which isn't great, but no worse than a normal, non-torch radio. The torch is not all that bright, and since the whole thing is a bit bulky, it's not worth carrying it with you in your handbag (while it wouldn't even fit in a pocket). But, when I'm home and the lights go out, it will do to help me locate my proper pocket torch at the very least, and of course you don't have to worry about running out of batteries. Winding it up is a very noisy affair. It makes a proper racket (louder than the volume setting on the radio itself) but you have to get used to it as it takes a fair bit of winding to power it up for a decent length of time. It does keep its power when switched off, so I can wind and wind on a Monday and then not bother again all week, but I tend to just whizz the handle round the bare minimum of times each morning so it has enough juice to get me through the BBC World Service headlines while I eat my porridge. While there is an LED on the front to tell you when the battery is dying, this is the only indication you get. The sound doesn't fizzle out, it simply stops mid sentence, which is annoying if you're listening to a show, so whenever I see the red light light up, I spring into action and crank the handle round a few more times. You can wind it while it's still switched on: not too useful with the radio as you won't be able to hear the broadcast, but good when you're using the torch and just want to keep it going for a bit more. The one really annoying thing for me is that the dial knocks very easily, so I am forever retuning it to the one station I listen to. The display is quite vague so you need to make micro movements to adjust it, and when I'm half asleep and simultaneously trying to play with my hideous bottled gas to prepare my breakfast, this is something I really can't be bothered with. When it's dark it's almost impossible to retune, given that the torch and radio won't work together, so now I try to be extra careful not to knock it, as if I do the headlines will probably have been and gone by the time I find the station again. You can switch the radio on by using the volume dial, which is also how you switch on the torch too (though you need to make sure the switch is set to the right mode). It's simple, but because both this dial and the tuning one are on the same side, you have to be careful not to knock the latter when all you want to do is turn the volume up a little. The picture above illustrates this product well. This radio is a bit chunky, and looks old fashioned next to my laptop and iPod, but is not too heavy to carry around from room to room. I sleep with a torch next to my pillow (inside my mossie net, along with a book, my watch and who knows what else) and will use this one if I can't locate my normal, pocket torch though it takes up significantly more room. It makes me smile that this comes with a wrist strap, as I can't imagine ever wanting to carry it round town with me. You get a good signal when it's finally tuned in. It's hard for me to comment on the reception as I've not used any other radios over here, but it's not notably poor, and seems to like the BBC just as much as local Krio language stations. The broadcast comes across clearly and without crackling, except when it's been knocked slightly and needs a retuning tweak. The radio also has a headphone socket, though headphones aren't provided, and I've never used my iPod ones with this. Because it's such a bulky design it doesn't seem the sort of personal radio I'd want to listen to in private, but the feature's there if you want it. Overall I am impressed by this radio because it was just so cheap. It may have its flaws but on the whole it delivers what it should and costs nothing but elbow grease to keep it going after purchase. It's well made and sturdy, so suitable for outdoor use too, if you're a camper or gardener or whatever else, and while I'll probably leave it here when I come home, I'm already feeling like I've had my money's worth from it. Available from Tesco, in store, online for home delivery or to order to collect from a Tesco Direct desk.
You know those pointless Christmas presents you'd wish you'd received accompanied with a receipt...well I didn't quite know what I'd done this year to deserve this one, but having given it a chance, I was actually quite glad I did. This portable radio is a bargain at £7.79 from Tesco, comes in a stylish silver finish and includes a handy carry loop. Its compact and lightweight, so ideal for when you're on the move, be it camping, my dad likes to take it when he goes fishing, and it's especially comforting to know you have it close to hand it should an emergency situation arise. It has two main useful features, including an AM/FM radio and a torch. Located on the top of the radio is a headphone socket, along with two switches that allow the user to control whether the radio or torch is in use, as well as AM or FM radio. The radio frequency is adjusted through the dial on the side, which might prove difficult to use for those with bad eyesight. No batteries are required for the unit to function however the item allows you to select whether to use batteries or wind the handle to generate power, which is eco-friendly. We've used it several times, mostly for camping and found the reception to be mostly good, except for areas where we lost it due to signal strength. There is a handy light indicator situated on the front which glows green when the power generated is reasonably high, and turns red when running low. The radio has one negative I could think of, which is that it tends to be tremendously noisy when winding, and the unit requires a good 5-10 minutes straight of winding to store a reasonable amount of power, which trust me is enough to drive you crazy - but hey...it burns some calories at least. In my opinion at this bargain price, everyone can afford to benefit from owning one of these wind-up radios - highly recommended!
Review of Tesco Value RAD-306Wind-up Radio **The product** This is a bargain priced Tesco Value product. A neat little radio ideal for use at home or when traveling. The radio is AM/FM with a headphone socket. The controls are basic, two slider type controls, one for frequencies the other for volume. Channel selection is via a dial on the front of the radio. An antennae style extending aerial is mounted on the top of the radio and this is fully positionable. The radio is an analogue model, no DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) here! The controls are simple and easy to use and the reception I have found to be excellent, even when in use inside my steel narrowboat. Radio and TV reception are something many of my boating friends grumble about even with far more technically advanced equipment than my humble Tesco radio! **Special features** This is a dual powered radio, you can of course choose to power by battery, 1 x 9v, but it is primarily a windup model. The inbuilt mini generator will provide approximately 20 minutes of listening with only 90 seconds of winding. The chunky black generator winding handle is set on the front of the radio and is very easy to wind. *Crafty Grandmother's hint....young children seem to enjoy winding the radio and hearing the results of their labours. Educational and saves me the trouble!! On a serious note, the wind up facility is ideal for my travels as it doesn't matter whether I have access to electricity or shops for new batteries, I can still have radio entertainment. In a more conventional environment a windup radio is always useful indoors, either as a backup for your normal radio or in the case of a power cut. The windup radio concept has been around ever since radios were invented and enjoyed a resurrection thanks to the work of Trevor Bayliss OBE, who in 1993 became aware of the need for the need of a means of communication which did not require batteries or electricity in remote areas of Africa. As a keen inventor, Bayliss developed the clockwork radio. Since then many other companies, including Tesco have joined in the ranks of stockists for these radios. Eco-friendly and practical wind up radios are a green alternative to conventional types of radio. **Appearance and price** I have to be totally honest here and state that this is not an attractive item. It is an awkward looking radio but I think it's appearance can be forgiven when the advantages of this radio are taken into consideration! The Tesco Value RAD-306 comes in silver with the controls, wind up handle and carry strap in black. The main material is plastic with a cloth carry strap, although it has a headphone socket, no headphones are supplied. Well, it is a value model! It is a small radio, fully portable and lightweight. Measurements are: height 10cm, width 7cm, depth 3.5 cm. The cost is currently £7.97, although I paid a little more when I bought mine 6 months ago. The Tesco Value RAD-306 is available in larger Tesco branches, online or through the Tesco Direct catalogue. **Tesco Contact Information** www.tesco.com Tesco Stores Ltd Cheshunt EN8 9SL Freephone 0800 505555 (Mon-Sat. 9:00-18:00hrs) Tesco Direct catalogues are available in store. From these you can order online, by phone or instore at the Tesco Direct desk. **Conclusion** For an eco friendly simple wind up radio you cannot go far wrong with this product. Great for use on the move, even in remote areas. It is cheap but good value, simple to use and you do not have to use batteries. The choice is yours, wind up or battery. Good for the environment and although not, pretty, a useful item to own. I would recommend this to consumers looking for a small analogue radio with few frills. C brittle1906 February 2009 Also published on ciao.co.uk and peazyshop.co.uk under same pen name
Ever since I was a child, way back in the days when there was no colour in the world and, everything was black and white, I have always been a radio fan - or 'wireless' as we called it back then. With the birth of wind-up radios I have often been tempted to buy one; being impressed with the total simplicity of the whole idea. Being in a Tesco store last year, browsing and comparing computer keyboards, my eye was caught by a little wind-up radio in a 'Tesco Value' box. I could not resist the impulse to buy, and couldn't wait to get it home to try it out. Straight out of the box I was impressed. Although the RAD-306 as it is known is made, predictably, of virtually 100% plastic, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that although light in weight, it has a substantial feel when held in the hand and the silver casing makes it looks more expensive than it really is. For a little radio at the low price of £7.97 (price correct at time of writing, May 2007) it has more features than I had expected. On the top of the radio is the chrome-finished telescopic aerial, which is multi-directional. Next to that is the little, black AM/FM waveband selector switch. The Radio/Light selector switch is next, also black. Then comes the DC 4.5v socket, enabling the radio to be plugged into a mains socket and used as a normal radio. It also takes 2xAA batteries if you prefer this option. Last but not least (on the left-hand side) is the headphone socket. Using headphones with the RAD-306 is a real pleasure, as the quality of the sound is outstanding. Used in general radio mode, the small speaker produces good reproduction for both music and the spoken word, considering how small the speaker actually is. On the right of the radio is the volume dial which also switches the radio on and off, and above this is the tuning dial. If there is one feature that detracts slightly from awarding 'full marks' to this product it is the tuning dial. Although the station signal stays in place once tuned in, setting the required radio station can, at first, feel somewhat fiddly. On the far left is the built-in light, which is powerful enough to cope with most general purpose uses, and would come in very handy if used while camping etc. However, the radio does not operate while the light is on but does come back on automatically as soon as the light is switched off. On the front is the small, circular tuning window, speaker grille, two buttons - red and green - to show battery condition, battery selector switch and the all-important black charging handle. The handle is simplicity itself to use. A few clockwise turns and you are charged up and ready to go! Availability: In most large Tesco stores (not 'Tesco Express'), and available through 'Tesco Direct'. All in all a good quality wind-up radio for a low price! Will help reduce your carbon footprint. Well worth the small price tag.