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Portable desktop digital radio reviews

Is digital a better option than analog? We review 23 digital radios, priced from $59 to $349, to see how they perform.
 
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01 .Introduction

Digital radio

Here, we've tested 22 portable desktop digital radios that run on batteries and mains power plus one battery-only model (the Sangean DPR-65). We:


About digital radio

Since May 2009, digital radio broadcasts have been transmitted in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Analog radio hasn't been affected, and there's no immediate plan for it to end.

Listen to Chris Ruggles explain the pros and cons of buying an affordable, portable digital radio in Australia

Keen to learn more about the format? See the CHOICE guide to digital radio.

Brands and models tested

Akai ADAB300
Bush Latitude
Bush TR82DAB
Kogan KADABXXPIXA
Laser DAB-DG200AM
Philips AE5250
Philips AE5430
Pure Evoke 1S
Pure Evoke Mio
Pure Oasis Flow
Pure One Flow
Pure One Mini Series II
Robert Ecologic 4
Roberts Elise
Roberts Recordr
Roberts Stream 205
Sangean DAB+Box
Sangean DPR-17
Sangean DPR-25 Plus
Sangean DPR-45
Sangean DPR-65
Shintaro SHDR
Sony XDR-S56DBP

Discontinued models

How we test

Sound quality Our testers listen to each radio at the same volume for distortion, rattles or other odd noises, stereo separation where appropriate and a natural sound across all frequencies.

Ease of use Our tester uses all the main functions of the radios to assess their ease of use. In particular, he looks for ease of the initial setup, clear labelling, placement and functionality of the buttons and knobs, size and clarity of the display and intuitive and logical menus.

Reception We check for reception quality in three different locations. The first site is classed as optimal reception, while the second site represents an area of marginal reception. The final test involves an area with difficult reception due to its distance from the broadcast tower and no line of sight for the signal to reach the radio.

Battery test We use rechargeable batteries, which may not have the same longevity of some other types, but are what we expect many consumers will opt for to save money. The batteries are fully charged and we time how long the radio continues to play at a moderately low volume (approximately 65dB at 1m). This test is repeated at least twice and the times are averaged.

Standby energy We measure the radio's standby energy use with the display at minimum brightness.

Discontinued Models

Bush BR08 DAB
Bush BPR07 DAB
Bush BR20 DAB
Digitech AR1751
Digitech AR1754 Portable
Grundig GPR800 DAB
MBeat DAB 01W
Oxx DIgital Pocket
Oxx Vntage Portable Digital Radio
Pure Avanti Flow
Roberts Dreamtime
sToneTech DB 80F
Teac DAB 400w

 
 

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