In terms of FM reception and sound quality this is the best pocket radio I''ve ever used, bar none. As an Mp3 player it''s limited by its rudimentary controls, but it sounds fantastic and you learn to work within its limits because it''s so small yet it sounds so wonderful. As...
In terms of FM reception and sound quality this is the best pocket radio I''ve ever used, bar none. As an Mp3 player it''s limited by its rudimentary controls, but it sounds fantastic and you learn to work within its limits because it''s so small yet it sounds so wonderful. As an AM radio you''re only really going to get your local stations except at night, but this may or may not be a big deal to you depending on how much you listen to AM. All in all, this is a true standout product in terms of its miniature size combined with impressive sound and exceptional reception and assembly quality.
The overall feel of this PR12 is very favorable. The case is put together snugly and the controls have a good feel to them. The display is clear and its backlight is pleasing in color and very bright. The radio''s designers have opted to have fewer controls, which is nice because you can operate them totally by feel - a big advantage if it''s in your pocket and you''re listening on earbuds or a headset. But the small number of actual controls means that many switches serve double duty, which takes some getting used to. But, once you figure it out, using this radio actually becomes quite intuitive.
Let''s talk about FM reception. How I test this is that there''s a 6 kW FM tower three miles from my house and an adjacent-channel FM station 80 miles away. Getting the distant FM signal from 80 miles would by no means be assured even without a super-close station on an adjacent channel, As it is, with this local station so close, only a few exceptional radios can do it - and this Retekess PR12 is one of them. I was shocked. Only two other radios I own can receive this distant station from my house, and they''re big portables with much longer antennas (and they cost many times more than does this little radio, too). Here''s the other thing - FM on this PR12 is very stable and minimally affected by carrying the radio around and varying its position. That makes it ideal as a carry-around radio to use with earbuds or headphones. You simply can''t assail the FM performance of this radio no matter how hard you try or what you compare it to - it''s top-notch when ranked among radios at ANY price, and all but unbelievable when you consider what this costs and its tiny size.
Audio quality through the speaker is similarly incredible for a unit this size. Crisp, clean, lots of volume, little to no distortion even at high volume. The only other pocket radio I''ve heard that comes close to having audio this good is the Sangean SR-35, which is a more traditional-sized pocket radio. Listening to them side by side I think this PR12 is actually a little better, so I''ll call this the best sounding pocket radio I''ve ever heard. Through earbuds the audio is also very good, although good earbud audio is not as hard to find as good speaker audio on a small radio.
AM is the PR12''s only weak spot, although I''ve seen bigger radios that are worse. As you know, the most important key to good AM reception is a decent-sized ferrite bar antenna inside the radio, and there''s just no room in the PR12 for anything but a very small AM antenna, and as a result you''re only going to reliably receive AM from your local area (for the common 1-5 kW local/regional AM stations), and 50-100 miles for the 50 kW powerhouses. This is during the day. At night I still get AM from many distant cities, but just not as many stations as a radio that''s really sensitive on AM, such as the GE SuperRadio. Also, there''s some noise on the AM band that probably comes from this radio''s own circuits. It ranges from nonexistent to fairly annoying depending on frequency. If you''re looking for a tiny pocket radio that gets very good AM, check out the Sony ICF-T46. It''s available here on Amazon but it''s actually a Japan-market radio with instructions and packing all in Japanese. However it doesn''t matter with that radio because it''s all analog with no digital controls, so you don''t need any instructions to use it. That radio is very close in size to this Retekess, but it''s slightly thinner.
Because of the small size of the PR12, as mentioned above, some controls do serve multiple uses. What takes the most getting used to is that the rocker switch for the tuning also advances you to a different preset and also serves as the regular tuning control. You hold it up or down to adjust the volume, short press it up or down to move among the presets, and short press it after first pressing the scan button to tune manually. While this sounds complicated, it actually becomes second nature to do this after 5-10 minutes with the radio. But, not all users could probably adapt to it. Older people who lack good hand dexterity, in particular, might prefer a radio that has more traditional single-function controls.
With Mp3s, you have a limitation any time you only have the ability to move back and forth one track at a time. This is true not just of this unit but of any player that doesn''t have a full-function display with a touchscreen or other control that lets you navigate folders and filenames. Put 10,000 songs on here (which you easily can, given a large micro SD card) and try to go to track 4,563. No can do. Just accept that, and you''ll either not fully fill your micro SD card, keeping tracks to a manageable number, or you''ll just listen to the songs in sequence without trying to find a specific track. A good strategy to consider is instead of buying the bigger, more costly micro SD cards and putting thousands of tracks on them, get several small, cheap micro SD cards and put different kinds of audio tracks, different song selections, etc. on the different cards and swap them as desired.
Charging the internal battery is fast with the supplied micro USB cord, and the onscreen battery indicator shows when charging is complete, just like a mobile phone. Some other small radios with rechargeable batteries make you guess at charging times because they lack a battery status display.
The Retekess PR12 gets virtually everything right. Its only weakness, so-so AM reception, is a nearly-unavoidable result of its tiny size - a quality that in every other way makes this radio that much more remarkable.