Friday, October 5, 2012

Review of Tesco DAB portable radio 211E

tesco DAB 211E radio
Review : Tesco DAB portable radio model number DAB 211E
Price at time : £17.97
Summary : Sound quality is basic but great DAB radio for the price. Good energy conservation. Should last on batteries 10+ hours
Score : 6/10
Score per price : 9/10

Tesco DAB radio 211E preset 'fault'

I thought the preset on the radio was broke, but it turns out it is not. It seems many people think it is a fault with the radio and take it back, as the instructions seem to be misleading. Thanks to 'MrHelpful in the Tesco review thread, I now know it is not a fault and this is how to work the preset on the 211E  DAB radio :

1. For preset, you tune to the radio station
2. HOLD THE PRESET BUTTON DOWN UNTIL THE NUMBER FLASHES (that is it now in preset input mode. This is what I was missing)
3. When the number flashes you then press enter (no need to hold enter down)
4. It should be stored 

Now for the review :

box for dab 211E
General summary : It is a great 'tinny' radio for the price, if you are looking to replace a cheap small analogue radio you have been using. Up until recently it has seemed that the cheap and small DAB market was not something manufacturers were interested in. It uses 4 AA batteries and energy conservation seems to be a priority. Depending on volume you should get more than 6+ hours out of batteries. The sound quality is tinny but better than cheap analogue radios. Like listening to FM. The reception is good for me (needing minimum aerial extension).

DAB/FM radio
10 presets available
requires 4 AA batteries (works with rechargeables)
Says 6+ hours on batteries but I think much more is possible depending on volume
No earphone input
Takes a 5v adaptor for mains connection (adapter included)
Weight without batteries : 273g
Measurements : width 13.5cm, depth 4.3cm,height 10.5cm
Info screen has radio-controlled clock, some radio info etc
Relatively easy to use (one step above very simple, once you know about the preset input function)

Sound quality : A cheap mono speaker but very acceptable for casual listening. Reception seems very good for me. Needs only a little aerial extension to get all stations.

Reception : Reception is excellent for me. My aeriel is telescopic but only goes up and down. It does not point in all directions like the one in the Tesco page. In the autumn I usually have problems with mw radios getting reception, which is not a problem with DAB.

211E DAB control panel
Navigation : uses buttons on the top which are pretty easy to understand apart from the preset function (easy once you know how. See above). I hate the button clicking but it's no big deal. Also switching on and off can be tricky at first when you don't know how. To press it once puts it on standby (clock will display). To switch it off proper you hold the off switch down until the display goes very bright. There is a hidden default reset where you can reset to the factory settings. This is where you hold the DAB/FM button down and then press enter.

Energy use (mains) : It uses a 5v adapter which comes with the radio. Adapter is quite small. If you switch the supply off, the radio will still work seamlessly if batteries are installed.

211E takes 4 AA batteries
Energy use (batteries). I am impressed with the thought that has went into the radio when used with batteries. One of the main problems with DAB radios has always been battery drain time (as well as radio size). This radio is the nearest I have got to replacing a cheap 2 battery analogue radio as an acceptable alternative. The other DAB radios drained too quickly. With this I can get 10+ hours on rechargeable batteries (depending on volume). Not quite as long as the old analogue but close, and practical enough. Sometimes it won't work with some of my recharge batteries but I think this is because they are not good quality batteries. When battery life is near the end the radio does all it can to preserve energy to the station, such as switching down the led light etc. When the battery goes the radio makes a screeching sound which I could do without. Holding the off switch should switch it off.

211E underneath
Other things : My radio can easily be knocked back as the rubber pads underneath do not seem to cover the back in a way that provides strong stability. But this is a minor problem. I could even put a rubber pad at the back myself.

Conclusion : Finally, a great replacement for a cheap tinny portable analogue radio, getting close to the same battery life (but not quite yet). Gives you all the benefits of DAB over analogue (and gives you FM too). Small handy radio, and cheap.

Tesco page for DAB radio 211E 

other pictures of 211E DAB radios

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