Radio Rebirth

Nandagopal Rajan        Print Edition: October 2012

"This is All India Radio." For Indians above the age of 30, it is hard to remember a childhood without these words being a part of life. Of late, of course, the radio has been relegated to the position of an additional fitting in phones, headphones and other such devices.

The only place we listen to radio is in the car, but that too is a luxury limited to urban areas. Internet radio has revived some of the charm of listening to a broadcast in which you have no idea what is going to come next, but bandwidth has been a hurdle for this listening pleasure.

Meanwhile, satellite radio died early due to its high costs and the need for subscriptions.

After becoming a device that caters primarily to the rural market, the radio, or the transistor as we like to call it, has started evolving.

PANASONIC RC-DC1
In keeping with the times, the latest breed of radios can play media files, others can power themselves using solar panels or a dynamo, the rest try to pass themselves off as alarm clocks, lava lamps and toys while being able to tune in to your favourite station in a jiffy.

The radio of the new era is here. "This is All India Radio 2012."

PANASONIC RC-DC1 (Price: Rs 5,190)
This a radio, but it is also an alarm clock and an iPod dock. The RC-DC1 has two stereo speakers that produce 2600 mW sound output, auto scan tuning and 5-FM/5-AM presets.

COBY CX90SVR
COBY CX90SVR (Price: Rs 826)
This is a pocket radio with a backlit digital display, digital AM/FM tuner with 20-stqation presets and dynamic bass boost system (DBBS). There is an inbuilt clock as well as a hold switch to prevent accidental key presses. (www.grabmore.in)

GRUNDIG S350DL
GRUNDIG S350DL (Price: Rs 9,684)
This is one radio that retains all the old world charm. But then you notice the price and realise that there has to be something extra.

Yes, this radio gives you the precision of digital tuning, filtering and interference control. Ideal forradio aficionados, this one also has a host of connectivity options. (www.grabmore.in)

SONILEX MINI BOOM BOX 4
SONILEX MINI BOOM BOX 4 (Price: Rs 999)
Yes, it looks like a boom box, but then it is priced like a radio, which it is. Additional features include a USB/SD reader for MP3, rechargeable battery and 360 degree high sensitivity antenna. (www.buyatbrands.com)

PAGARIA ANGRY BIRDS FM RADIO
PAGARIA ANGRY BIRDS FM RADIO (Price: Rs 749)
This radio looks like a really angry bird that is out to wreak havoc. But along with the FM tuner there is a USB port for playing MP3 files too. This one is more about the fun and less about the radio. (www.flipkart.com)

PAGARIA 5-BAND RADIO
PAGARIA 5-BAND RADIO (Price: Rs 850)
This radio unit stands out for its ability to play MP3 songs from a USB drive. It also has a remote to control the media player. Then it comes with a rechargeable battery, making the Pagaria a value-for-money product. (www.flipkart.com)

LENCO CRW-3
LENCO CRW-3 (Price: Rs 1,245)
This one looks nothing like a radio.

It is only on close inspection that you can make out that this is not a lamp, but a radio with an LCD display and auto-scan tuning.

But, sorry, only FM here.



**RADIO CLOCKS**

PHILIPS AJ3115 (Rs 1,425)
With an LED display, analog tuning and a 100 MW output this has the specs of a decent radio. But then the AJ3115 is also a full-fledged bedside alarm clock with sleep timer and repeat alarms.

SONY ICF-C218 (Rs 1,490)
This table-top FM radio comes with an LED display. The alarm has extendable snooze and sleep timer while the AC power cord works as the FM antenna.

LENCO CRW-1 (Rs 2,449)
Another stunner, this ball-shaped device is actually a bedside radiocum-alarm clock. Added features include a 500 mW sound output, auto-scan tuning and sleep function. You can also set the alarm to wake you up with the radioand there is the LED which flashes with the buzzer. (www.flipkart.com)

PHILIPS AJ5000 (Rs 4,250)
This superbly designed radio has an other-worldly digital display, a 600 mW output and rotator volume control. It comes with an inbuilt alarm that has customisable multicolor mood lights, power backup and sleep timer.



**EMERGENCY RADIOS**

Eton FR600B (Rs 4,208)
Eton has a good collection of solar and self-powered radios. Top of their range is the FR600B which features a solar panel and a hand crank for powering the device. Since it can produce power, it can also be used to charge a cell phone and has a flashlight built in. It can tune into weather channels. (www.grabmore.in)

HY-88E (Rs 2,200)
This is a portable and cheap emergency radio with solar as well as self power options. There is AM and FM along with weather band radio where available. This radio too has a LED flashlight and can charge the cell phone. (www.grabmore.in)

Midland ER102 (Rs 2,544)
This radio is weather-proof while being able to survive without power in challenging situations. While it has no solar panel, there is a hand crank to charge the internal battery as well as a 3-LED flashlight. Added features are a clock and a thermometer. (www.grabmore.in)

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