It seems digital radio has now found its feet with the UK market. Radio Stations are regularly giving them away as competition prizes and the understanding that they hold the opportunity (given the signal strength) to give a clearer quality of radio is finally starting to happen.
So it’s not surprising then that more traditional consumer electronics companies are not only starting to make digital radios that you would happily find in your home, but pocket sized units that you can take with you a la Walkman style. Phillip’s Digital Pocket Radio is one of the new breeds of players from its burgeoning Walkman offering.
The device, which is rather large, is roughly the same size as an Apple iPod, houses two AA rechargeable batteries and all the gubbins to get you going. There is a large LCD display to show all the relevant information such as station name, song playing and even the footie scores and switching between stations is very easy thanks to one of the inbuilt strengths of digital radio.
Signal strength, depending on where you are in the country can vary and here, like the Pocket DAB from Pure, the headphones double up as the antenna. As with the Pocket DAB the same problems can exist and to put it politely tall men won’t have any trouble with getting a signal.
Failing the digital offering - there are currently around 30 digital channels that you can receive including some of the analogue stations such Kiss and Radio 1 - the pocket sized player also offers FM radio. This is a useful addition when the digital signal is too weak to pick up and in addition to that the players ability to tune in to the ten “best” radio stations based on reception quality is a nice feature.
The shiny case and easy to use buttons makes for a stylish accessory. However it's just a little two large. It seems this is partly due to the inclusion of the two AA batteries, which while making it easy to replace if out and about does make this unit on the large side for something that you might expect to be quite small. In addition to that the problems that we encountered with the Pocket DAB a break in signal results in a digital screech rather than the traditional analogue hiss. That said the signal was better, but testing whether this is attributed to an increase in the number of base stations for digital radio or actually better equipment is hard to tell. A good radio that is easy to use and produces a good quality sound, just make sure you're in a strong digital reception area.