Sunday, March 10, 2013

User Review: Sangean WFR-28 Rechargeable Portable WiFi Internet Radio

(if, after reading this you decide to purchase this radio, we recommend Amazon dot Com!  WION radio operates an online store which can be reached here!  It's completely amazon, but we get credit for your purchase! Full amazon polices apply!)

Our radio station began streaming after much research into “best methods” and “least proprietary” so we could reach the most people. We purchased a “Logitech Squeezebox” internet radio for givewaway at our local community expo to celebrate the new service, and had a great response to that contest. Meanwhile, I needed something a bit more “portable” for our remotes when we're in “iffy” signal areas for FM without using a smartphone, and hoped to find a radio with good sound and nice features. I found it in this Sangean WFR-28

FM reception: quite good for reasonable distance from high powered stations, even under the blanket of our 5kw of AM and 250 watts of FM (translator) at our studios. I have not tried the FM tuner outside our blanket of RF, but can only imagine it gets even better.

Sound: Excellent for a small radio! Perfect for bedside, kitchen, wherever you may have previously enjoyed stations on a PC but don't want to be tied to the laptop or PC for listening! It has settings for equalization so you can tailor the sound, including separate bass, treble and even the old “loudness” contour on/off. Very nice. No complaints on sound. It's not a hugely powerful amplifier, but more than enough for background in a normal sized room, especially with the EQ set for more than “flat”.

Versatility: If the volume is not enough, there's a “line out” 1/8” stereo jack, and what's really neat is this comes separate from the headphones out! You can feed an external amp and enjoy full stereo from internet stations independent of the volume and headphones. Also adding to the versatility is the stereo “line in” which renders in nice “mono” on the radio's speaker and this is selectable from the “mode” button, so no constant plugging and unplugging is needed! This is a nice change from many radios offered these days where the audio source is switched by the physical plugging-in of a device, and this also means longer life from the “aux in” jack.

Display: Easily readable, while adjustable for contrast, I've left this at factory preset.

Presets: Like most radios, dedicated to the “function” at the time. For instance, all the FM's are at once, all the “internet” ones are at once, cannot intermix function presets. (this would be a nice update in software, someday.) You can, however through the online registration add new stations easily, and can store them in your own nameable banks, like “international” or “local” or “Michigan” and still put them in as presets from each of those categories!

FM antenna: Nice “bold” diameter at bottom, well made.

Time update: Automatic through FM (limited areas, assumed..since this would be an RDS service) but did well on our “normal” network automatically and quickly when turned on!

USB audio player with protected top-mounted plug in (rubber seals out day to day dirt)....Works fine! Reads the directory of the USB drive no problems.

Rechargeable batteries. It has this option for NiMH and built in charger. Charges through AC adapter automatically.

Setup: takes a bit of patience, but once you get the feel of when to use the “tuning knob” on the side and when to use “forward/backward” buttons, adding your secure network info takes only a few minutes, but needs to be done for each network, even if the passwords are the same. (not really any different than a standard PC in this regard.)  This radio also remembers more than one wireless network. We had to take it to a school event where the I-T department had to open a "hole" for it to work on a dedicated IP address. When it came back to our station, it remembered both our networks just FINE!

The unit held its memory of stations even with no power and no batteries, so once its set, no worries of transporting without batteries or reasonable periods without power. (longest time without power here is one day, by the way and all memory was held.)

Hoping for long life out of this unit, and will be getting the batteries to have for times when no AC is available.

Overall: Excellent “first” and very versatile FM radio with 'net capabilities. GREAT to have for travel if your local station is on the web, or if you work in a place with limited reception of FM signals.

This also works GREAT for taking WION's live stream anywhere you go!