While Philips is in the process of winding up radio business, the premier Japanese brand Sony is introducing new portable AM FM radio models in the Indian market. In today’s fast-moving digital age, when portable AM-FM radio devices are almost extinct, Sony dares to challenge the changing trend. Read also Sony Boombox with Bluetooth NFC CD and Pen drive Support.
Evolution cycle- Radio TV Smartphone: The evolution of mobile phone has almost finished the market for AM FM radio device. Those days are gone when one of the first things gifted to Groom was a Philips radio. In last one decade, television replaced portable radio as the primary source of news and entertainment, and now TV is facing the similar threat from 4G smartphones and tablets.
Reliance Jio offers many 4G data plans wherein the internet speed could be anything between 10 to 35 MBPS is as low as 4 to 5 rupees per GB. Everything is going to be live on your 4G smartphone now. Then who bothers to turn on a TV when all news channels are live on 4G smartphones?
► Sony ICF-P36 Portable AM FM Radio
Sony recently has launched a portable radio in India, ICF- P36. It is one of the best radio sets available in India. The AM FM radio has a traditional radio look, and its build is sturdy. You can tune FM channels as well as MW & SW radio stations on the Sony Radio. Much like radios in the nineties, a regular battery set powers this compact radio set. The audio output of the radio is amazingly loud and clear. Thanks to excellent signal reception, even on a surrounded ground floor you hear uninterrupted programs without background noise due to weak signal.
In this piece, I cover an in-depth review of this portable AM FM radio. In the end, my final verdict about this fabulous AM FM radio would help you decide whether to buy it or not.
Best Gift for Senior citizens: The Sony radio could be a brilliant gift for someone exceptional in your life. I am planning to present this as a gift to my father. He has an old Philips and does not appreciate FM radio in his mobile phone. Moreover, he is not very keen in a Boombox type of multi-functional jumbo device, either.
The cheapest option in the portable radio Segment: Not many options are available in the portable radio market. Even if you like one, due to high price cannot buy it. In fact, today you cannot get a good quality radio set in less than 2000 rupees.
All Philips models are almost outdated now. In fact, most of them are four to five years old model. In spite of them being obsolete models now, still cost somewhere between 1000 to 1500 rupees. Philips has not launched a new portable AM-FM radio model in last many years.
Then the Sony AM FM radio, a recent model, priced less than 1500 Rupees makes sense. Bearing in mind the options in the market, Sony sales the radio model at the right price. The portable AM FM radio outperforms its substitutes in the market in terms of audio delivery, battery backup, and signal reception.
→ Build and Design of this portable Radio Set
I have always been a fan of the elegant design Sony provides to its smart gadgets. That is true for this AM FM radio set as well. Sony has given eye-catching, sturdy build to it using premium quality plastics. In fact, the build of the radio is strong enough to sustain in fall from a good height, hard collision, and a straight kick by naughty kids.
The build of the best AM FM radio in India is sleek and compact. Further, the weight of the AM FM radio model is approx 225 grams. It is lightweight, does not gain much even after adding fuel cells for power. There is a built-in hook to fix hand strap, adds great flexibility in carrying it around comfortably.
The Sony radio has a retro similar to the best radio set in India in the 90s. However, besides being small than any Philips AM radio, it is much more potent with loud & clear audio production and has excellent signal reception, too.
One more brilliant thing about the design of the portable transistor radio is that control buttons hide in the body. So its front, sides, and rear are almost flat. Such smart design does help to safeguard the buttons. In fact, the Sony AM FM radio would remain operational even when falling from a great height. Moreover, forcing it into your backpack also becomes very easy because of such smart portable design. The build and design of the Sony assert that it is indeed the best radio to buy in India, currently.
Signal Cache-ability: Sony provides a sensitive antenna to this pocket AM FM radio. For better signal reception stand it up tall. The antenna rotates in 360 degrees, and users can always adjust its length for better signal strength.
→ Volume Control and Frequency Modes of Sony Radio
You can adjust the volume of this radio using a control wheel that resides on the left side of the Sony radio. In fact, the placement of audio control wheel is exceedingly appropriate and user-friendly. Moreover, there is a sliding switch to change between modes – AM, FM, OF on this pocket radio, withal.
Thankfully, ON status is not present on this Radio as one of the modes. From OFF status, any user would want move to either in AM or FM mode not as — first to ON mode, then AM and finally FM. Slide from down to up, modes changes as OFF to AM, and then FM. I think FM mode should come first in the order since most users would prefer jumping to FM mode from the OFF status of the radio.
Because of excellent signal quality and local content, FM stations are much more in demand than AM channels. All AIR national and regional channels are AM channels in India. In fact, favorite AIR AM channels like Vivid Bharati and FM gold are available at government-owned local FM stations.
Notifications Light and Tuner wheel: LED notification for the signal receiver and the battery does help in tuning this radio even in low light or no light. Tuner lights glow brighter if the station signal strength is good at user’s place. And, if the LED light appears weak for the battery status means you should keep two extra fuel cell as a backup.
A tuner built-in at the top of the portable AM FM radio makes more comfortable to search radio channels. That is a manual analog channel search option supported by the LED notifications at the front.
→ Headphone Support and Audio Quality
On the left side of the radio, near the volume control wheel is the 3.5-mm port for mono headphone out. Using this, enjoy unlimited live FM music without disturbing people around.
Single driver speaker of the Sony radio generates hi-fi quality sound. Audio remains smooth and precise at every volume levels. Therefore, one thing is clear that the Sony radio is far superior to substitutes if a comparison is made for audio quality.
The speaker system with Sony Walkman technology is monaural type speaker. It has a 57-mm driver unit with 8-ohm impedance. With the maximum sound output of 100 mW, the Sony portable radio produces natural and loud sound. The level of Bass in music is not very assuring on this radio, however.
Battery Life: This radio requires two 1.5-V fuel cells in AA size. I would not be wrong in rating it as a portable radio with lowest power consumption. If you listen to radio programs only three to four hours daily, a pair of batteries will last close to twenty to twenty-five days. According to the official fact sheet for the AM FM radio, two AA-size battery ensures close to 100 hours of battery backup. You cannot power it using a 3-V adapter, however. There is no power input port on this pocket-size radio.
→ Signal Reception Test of this Sony Portable Radio
Sony ICF-P36 radio set comes with a tall sensitive antenna. Even if you stay at ground floor in a closed surrounding, this radio will receive strong signals. SW and MW Radio channels also connect well, but unwanted breathing noises in the background sometimes annoy listeners. That is a persistent problem in the local AIR station towers, cannot blame this Sony radio for it.
- Super clear audio due to Sony’s walkman technology
- Headphone jack
- Ultra portable and lightweight
- Hidden control buttons & wheel
- Arms strap for easy caring it around
Cons: Runs only on battery, no support to external power source
Conclusion: In last few decades, Philips has been ultimate king in the portable AM FM radio market. However, now Sony wants to take the lead with some good quality portable pocket-size radios at decent prices.
The Sony ICF-P36 AM FM radio comes with excellent features. It has a durable build with a smart design, efficacious sound, headphone out port, and reliable signal reception. It, therefore, is the best option around the price of 1500 Rupees, or say the best radio under 2000 Rupees in the Indian market. Read also Best 7 Boom Box Under 5000 Rupees in India.
|Mode||SW, MW, and FM|
|Frequency Range AM||530 – 1605 kHz|
|Frequency Range FM||87500 – 108000 kHz|
|Audio||100mW, 8 ohm, 57-mm Mono Speakers, Sony Walkman Technology|
|LED Display||Tune, Battery|
|Battery||DC, Two Cell, R6/AA Size Battery, 100 hours of backup|
|Body||220 grams, 131.5 x 69.5 x 43.5 mm|