Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio

The Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio receives FM radio, DAB and DAB+ digital radio signals

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Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio
  • Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio
  • Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio
  • Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio

Pros

  • FM, DAB and DAB+ signals receivable, clear audio for headphones, attractive, fast channel surfing, portable

Cons

  • Price, no extra features such as a built-in clock, no expandable memory for recording audio

Bottom Line

The Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio is a good looking, portable digital radio that can pick up FM radio, DAB and DAB+ signals. Although it's a little pricey for a digital radio that lacks extra features, it's well worth considering.

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The Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio is a portable Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB+) and FM radio with a 2.5in speaker. It can receive DAB+ signals in addition to DAB and FM radio signals. It is a simple white rectangular box with a volume control knob on the right side, power and headphone ports on the left side and button controls on the fascia, next to the 2.5in speaker.

Although the move to digital TV is a well-publicised issue, digital radio hasn't received as much air time.

Officially, digital radio broadcasts will begin in May 2009 across five Australian capital cities — Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth — though some test broadcasts may already be running. The ABC has two channels, DiG Radio and DiG Jazz, currently active.

When digital radio is officially launched in May, all analog broadcasters will be able to broadcast their services in digital if they choose to. Commercial stations that currently broadcast an analog service must begin their digital broadcasts before July 2009 or they will lose their digital broadcasting licences — so expect to hear all your favourite radio stations on digital.

If you've already purchased a DAB radio such as the Pure Digital Move portable DAB radio, you'll need to make sure it's capable of receiving DAB+ signals. The industry standard will be DAB+ and a standard DAB radio will not be able to pick up this signal.

If you've ever tuned a radio with electronic controls, such as those found on a car stereo, then you'll be right at home when using the Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio. A band button on the top-left switches between the FM and digital signals. The auto tune button performs a quick station sweep when pressed, and holding it down performs a more detailed sweep.

In our tests we found thirteen stations in North Sydney when we performed a detailed sweep, but you can expect many more stations in major Australian cities from July 2009 onwards. Digital radio frequency and channel surfing was fast with very little lag.

A major benefit of digital radio is the ability to view detailed information sent by the radio broadcaster. A 2.5in LCD display on the Sangean DPR-99 shows you the station, the signal strength and the frequency. Our tests revealed some radio stations also provided track information and program details — even weather data from the Bureau of Meteorology.

The audio quality of DAB+ signals is excellent, with some digital radio stations like Nova 969 in Sydney already streaming at 192Kbps. When we listened to the same station over an FM radio and digital radio with headphones, the difference was clear. The Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio's 2.5in speaker provides a decent amount of volume, but as a single mono speaker it blends a lot of the frequencies and distorts at high volumes.

To power the Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio, you can choose between 240V AC power and six AA-sized batteries. If you use rechargeable Ni-MH batteries, the Sangean digital radio will also charge them for you, which is a very handy function if you're taking it out frequently.

For portability, the Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio weighs 500gm without batteries. It's too big to fit into a pocket but small enough to pop into a backpack.

The Sangean DPR-99 DAB+ Radio is an FM and digital radio that looks good, sounds great and works well. The $279 price tag is a little high given the lack of features like built-in clocks or expandable memory, but overall, this is a solid digital radio.

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