176 of 180 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2010
So I've been trying to find a decent weather radio. One that you can disable certain alerts, one that pays attention to EOM (end of message) and one that doesn't look like junk sitting on the kitchen counter.
So far I've been blown away with the quality of this radio. Everything from the button feel to the LCD display is excellent. Surprisingly the quality of the internal speaker is good as well, the sound is nice.
The radio does allow you to disable alerts! And it's easy to disable them as well. This is very useful when you don't care to be woken up for a thunderstorm *watch*.
The radio pays attention to EOM! At then end of each voice alert broadcast they play a tone to signify EOM (end of message). When the radio hears this tone it mutes itself. This is great if your in bed, laying down, in the other room or just don't want to go over to the radio. The radio will play the alert message then mute itself once the message is over. Some units like the midland (nearly every model they make) doesn't pay attention to this, and you get to keep hearing the same alert message repeating over and over until the 15 minute timer runs out.
The time and date will automatically set itself if you point it to a FM radio station that broadcasts the time/date via RDS. (I had to try a few different stations that broadcast RDS until I found one that did this; seems not all of them do in my area)
FM radio reception is excellent. To boot you get to see song name/Artist and radio station information scrolling on the screen.
I did find some of the instructions to be a bit not well translated. Like you have to have the weather radio set to "ON" or the "weather" button doesn't work. But really this is minor stuff, and you'll forget about it once you use it.
This radio is really a home run: great features, high quality and good aesthetics.
64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2011
I bought this radio primarily for weather but the text display and FM radio functions were a bonus.
It sat in the shipping box for several weeks as we moved into our new home. I was tempted to give it
a good review based on looks alone just to stop that annoying e-mail from Amazon, requesting my
feedback. My previous radio was a Midland did the job but was not anything to brag about... it was ok.
Here in NC, Spring brings many thunderstorm... an event I have found to be very predictable in that it has
occured every year for the last 8 years that I have been here. After two thunderstorms went by, I decided
to at least set it for thunderstorm/tornado activity for our county and the surrounding counties. I have a wife
and a toddler and I could not help but think, "What if the last two storms were worse and my radio did not
April 16th started off like any other day. Almost everyone knew we were going to get thunderstorms that day. I decided against cutting the lawn because it felt unusually cold outside, not to mention the clouds were extremely low, dark and moving quickly across the sky. We hung around the house and all day long there was no rain, and the clouds were not as dark anymore. We went to do some light shopping and overheard the Walmart cashier whisper, "There's a tornado in Cary" to another employee. My wife took notice of the higher than normal number of managers walking around the store. Fortunately we were only 5 minutes from the house.
Listening to the television, we got the closet under the stairs prepared. At that time, I could not figure out what was making such a noise upstairs and decided to check it out. The Sangean radio was flashing a red tornado warning and giving audible instructions as to what we should do. It was going crazy!!! Believe me, you can not sleep through that. It has a SUPERB speaker. Also, the display is very pleasing to the eyes and large enough. It gave the warning a few times and remained lit with scrolling text and went silent. My old Midland did not have the same option so it never shut-up unless I walked across the room.
Approximately 25 minutes later the hail was SO relentless that you could not see an inch past the windows. According to the television, that was turned all the way up so that we could hear -still barely from the wind noise-, it was about 10 miles away at an intersection down the street. We quickly got in the closet and rode it out. Fifteen minutes later there were no clouds and the sun shone for the first time that day.
When I first set the radio I was hoping to get the weekly test signal to see if it was working properly. With my Midland it went off almost always but this radio allows me to choose counties. In short, it worked when it needed to and that is all I needed to know. Hey, the FM radio ain't bad either... super rich tone. I NEVER write reviews but I had to this time. Not to mention I have other dedicated FM radios that can not pull in the FM stations like the Sangean... this was a big problem for me. You will not be disappointed at all. It is a quality product and as someone said, it gives the feeling that it will last another 30 years like their grandfather's radio.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2011
Midland seems to be the standard to which all other weather radios are compared. Sangean's latest entry into the market really proves who is on top.
Midland radios are ubiquitous. Every store that sells weather radios displays them prominently. Unfortunately their build quality and feature set have taken steps backward in recent years. The last one I bought had a faulty antenna. Almost all the "top" receivers use the same, blocky, 16-character alphanumeric display they used 10 years ago.
Sangean's CL-100 greatly improves on readability with a nice pixel LCD display. The best features are EOM (End of Message) muting, the ability to switch off the alert siren for unwanted alerts (like thunderstorm watch). It also comes with a nice external antenna. The radio can set its own clock via a local FM station's RDS signal. The controls and user interface are leaps and bounds above any competitor's offerings. It could work perfectly as a combination weather and clock radio for the bedside, even offering stereo output for nicer speakers, although the internal mono speaker isn't a slouch.
The only cons I can think of have to do with the display itself. Although it's great, its lowest backlight setting is still too bright for my bedside. Also, there is no way to adjust the display's angle, making it hard to read unless the radio is at a level well below the bed, whatever the contrast setting. If not used as a clock radio in the bedroom, it's perfect.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
I have had my Sangean CL-100 table top weather radio for a little over two weeks, am getting to know it, and so far have been favorably impressed. The unit is neither as small as a walking/hiking pocket weather radio nor quite as large as the typical stationary weather radios from Midland, et al., that sell in the $30 - $60 price range. IOW it is roughly the size of the small clock radios in most chain motels. I keep mine resting on its flush bottom where there are small nonskid rubber tips. I tried upending it, making the bottom the back, and no jacks or outlets were occluded in that position, either. It felt stable lying on its face (now bottom); but I won't vouch for it. I should stress, though, that while upended display may make the unit look like a portable, this model would probably be problematic in a true hiking or camping situation since it's too large for any pocket and lacks handles.
The sole "anomaly" to the CL-100's presenting a smooth six-sided silhoutte is the part of the radio the user wants most visible: the display on the upper-right portion of the unit (as seen when laid flat) is on a forward-facing wedge, which makes the LCD display easier to read from above or in front, or even from the sides. I leave mine plugged in connected to the transformer (included), which also charges the batteries. If the A.C. power fails or is turned off (as happened when I turned off my power strip, something I do or used to do to stop "vampire" energy drain), the unit will kick over to battery-backup. In this mode I noticed no immediate fall-off in volume frequency or reception, but the display is no longer backlit, an irritation but a minor one. The clock goes on keeping time; it's just that you have to look at it straight on to read it without backlighting because it has the typical LCD black lettering on a medium gray readout.
I think the unit embodies well-thought-out design. As I said, bottom and front edge have no protruberances, jack inlets or anything else that would prohibit access to accessories. (Plug-ins are found on the side and back.) It is built with five channel buttons for self-set AM or FM stations, but there are also a separate weather-mode button AND an on-off switch that shows the color orange when the Weather function is engaged. This is the only color on the face of the radio and although the switch is rather small, that bit of orange is quite noticeable. The unit can be made to play AM or FM with weather alerts breaking in, or simply put in Weather mode, which locks everything else out. Most of your operation of the radio will take place to the far right center of the unit, on the multifunction button, which is actually a center "SELECT" button surrounded by an N-E-S-W ring of slewing keys. To tune higher radio frequencies, use the "North" slew and to lower them, of course, use the "South" slew. One click will raise or lower frequency by .10 Megahertz, unlike many American radios that tune FM by .20 increments on the odd fractional MHz. To go straight to the next strong station, press and hold the slew a bit longer. The East and West slews, respectively, raise or lower the volume. Within that hub or ring of slewing keys is found the "SELECT" button, which looks a great deal like and acts a great deal like the "FUNCTION" button on my point-and-shoot digital camera. Captain Picard would probably call it the "Make it so" command button. I suppose a digital Weather Alert radio with its many functions can never be totally intuitive, but this one is logical and inuitive enough to count as a plus for a digital idiot like me who dislikes having to memorize multi-step procedures. Weather functions take priority, but clock-radio functions are almost an afterthought and the most difficult to engage and use.
Overall, the CL-100 is working well for me. When you turn the radio on, it takes a couple of seconds for the volume to be audible, and a couple more to reach the full volume level you've set it for; this must be deliberate in its engineering (to avoid being blasted by inappropriately high volume on a different band, perhaps?). Weather-alert (NOAA) reception is fine; as I expected for our area (Chicago) it brings in Channel 7 quite clearly, another channel only fairly and one just barely enough to know the channel is occupied. (We get Lake Michigan marine forecasts mixed among the land forecasts, too, which can be fun.) I live in a broadcast-rich environment, with almost all FM frequencies occupied; ordinarily FM reception is no problem for me. In fact, on this unit I don't even need to raise the dipole. But FM selectivity has been a problem for me with earlier radios, even my receiver and an old World Band unit. On this the Sangean CL-100 excels: tuning to those little .10 MHz increments on either side of even a strong signal does not carry over or bleed. Also, I experienced no "birdies," a polite name for the screechy sounds that sometimes happen when a strong FM signal echoes with distortion at other, non-adjacent frequencies.
The AM feature, though, is perfunctory to the point of subpar. I don't get as many AM stations as I can in my car, or pull in distant stations as well (even with the unit near a window). I suggest if you like to listen to faraway AM stations due to ionospheric skip (at its most frequent during the cold, clear winter nights to come), such attempts at "DXing" probably won't work well in this model. Probably you'd do better with a radio that can handle shortwave as well as AM/FM, but then there'd be no Weather Alert.
Overall IMO, the Sangean CL-100 is well laid-out and is (relatively) easy to tune and program. The speaker is large for such a small one-speaker unit (it occupies most of the left side of the radio), and I don't particularly miss the stereo aspect because that speaker is mellow and rich, and handles (relatively) well the bass notes. In fact, it is my go-to radio for my favorite FM rock station, and I leave the unit plugged-in and on the coffee table.
Some pros and cons:
CONS: -- AM not worthy of this kind of unit.
-- Outside aerial is an extra-cost option, though available from Sangean or Amazon. I do not know whether the aftermarket antenna markedly improves AM reach and reception, but any improvement would be noticeable. Really, though, my tendency would be to apply the antenna's cost toward a different type of multiband radio with more powerful AM.
-- LCD display not backlit when radio is running off battery power (but is visible straight-on).
-- Not truly portable if you're hiking with it.
-- It makes a poor clock-radio. If you actually need another clock radio in the house, Amazon or the big-box retailers sell numerous models, many with dual alarms, many of them at $20 and under. Most of these have huge LED displays, another plus.
PROS: -- Raised-wedge LCD display is easy to see from different directions.
-- Occupies same or less space than typical base NOAA radios.
-- Transformer is included, 110 volts AC to 6 volts DC (400 milliamps).
-- Best FM selectivity I've ever witnessed in any radio.
-- It has S.A.M.E.
-- Good sound for a one-speaker model.
-- Not as frustrating as other Weather Radios I've encountered when programming.
-- Slew tuner can advance as litle as +/- .10 MHz, making European FM easy to tune if you spend time there.
-- A nicety, but the trap door leading to the AA battery compartment is both on a track AND hinged. Press and slide the hatch foward, then raise it.
-- This is more of an intangible, but this radio has a real quality feel to it. It is relatively heavy for its size, weight distribution is even, and the black plastic housing feels solid. There is nothing cheap or a feeling of hollowness or lopsidedness on the inside as often happens with cheaper console Weather Alert radios.
Because of the generous discount Amazon offers at this time, I was able to get the Sangean CL-100 for about the price of a drugstore, impulse-purchase weather radio. And I know it is less frustrating to use! Hopefully it will last longer, too. We'll see.
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
First I was most impressed with the very high quality of this product. The buttons have a very solid click to them and there is absolutely no wobble as this product rests very solidly on any table. Such quality is rare in most consumer electronics this day and age. I honestly get the impression that this thing could sit for 30 years somewhere doing its job like my grandfather's old radio --- only thoroughly modernized.
Setup of this device is very very simple with guided instruction and the round, up down, right left, center select button, clear buttons for weather clear LEDs for advisory's, alerts and warnings. I am very very impressed with this ease of use.
A couple of things:
A) included external antenna - this product comes with a very nice metal external antenna (in addition to the rabbit ear that you see pictured) that you can plug into the back and then place up to several feet away. This antenna gives very nice reception from our station which is a good 30 or 40 miles away (I do live on a two story house with a basement near the top of my hill though).
B) it has a battery backup (4 AA cells). If you lose power, the unit works in all respects on battery power including radio and weather radio - a nice plus. I don't think it's meant to run on batteries for extended periods of time but its very nice that its fully functional on battery power - very nice. It takes regular AA batteries and does not charge the batteries but it does have a battery health meter to let you know when to change them out.
If you're considering buying a weather radio, I honestly think this is the only real option on the market.
It also includes FM/AM. Clock Radio. Two alarms and the ability to turn off certain alerts that don't apply to you or that you might not be worried about (or want to be woken up over).
If you're on the market, you can't go wrong with this one.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2010
Who knew I could be excited over a clock radio. I really like this thing. Its dual-alarm function is great, requiring no action on my part to re-set the radio to wake me on the following morning, and lets me have weekday and weekend wake times. FM and AM, as well as VHF weather, reception is excellent in my area. The supplied external antenna is sitting in my window and works great. Sound quality is better than any other clock radio I've owned. AA-cell battery backup is handy. The user interface is intuitive, provides a lot of settings in the weather/hazard alert functionality of the unit, and is accomplished with robust-feeling buttons and switches.
The LCD is information-rich, and puts out a bit of light at night. If you need total darkness, you have the ability to turn it off.
I have no complaints whatsoever about this radio. It is an excellent product, with an obvious function-first design philosophy.