25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2012
SANGEAN WR-2 REVIEW
I'm going with 4 stars and that pains me, because I really like Sangean and I love this radio (and I'd have no qualms about buying it again). But a conscientious manufacturer knows this radio can be appreciably better. I don't understand why a manufacturer doesn't take note of some fairly simple changes that could make this product one for the ages.
My criticisms ARE outweighed by the many wonderful aspects of this machine. Buy it if you get tired of cheap junk.
1) Outstanding, really, really good FM reception if you use the included wire antenna (I just let the wire hang loose behind the bedside table it sits on. I get 25-30 FM stations in a city of 40,000 with only one other mid-sized town within 60 miles.
2) Excellent display light options for brightness. Four different levels, including off. I have no problem reading the time and display at night or day, even at the lowest settings. However, the lowest light setting is still a bit bright at night, but not a deal breaker.
3) Wonderful, rich sound. Do not at all be put off by the mono speaker. The sound is great and better than my stereo PR-D5 (an excellent Sangean with stereo). The volume max is perfect. You really cannot blow the speaker as the volume stops at level 60, so your kids won't ruin your radio. And the max volume of 60 (i.e., the volume goes from "0" to "60" on the LCD screen) is quite loud for a table radio. This machine sounds much larger than it actually is from about volume setting 25 through 60.
4) Great look (I got the piano black finish). Very classy. It reminds me of a piano, not a cheap plastic radio. This is what plastic should be.
5) Very substantial weight. Gives the impression of real quality. You can easily manipulate all buttons without pushing the radio around unintentionally.
6) It has a good treble and bass control. Very nice on such a radio.
7) It has a DC power input. That's just kind of cool.
8) MP3 auxillary input. One of the main reasons for my purchase. Common nowadays, but common on junk radios. This radio, despite my criticisms, is clearly great quality and worth the $120 we spent.
Switching to auxillary (complained of by some) is NOT complex. You push the band button for about 2-3 seconds and that's it.
1) AM reception is not so good. I was quite surprised by this. I have two other Sangeans (PR-D5 and the Lunchbox) and both have better AM reception. I compared the PR-D5 side-by-side with the WR-2 and there are channels that are fuzzy on both, but at least listenable on the PR-D5. But I do not recommend the PR-D5 over the WR-2 as a table top or bedside radio. The WR-2 is still the clear winner in that category.
2) The credit card remote is quite flimsy and you just know it won't last. The good part is you really don't need one for a bedside radio. Some might use it if it's in a more central location.
3) The difficulty in setting the alarm is just foolishly complex. Honestly, once you (memorize) how to do it, it's not that bad. But it's far, far from intuitive and just plain silly.
4) Some very mild backlighting would be quite useful for the buttons. If the room is dark it is pretty much impossible to operate the radio because you can't see the buttons at all.
5) For such great FM reception, you really do need more than 5 preset buttons. You have a radio that picks up (easily) 25-30 channels and you can only preset 5? Come on.
6) Both the volume and the tuning knobs should turn more freely. I understand some comments about the low-profile of the tuning knob, and I agree to an extent. But the knob is clearly designed so that you tune it by pressing a finger/thumb up against the face of the knob and spinning it. A neat and apparently solid design but not really an improvement over traditional knobs (though I like the knobs better than buttons). But I'd rather have the ability to really fly through the stations with a knob that spins very freely, like the knobs on the Lunchbox and PR-D5.
7) The volume spikes a little when you turn the radio on. It then reverts to the level you last had it had set at. It's not terrible, but unnecessary.
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2006
My boom box ran out of steam and I wanted to buy a small table top radio to listen to NPR. Originally I looked at the Trivoli (smart looking but didn't have a digital tuner), and the Boston Acoustics Radio Receptor at Target. Although the Trivoli looked very sharp and retro (which I loved), I later read several reviews that the manual tuner (non-digital) tended to drift off the radio signal. I then tried the Boston Acoustics (BA), and found that this radio sounded a bit richer and clearer than the Trivoli, however I didn't like the price ($150) and the look of it BA, which is all black plastic and doesn't have the classic retro charm of the Trivoli. The BA also brought in radio channels that the Trivoli wasn't picking up at the store through all the brick and metal of the Target building. Still uncomfortable with the BA's price, I went searching on the internet to find a cheaper BA, when I stumbled on the relatively unknown Sangean WR-1 (non digitial radio tuner) and the Sangean WR-2 (digital radio tuner with a clock radio AND a credit card sized remote control.) I ended up buying the Sangean WR-2 and am VERY PLEASED with my purchase. The radio is much more substantial in weight and size (about 50% bigger) than the Boston Acoustic and Trivoli radio. The WR-2 also looks very expensive and beautiful (yeah I loved superficial stuff like that) and has 6 presets (like in a car radio). But most importantly, I think this radio has a beautiful rich tone, an adjustable treble and bass, and radio presets, something that the other radio's didn't have. The Sangean is located next to my bed and looks absolutely stunning with its super shiny veneer box, and beautifully arranged controls. For $136 (which included shipping and handling), I am quite pleased with my purchase of this very handsome radio that has a rich and super clear tone (even though its not in stereo). I expect to enjoy my purchase for many more years to come and would high recommend anyone purchase the Sangean WR-2 radio.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2008
The Sangean WR-2 radio is basically what I wanted: a bedroom digital clock radio that would pick up the public station cleanly in a fringe area. As other reviewers have noted, the display on bright could be seen through welder's goggles, but it can be dimmed and turned off, which is my choice. (I have a digital clock handy for the time at night.)
There are two frustrating, disappointing things about this radio which drive me crazy. Each one cost a star in my rating. First, some propeller-head digital cowboy engineer must have designed the buttons and the logic program behind all the settings. They are TOO COMPLICATED. The buttons don't have intuitive names, have multiple functions, and whatever status comes into play when you push one only lasts long enough for you to consult the manual before it stops. That part is bad enough but what makes it worse are the wretchedly written instructions about how to use the buttons. I taught technical writing for twenty years, and most of my students could have done a better job of explaining this. (They could hardly have done worse.) The instructions make dealing with the already confusing buttons downright torture. I am not bad at working DVD recorders, computers, and the like, but you'd better be a flaming genius if you want to use this radio without driving yourself nuts. There's no excuse for this, and shame on the designers!
Full disclosure: I've had the radio two weeks, and set and changed the alarm time maybe five times. Each time it was like I was doing it the first time: trial and error, trial and error, cuss, trial and error, cuss, and so on. Maybe after I've had it three months, if I haven't smashed it with an umbrella, I'll be able to change the time quickly.
Oct. 7 Codicil: As I suspected, I can now change the time and alarm fairly efficiently, but no thanks to the manual or designer. My wife has a regular alarm clock for when I'm gone. She'll never figure this thing out. I still like the radio, though. C'mon, Sangean! Test your designs on normal people!
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2006
I wanted a simple alarm radio with good sound and MP3 input capability. All of my music is electronic (MP3), so no longer need CD player capability or tape deck. I was looking to replace a desktop stereo with something simple and compact.
I looked into the Tivoli Model 1, but when I saw a display model at Target I thought it looked cheap. The Sangean is much more solidly built, and has many other features that the Tivoli lacks. These include:
I also considered the Boston Acoustics Receptor, but again this did not seem as nice as the Sangean. The Boston is mostly plastic, with a more limited LCD display. The Sangean WR-2, by contrast, is made of wood and metal, and is very solid.
This Sangean is exactly what I was looking for. It is well-built and elegantly simply. Just a beautiful, elegant, high quality audio component. I will buy another one for work.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2008
I've become frustrated with the poor quality of radios in clock radios. We really enjoy listening to the news when we wake in the morning, and the poor sound quality and reception of the clock radios you'd find at Best Buy or Target makes them unacceptable choices.
Based upon the stellar reviews this Sangean radio received, I decided to give it a shot. And the radio doesn't disappoint! The reception is far better than any other clock radio I've had in recent years; the sound quality is amazing for everything from jazz to news.
The user interface for the alarm, however, is amazingly byzantine. The process of setting (and turning off) the alarm is so convoluted, I need to refer to the manual each time I change it. Setting the alarm, for example, requires that two different buttons be pressed in sequence, and for different lengths of time, before you set the time for the alarm! Turning off the alarm requires the same sequence, until you get the alarm icon blinking, which - after two seconds, disappears - indicating that the alarm is off. Bizarre.
The clock itself gets short shrift in the design. It's difficult to read from an angle (such as on the bedside table), and the clock isn't the default when the radio is on; you actually need to press the display button to bring up the clock. So, when you awake to the radio in the morning, the Sangean thinks you'd rather know what frequency you're on than what time it is.
I don't see enough critiques of this convoluted alarm process in these reviews. I imagine that may be due to the compelling quality and sound of the radio. It's fantastic! So, if you're planning on purchasing this clock radio principally as a radio, go for it! But, if you need the clock and alarm functions, you may want to look for another option.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2007
This is an exceptional radio. I could go on and on about the features, but other have done that already. This radio has great sound, a super sensitive and selective tuner and has RDS which displays on a large bright backlit LCD screen. If you live in an area with lots of FM stations, the selectivity is important.
It also works great with MP3 players , your computer's sound card and other external sources of audio. Although there is only one speaker, the radio does have stereo line output, and a stero headphone jack.
You can take the line out jack and plug into another amplifier, or pipe into a whole house audio system. I have done that on a couple of occaissions because the tuner in this radio is more sensitive than the cheap tuners built into most AV Recievers these days. ( Especially AM)
This radio also runs on 12V DC or on standard AC. This is good for emergencies. The radio will run about 6 mins after a power failure, then you need to power it with DC.
If you want a high quality radio with solid construction, this is it. It is a fairly heavy radio that won't slide of the nightstand or table top when you push a button on it. Or of course you can use the included remote control and never touch the radio.
Update - 09/2011 Still using this radio and it still sounds great. No problems since the original review. Just thought I would update the review as s testament to how reliable this product has been for me. In my original review I stated that I wanted to see an HD version of this radio, but that changed. I have an HD Tuner and the sound is not as good as Classic Analog FM Radio. I was really disappointed with HD radio performance. That being said, the WR-2 is a great radio, at least the one that I have is. I know sometimes manufacturers look for ways to cut cost over the life of a product. I don't know how the current production models stack up to the one I bought a few years ago, but mine is still going strong.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2007
I own a Boston Acoustics Recepter radio and think it's fantastic. I use the Recepter at my bedside and have no complaints about it. When I needed a new radio for my kitchen, I started with the Recepter as the base product and asked what other features I'd want. I came up with three: auxiliary input (which now is included in the Recepter); headphone jack; and remote control. That led me to the Sangean WR-2. I did not want to give up the digital tuner of the Recepter or the the strong tonal quality. The Sangean has those features, plus the additional three I wanted.
When the price dropped recently, I sprung for the Sangean WR-2 and I'm glad I did.
The tuner works very well on both AM and FM. The remote is simple to operate. The auxiliary input function works well with my iPod. The radio data display is a plus, as is the tone adjustment function. I know there have been complaints about the complexity of the alarm system. Since this unit is in my kitchen, it won't be a problem for me.
The sound quality is comparable to, perhaps not quite as good as, the Recepter's. The black case is beautiful and could be displayed in any room.
My only reservation is that the display is a little less elegant than I would like, but I'm sure I will adjust. This is an extremely well designed radio and I'd be hard-pressed to ask it to do anything it doesn't do. And I paid less than I would have paid for a new Recepter.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2007
The short story is, buy it, it's a great radio. Fully satisfied.
I wanted a high quality radio for use at work that would pull-in weak signals, sound good, look good, feature a digital tuner and the basic digital features that you find in a car radio. This radio performs on all levels.
Sound is great and fills the room nicely. Has internal porting for good bass. Also, the radio sounds great a extremely low volume (great feature for an office environment).
Radio has 5 presets for AM and 5 presets for FM. 10 would be better for FM, but this is a minor complaint.
No option for a second speaker for stereo speaker output. If you use headphones, the stereo sound is great.
If you're going to use this as a clock radio on your night table, a couple of drawbacks:
- Setting the clock radio alarm is an absolute nightmare, it can't be done intuitively - you need the manual, and you need to go thru it a few times before you learn how to do it.
- BRIGHT blue power-on light is annoying.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2007
What can I say that others have not?
The good: a weighty, seemingly very well-made clock radio with a wood, piano finish, case and a nice machined-metal face (all black, no orange ring as in the photo). The other optional finishes look equally good. The time/station back-light can be set to bright, medium, low, or none and you can use one setting for clock mode and a different setting for radio mode if you want (I especially like how you can set the clock to be dark at night but to wake you with a light when the alarm goes off). A light button allows you to easily change the light setting. The radio has a very good snooze (hit any button to activate it) and the unit will wake you to either music or an alarm, both starting out quiet and then getting progressively louder if you ignore it. After you turn off the alarm, it automatically resets itself to go off at the same time the next morning, so you never have to remember to turn on your alarm at night.
The indifferent: the unit is the size of a lunchbox and comes with a remote control.
The bad: the unit only shows you the time when the radio is not playing. So, when the alarm goes off and wakes you with music, you can only see the station playing, not the time. This makes it very hard to tell if you have time to hit the snooze again. Also, there is no easy way to set or disable the alarm: you have to press a complicated pattern of at least 4 buttons to do either. And while the unit has the best brightness controls of any clock radio I have seen, it would have been even better if the brightness control had been a dial that let you choose the exact brightness between none and bright and did not just force you to choose between 4 settings, 3 of which (low, medium, and bright) are really too bright to have on at night and one of which (off) is too dark.
Conclusion: this is a very well designed clock radio with some major flaws. The flaws are so big, and so nonsensical for a clock radio--that most people probably buy for its clock and radio alarm functions and not for its pure radio functions--that I suspect that the unit was designed by a very good designer but that his or her design was screwed up by some moron in charge right before production started. So, all in all, if you can live with its flaws, this is a very good product. I would buy it again given that, even with its flaws, it seems better than its competition. But I really wish that Sangean would put their brains back into their heads and fix these--presumably simple to fix--flaws.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2006
I'm an electronics nut and I love my radios. Recently I've owned the Bose Wave Radio CD, Sony ICF-M1000, Tivoli Model Two with Subwoofer and now this Sangean WR-2. I loved the Bose for many of it's features but the tuner wasn't as good as it should have been for a radio in this price bracket. Next I tried the Tivoli and although it sounded much better than any of these other radio's bar none it too had a terrible tuner. It required constant re-tuning every few minutes. I wish it had come with a digital tuner that wouldn't drift because I would have kept it. I then bought the Sony ICF-M1000 and although it has a superb tuner it lacks important features such as memory presets and a remote control. Unhappy with the Sony I decided to try the Sangean. All I can say is WOW! This radio has all the features that I've been looking for. It's very attractive and the sound quality is fantastic. I had to adjust the bass of the radio because it was a little "boomy" but once I had that set I was in heaven. The tuner picks up the weakest stations with ease and the LCD display is clear and concise. It also display's the song title and artist. This radio even has the ability to display traffic information. The remote control is the size of a credit card and it's a full function remote. To sum it all up, get this radio. You will be amazed by the sound and with all the features it can't be beat. NONE of the other radios that I have owned has offered as much value for the money and sounded this good and remained in the sub $150.00 price range.