Customer Reviews

2,110
4.4 out of 5 stars
Sony ICF38 Portable AM/FM Radio (Black)
Price:$26.00 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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1,193 of 1,201 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2009
I'm a big time radio guy, and have used many models over the years. There are two things that really make any radio stand out, and this one has both of them.
The ICF-38 is an excellent performer as far as reception of both AM and FM signals go. Weak signal pick up on both bands is markedly better here than with almost all small portable radios I've used, and even more importantly, selectivity (ability to seperate stations cleanly) is better as well. The tone switch (which some radios don't even have) cuts the treble when desired, if you want a less harsh sounding AM signal. The dial has no clock or light, but an LED for indicating if a station is tuned in. Battery life is excellent if alkalines are used (it takes 4 AA batteries). Output volume is listed as 4 watts, quite loud for a radio of this size, with little distortion at top level.
The other ingredient for a good radio is ease of use and a well thought out design. There are little things here which most people won't notice that actually make this radio a joy to use. Many radios today that run off both internal batteries and AC require a seperate wall-wart that plugs into the radio and the outlet, but the ICF-38 has the power cord built in so you won't have to search for it when needed. Also, the battery cover is hinged, which is great as battery covers can disappear as easily as wall-warts (and you can't just go to Wal-mart to buy a new battery cover). The carry handle flips up when needed, and there is an indentation in the cabinet which allows you to slip in a finger to raise it easily, and you'll find out how nice this is when your hands are full and you need to bring the radio with you as well. Both slide switches for band selection and power have a raised bump in the middle which makes it easier to change bands or turn it on. Finally, The shape makes it easy to place in most locations and it is very stable, making it unlikely to get knocked over.
If there were no markings on this radio to indicate the manufacturer, I would have easily guessed that it was a Sony product. It has the great performance and clever design that I associate with Sony.
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284 of 290 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2008
Just what I was looking for--a quality desktop radio with nothing fancy-- just a radio. The sound quality is very good and the reception is excellent with a telescoping adjustable attenna. Great value for the price.
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208 of 215 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2009
Verified Purchase
Having been a radio nut for years, and using this radio for about five months now, this review is not given casually. Probably could stock my own radio store.

If you're looking for a basic AM/FM portable radio with excellent reception, sound, portability, quality and brand, you've come to the right place. And there's even a Tone High/Low switch which gives a nice variety of sound choices.

Rather than going into the specifics of the antenna, carry handle, aesthetic appeal, speaker size and quality, functionality of the knobs, battery life, suffice it to say, for $25 you can't go wrong! Try it - you'll like it.
(and no, I'm not a Sony nor Amazon representative)
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320 of 335 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2008
Verified Purchase
This radio brings in distant stations, sounds good, and takes up little space. The controls are easy for me to use. These were the qualities I was looking for so I am pleased I made the choice to buy Sony ICF38.
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109 of 112 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2012
Verified Purchase
I wanted a small, simple, inexpensive radio for kitchen use. The Sony ICF38 is well made, can use either an AC cord that stows in the back of the radio, or 4-AA batteries.

Styling is simple and clean, with clear, solid controls. Sound quality is very good for such a small radio. Very happy with the radio to this point.
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151 of 159 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2008
I just recently purchased this gem for use in my office & garage & my first impressions are as follows:

-Decent sound quality

-Reception is very good,actually better than a few portables I own that
cost much more.

-Very easy to use,you don't even need a manual.

This radio is a throw back to the 70's,no bells and whistles
just a tone control for music & talk. What impressed me the
most is the ease of picking up on AM lower powered stations
over 100 miles in the day time. For giggles & grins, I used a
'Select A Tenna' antenna in the night time & this unit turned
into a serious DX,ing machine! . In a nushell, for the money you
can't go wrong.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2008
Verified Purchase
batteries run forever. this is replacing the older version of this model which had the tv band and emergency weather, never the less this one works great I use this for the yard and beach and it is also fairly sturdy.
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126 of 135 people found the following review helpful
This radio has great sound and bring in the stations clearly especially when I use it on the beach.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2011
Verified Purchase
First off, what it isn't. It is not a killer high end state of the art sound system. It's not even stereo. The only sound control (other than volume) is a simple tone switch. And it's either high or low. No fancy equalization, bass, treble, mid,or any other control.
Now, what it is. A throughly competent portable radio. I've owned it over a year now, and can find no real "flaws" about it. I have a primitive, remote cabin in northern Michigan, no electricity, and was looking for some kind of portable with decent sound, reception, and battery life. I simply could not be happier!
First, the tone switch. I was concerned that I wouldn't be happy with it. But then, all I wanted was basic radio, so I took the chance. Turns out, it's just fine. There isn't much difference between the sound on either setting, but... turns out it's very life-like! Obviously you're not going to get Earth shaking bass from this radio, but the actual sound quality is first rate. Crystal clear, crisp, and sharp.
The reception is top notch. I don't know about the AM band because there are NO AM stations in the area. Can't even get one on the car stereo. But the FM is excellent.
The little red "tuning" LED is pretty much useless. It only works on strong signals, but I never pay attention to it anyway. Just tune it till it sounds right. Note: Stations do NOT drift.
Rugged? Mine fell off a 3 foot table onto a concrete floor. It was on at the time and immediately quit working. After a few minutes, I thought to check the batteries and found one dislodged. Popped it back in place, and good as new.
Battery life? I can't tell you how long a set of AA's last. I'm still on the FIRST set! Over a year now. I get up to the cabin for 4-5 days at a time and went 5 or 6 times last year.. twice this year. It's on most of the time I'm up there, and I kid you not, still on the first set! Granted they were Duracell top of the line.
Bottom line? I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. I had high expectations after reading the reviews, but this far exceeded them. Can you tell I like it?
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2013
Verified Purchase
First, this is the Sony ICF-38 which is available for $10.00 less elsewhere on Amazon. It is a nice looking smallish radio and seems well built with the basic features you might need. It did not work for me however as the reception in the lower end of the FM dial was plagued by reflections of stronger stations higher on the dial and I could not receive the station I was looking for at 88.1. We have an old GE model 7-26600 portable that gets better reception with a partially broken antenna. Maybe FM is just not important to radio makers anymore - seems like most newer portables have this problem, unless it's a car radio. I am going to try a more expensive Sangean or Crane model next.
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