Customer Review

273 of 284 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nicely improved version of the Sangean DT-200VX, July 27, 2008
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This review is from: Sangean DT-400W AM/FM Digital Weather Alert Pocket Radio (Electronics)
This is a fine radio with very nice improvements starting from its predecessor, the Sangean DT-200VX. It is a very light and small portable radio with very good battery life that can be taken almost everywhere for full as well as easy listening capabilities.

PROS:

1) It has quite good reception on all bands (AM/FM and Weatherband). Now it also has excellent and almost completely static-free reception on all 7 US frequency channels of the standard NOAA weather-band. In addition, this radio also has the official NOAA weather alert detection capability to signal the user of impending weather disasters as well as other problematic situations such as child abductions, flash floods, earthquakes, etc. However, this NOAA alert capability is NOT the latest S.A.M.E. technology (Specific Area Message Encoding) that is available on some other table top units that can give a county by county area warning to individual users. Like its predecessor, this radio also has a monaural/stereo switch (bandwidth control) for FM listening improvement, but there is no RF (radio frequency) DX gain switch on the DT-400W as there is on the new Sony SRF-37W for example, but see Con below.

2) It has a very big and easy to read display with a battery level indicator, a lock display indicator, a 90 minute shutoff capability (that can be disabled during each listening session if needed) with an on-screen indicator, etc. It also has a clock and a backlit display, but see Con below.

3) There is a very nice arrangement (called My Favorites) for as many as 19 presets for any band in any order with simple retrieval of all presets, but only in order from the first one designated to the 19th one in a logical progression (it won't go backwards to find the previous preset for example).

4) Its deep bass boost is a very nice feature.

5) Automatic scanning capability and seeking capability, but see Con below.

6) It also has a nice and easily removable belt clip for wearing the unit for jogging or walking.

CONS:

1) Backlight cannot be turned off even in daytime and even in bright sunshine conditions. It is apparently an LED (light emitting diode) with an extremely low power drain, but it seems very illogical to me that it can't be overridden when it isn't needed at all. Apparently, it is actually only on briefly while tuning the radio and then it shuts itself off after a short time, but to not be able to disable it entirely when it is not needed seems absolutely counterintuitive to me.

2) It is certainly well built with a fully attached battery compartment door (requiring two AA batteries), but it is not as rugged as the Sony SRF-37W for example (and the latter only requires 1 AAA battery). Of course the reception and acoustics are better overall on the DT-400W so get a good case (like the Sakar International HS-10, a small hard shell case which it fits like a glove).

3) A 90 day limited warranty from Sangean America is way too short given that even the Sony SRF-M37W has a 1 year limited warranty (see my review of the SRF-M37W and also its product manual for details).

4) During automatic scanning/seeking, the audio is muted so you can't hear any stations as they are detected. Only the strongest stations are picked up during the scanning/seeking process. Of course during manual scanning the individual stations are easily heard so that you can readily pick the station you want to listen to.

5) Sangean chose to put the speaker controls on the same slide switch along with the Stereo/Mono (bandwidth) changing capability. In my opinion the arrangement was better on the DT-200V with a simple and direct push button Stereo/Mono switch on the front of the radio and not on the side with one other commonly used function.

6) As also discussed by others, you must connect the short trailing wire (that is supplied by Sangean) or else connect a set of supplied earbuds (or a more comfortable set of headphones- see below) in order to receive any FM or Weather-band transmissions at all- including the weather alert transmissions.

7) The supplied earbuds are very uncomfortable and could also be quite dangerous given the volume output that this unit is capable of with 2 AA batteries.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 30, 2008 11:08:25 AM PDT
Tom Welch says:
I don't understand why the short trailing wire is an issue when many Sangean pocket portables also share this feature. For me, the short trailing wire adds to the flexibility when listening to this radio in real life. I own and use both the Sangean DT 200VX and the new DT 400WX.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2008 4:32:06 PM PDT
Tom- I would personally prefer a small telescopic antenna attached to the outside of the left edge of the unit (as you face the speaker) instead of the trailing wire. A similar antenna is attached to the Grundig G6 Aviator for example (which is also quite small like the DT-400W) and I find it very useful.

Best Regards,

Ann ReVelle

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2008 4:53:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2008 4:56:37 PM PDT
Tom Welch says:
Ann:

Is the DT-400W a "performance upgrade" over the DT-200VX pocket radio? Other than the NOAA band.

Tom Welch

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2008 2:17:29 AM PDT
Tom- Having owned the DT-200VX as well, I can readily say that the DT-400W on am and on fm is NOT a performance upgrade.

Ann ReVelle

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2009 4:48:15 PM PDT
IMO, the benefit of the trailing wire over a telescopic antenna attach to the unit is that telescopic antennas are NOTORIOUS for bending and/or breaking. It seems that sooner or later MOST people bend or break a metallic, telescopic antenna attached to portable radio. A wire simply doesn't have that issue; however, it can be lost. Also with a trailing wire, you won't poke your friend in the eye when you move the radio like you might with a telescopic antenna...LOL!

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 11:48:57 AM PDT
One correction to an otherwise helpful review. Reviewer states:

"3) There is a very nice arrangement (called My Favorites) for as many as 19 presets for any band in any order with simple retrieval of all presets, but only in order from the first one designated to the 19th one in a logical progression (it won't go backwards to find the previous preset for example). "

Oh, but it does go backwards. You have an up button and a down button, and you can go up or down through the 19 or fewer presets with these buttons.

Really liking the device.

Posted on Aug 8, 2010 6:40:44 PM PDT
Petro says:
"Apparently, it is actually only on briefly while tuning the radio and then it shuts itself off after a short time, but to not be able to disable it entirely when it is not needed seems absolutely counterintuitive to me."

From a systems engineering perspective a "firmware switch" is going to cause less problem (mean fail less often) than a "hardware" switch.

Your switch would either be an "on/off" switch, or a "enable auto light/disable auto light". If it was the former then the net effect would be MORE power drain, while if it was the latter it would be very confusing to most people. In both cases you'd get more breakage than without the switch.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2011 8:06:13 PM PDT
Also, don't forget from a systems prospective, if you had an auto light feature, a photocell would have to be included in the circuitry which means more components, more power drain, possibly shorter battery life. The engineers for this radio probably figured that the power required to do the momentary back lighting was less than what would be required to include and auto light sensing circuit.

I have had radios where you had to press a button for the back light. Problem was, in situations where you needed the back light, you sometimes could not find the button to activate the back light and many times you had to continue holding the button until you tuned the station, requiring both hands.

Personally, I like the way this one functions. Press the tuning button, the light comes on, tune your station, release the buttons , and the light goes off in just a few seconds . Very simple

Posted on Jul 5, 2013 1:46:30 PM PDT
ace says:
Very helpful review. In the market for a radio something this. Tough to decide on a limited budget.
Thanks,
George
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