Customer Reviews: Kaito KA200 Pocket AM/FM Radio, Black
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Color: Black|Change
Price:$12.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on July 31, 2012
After reading a review in a well respected shortwave internet site on the best AM/FM pocket radios - I decided to write this review. The radios tested on the internet site were the Sony, Panasonic, Radio Shack and Kaito current pocket radios. This test concluded that the Radio Shack catalog number 12-467 was the best. Since I own this radio and I also own the Kaito KA 200, I did my own review below:

Portability: Kaito is about 1/3 the size of the Radio Shack. The purpose of pocket radios is to fit easily in your shirt and pants pocket. The Kaito fits easily and the Radio Shack does not.

Sound: The Radio Shack has a larger speaker and can easily fill a room with sound - but the sound is somewhat muffled and the volume control is not linear (so that the range of lower volumes for bed time use etc. is more difficult to obtain). The Kaito is not as robust in sound volume but the sound is much cleaner and with more natural detail. The Kaito volume control is very smooth and will easily go through a linear range at both low and high volume. Note: these are personel radios and if you are using them as such - the Kaito wins this category.

Earphones: Both radios accept left and right earphones. Many other pocket radios just have a mono (only one ear has sound) output. Again, sound of Kaito is clear and detailed -the Radio Shack is robust but a bit muffled.

Tuner: The Kaito has a tuning light that identifies the best reception. The Radio Shack does not and is a little vague to tune.

Overall - If you want a pocket radio the Kaito is perfect. If you just want a radio to fill a room with sound the Radio Shack will produce higher volume.
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on December 5, 2010
I was looking for a small pocket radio for pocket change. This is that radio. For the change I paid, I am happy it did not have any bells and whistles (it doesnt even come with an earphone, flimsy cover or crappy demo batteries). Every penny seems to have gone into the core components and it does an excellent job of catching am and fm waves and converting them to audio. Recommended if you are looking for a small, cheap, utilitarian am/fm radio.
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on September 21, 2010
This radio is impossibly small and has unexpectly good sound through the external speaker. I bought it only for external listening but I can say that the earphone is compatible with stereo headphones--that is to say that it plays monaural audio through both earphone channels.

The AM reception is superb. I don't know how they did it in such a small package; perhaps they used their experience with shortware receivers in this radio. Very sensitive FM reception but it has a touch too much resistance for fine tuning. On the other hand, the volume knob needs much more resistance because I found myself accidentally muting or blasting the audio. It also has a rather fragile FM antenna that does not swivel or sweep at all--you bend it, you break it.

At this size it's a good compromise. The FM is nothing to write home about but the AM reception is just incredible for such a tiny radio.
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This is a very small radio - smaller than your average clamshell cell phone. It's nicely rounded and feels great in the hand. It looks pretty sharp for what it is - an analog AM/FM radio. For an outdated thing like that it looks appropriately retro, although I think they were going for the more no-nonsense design. In fact, the whole thing is no-nonsense.

The speaker sounds decent, there's only one switch (Off/AM/FM), a telescoping antenna, a battery compartment (two AAA), and a headphone jack. There's no clock, no snooze, no strap, no bass-boost, sound does come out of both earphones - but it's mono... you get the point.

The ONE fancy thing is the green "tune" light that fades up and down depending on signal strength/tuning. The tuning dial itself is on the side and tiny, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in tightness, and making tiny adjustments is very easy. The AM antenna is internal so you improve the already good reception by rotating the unit.

It's $12, and it's a solid little radio. It's not a POS COBY or something, and you're getting what you pay for, and you're paying only for the radio. I got this strictly for the summer for ball games at the beach or the stadium - beats paying 5x as much for the MLB package on the phone and then searching around for 3G or WiFi all the time.

Good so far, and if you've read all this it's probably exactly what you're looking for too.
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on May 22, 2013
After reading the occasional bad reviews here we ordered three of these KA200's and made a 'QC study'. And sure enough we received two gems and one lemon. The two gems are great. The one lemon had poor reception - compared using same stations - medium signal strength.
But the two gems are special. Great reception and audio quality. Kaito radios have an audio clarity and projection which are really good for talk radio. The spoken word is easy to understand. Even at low volume you hear voices clearly. This crisp sound quality may be addictive. After listening with these, some other radios may sound muddled. We have three other Kaito models - the KA11 and KA123 and KA210. These other models also have good crisp audio. There may be something special about Kaito speakers, or maybe the audio circuitry. This KA200 is small and light - see mugshot lineup photos above. Hardly noticeable in shirt pocket. Great for walks - the sharp audio quality cuts through background noise like wind or traffic. Would be nice if it had connection for wrist-strap. Maybe can be added.
Weight: 2.3 ounces - (without batteries)
Dimensions: 3.6 x 2.2 x 0.8 inches
FM Antenna: extends to 7.0 inches

* Optional Carry Case - This HDE Neoprene Case is a great fit for this KA200
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on February 21, 2013
I own the Sony ICF-S10MK2 and also bought the Kaito KA200 because of it's smaller size. After listening to both, I have to say the Sony is the winner in almost every department. The Kaito beats the Sony only in size, and the fact that it takes two AAA batteries instead of two AA.

In NYC, the Sony receives more stations, tunes more precisely, and plays louder before its speaker distorts. The sound of the Kaito is harsher and can be hard on your ears. Unlike the Sony, the volume control is not ganged to the on/off switch but is inconveniently located on top of the radio, making it a two step process. The tuning dial is considerably stiffer than the Sony, and requires a bit more patience to tune "dead center" without overshooting your mark.

Nevertheless, the Kaito is still an OK radio and has its place, especially when traveling. However, it can't beat the Sony in overall performance. Not to mention, you can usually purchase the Sony at a cheaper price, although that would be my last consideration. If size is not important, my recommendation is to go Sony!
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on January 12, 2012
ok i just bumped it back up a star... after living with this radio maybe a year i bought a second to leave in my work bag. the size rocks!

This radio is pretty neat.

It is very small - which makes it nice to pack away in a backpack. It does not require any special batteries - just standard AAA's.

Tone quality of the small speaker is impressive and clear.

On assessing reception I'll break it into the four components: sensitivity, selectivity, noise rejection, and stability (or drift)

Sensitivity refers to the ability of the unit to detect and receive weak signals.
This unit is highly sensitive - far more sensitive than any portable radio I have. I was pulling in distant stations on AM during the day, enough so it clearly impressed me.
(I have a Sony handheld radio that doesn't come close to this.) A++ for sensitivity.

Selectivity refers to the ability of the unit to select one station out of a jumble of close stations. Again this unit is impressive for its size, especially for a dial-tuned non-digital system.
Interestingly, it does this without sacrificing audio quality. Again, A+ for selectivity.

Noise rejection is the ability of the unit to pick a single off the background noise. I'm cheating here because this is really related to sensitivity. I did this because I wanted to mention the unit is pretty clean in its own right. Being analog it is "cleaner" reception than a digital tuner. Digital tuners can introduce noise of their own - this one is quite clean.

Stability - or drift - refers to the ability of the unit to stay put on a signal. Here is the weakness of this unit. If you tune in a signal you can get it in clearly (as above - great selectivity and sensitivity pull in these stations) but after a couple of minutes you find the unit drifting off to another station. The noise rejection is such that it might do this without you even noticing! You then have go and re-tune in the initial station.

I'd love to hear if others have the same problem or if its unit specific. I was going to buy another unit to test this, but the price went up so I hesitated.

I love this unit, but I'm torn between a 3 and 4 on the rating because of the drift issue.
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on June 7, 2013
What a nice radio for $12. The Kaito KA200 is very compact, at 3-1/5" tall and 2-1/8" wide, and is only 3/4" thick. It can fit in an Altoids tin. It's a hair smaller than a deck of cards. It will fit in any cell phone case. It's small!

The Kaito is powered by two AAA batteries, and I get about 30 hours of constant use out of a set of Rayovac alkalines. The non-removable battery door is handy, as is the little strap that goes underneath the batteries for a quick pull to remove them.

Looking at the face of the radio, the left side has the antenna and Off / AM / FM slider. The antenna is for FM, and telescopes right out of the top. It can't be swiveled or turned though. Fully extended, it's about 18" long. A headphone jack is attached to the top, and it will play monoaural sound through both ears if you use stereo headphones. FM radio comes in nice and clear, which I didn't expect for such a small radio.
The right side of the radio has the Volume dial (on the top) and the Tuning dial. A ferrite antenna is built in to the top of the radio for AM listening. The Volume and Tuning dials both rotate easy enough to be useful, but not too stiff. It's easy to find a channel. Since the Volume and Tuning are separate from the Off / AM / FM slider, it's easy to leave it on the channel you want. Kaito lists the KA200 as having AM coverage to 1710KHz, but that's not the case: mine tops out at 1665KHz and the dial is marked to "16". AM reception was okay. I don't listen to AM very much, but if you do, be advised that the tuning goes in and out.
The little "Tune" LED lights up when you have a strong signal, but it does nothing to tell you how clear that signal is.

In all, I like the KA200. The compact size is really nice, and the performance is nothing to complain about at this cost. Remember that this is a radio that is the size of a deck of cards, yet it performs better than some radios two or three times the size (and cost).
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on April 29, 2012
Recently purchased both radios. Both are good. The Kaito is roughly half the physical volume of the Sony. I think the Sony's speaker is slightly better. Both sound great with headphones. The reception *may* be slightly better on the Sony. Both pull in more stations than my home stereo.

I will likely have the Kaito in my backpacking kit or bug-out bag. The Sony will be in the car and house for emergencies. I will take the Sony out on picnics where there aren't space or weight constraints.

Both are good radios. Can't go wrong with either one. If size and weight are the primary concern, go for the Kaito. It really is pocketable. I think the Sony is the slightly better radio.
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on July 26, 2012
I bought this KA200 radio because the reviews were very good and the price was extraordinary, $9.00 and change. today after owning this radio for several months I have an experience I would have believed was not possible. I had my radio in my pocket playing away, I bent over to pet my dog and the radio fell from my pocket into the waster bowl. It took me several seconds to get it out of the water as it was completely submerged and had water in it. It took me a second of so to turn off the radio and several seconds more to pull the batteries from the radio. I was sure it was ruined, but I put it on a window ledge in the sun and left it there for the day with the battery compartment door open. Later I put new batteries in it and it is at my side playing just fine. I have owned more than a couple pocket radios over the years and dropped a few of then into water, clumsy I guess. None of them survived the bath. I am ordering several more of these radios for my kids and grandkids. I hope they avoid the water submersion test I gave mine.

I gave this radio a full five stars, because this one plays better the Sony and Panasonic AM/FM pocket radios I have. It plays longer on the two AAA batteries it requires than the Sony or the Panasonic play on the two AA batteries they require. It is easier to tune to a station than the sony or the Panasonic and it fits into the pocket of any shirt I own. The sound is fine for music or spoken words. I have an iPad and Koss earphones, not buds, when I want to listen to Elton John or Pink Floyd.
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