on February 18, 2017
I've used this now for about a week and absolutelty love it. I see this radio is now 19.97$, I got it a week ago at 18.74$ Feb 11, 2017...mmhh is Amazon jacking the price thinking I'll buy another ?
Anyway I look over all the radios in this price range, some reviews say great and some say bad and I beleive them both. Your reception depends upon your location (like on flat plains or in mountain/hill areas) like where live. So its hard to tell from the reviewers "will the radio work well for me in my area". I wanted a radio in this price range, give or take a few bucks. I just wanted a radio to listen to AM talk radio while working out in the back yard or talking a walk, listening to FM rack was also on my list. Not know how well any of these may work in my area, I did a search for Sangean SR-35 and of course got hits for amazon reviews, then found a youtube reviewer.
This reviewer is a radio enthusiast and bought just about all the pocket radios and other larger radios from amazon and did a side by side review of each from the same location at the same time. Now that still doesn't answer the question how well will this work in my area, but it certainly answers the question, how good is the AM and FM reception between each other under the same conditions. He starts with a physical go over of features, then slowly runs it up and down the AM and FM bands, counting how many stations come in on each band for each radio, again at the same time (give or take and hour) and same exact location, so it is truly an oranges vs oranges comparison, he also reviews how well it does if you are walking with it or taking it for a bike ride (how well does it keep lock). Search youtube for "bigslick radio" bigslick is one word, if you make it 2 you will get something completely different.
To keep this short, I was looking at the Panasonic FR P50 @ 16.95, the Sangean SR35 @19.74 (lthough a week ago I got it 1.20 cheaper) and the Sony ICPF26 @ 19.75 ( a week ago this was 21.75 or so, I remember clearly just a nitch under 22$ which I thought was to high but still considered)
The Panasoinc per the youtube review showed pretty showdy physical case and a pretty short antenna about 13 in, the sony and Sangean had 17 inch, it also had no clip on the case to lock it in place when folded down and turned against the case so its pretty easy to break the antenna and I read alot of reviewers who said they broke the antenna. It also came in the lowest in picking up AM and FM stations and had poor ability to keep station in tune when moving, but it is in expensive and if you are just sitting there, its probably just fine. One other thing, it has an integrated on/off/volume switch, the others have separate switches/controls. Dont mean to trash Panasonic just stating facts.
The Sony ICPF26 watched this next, case it very nice as you would expect from Sony, ling 17 inch antenna, large speaker, but the Sangean is a bit larger, it had near double the AM and FM stations that the Panasonic did, the only negative is this thing is a boat, at like 1.3 - 1.5 thick its like a computer har drive, I did not like that and you should consider that the most. Also reception while moving was very good.
The Sangean SR-35, Case is beautiful and sturdy, I already dropped it 3 feet onto rock, continued to play like nothing happened, integrated on/off and volume control, some dont like this so they can have volume at same level when turned back on, as if your volume wheel wont move after you put it down or pick it up and fiddle with it, I dont see this as a problem, just one less thing to break. It has a nice large tuner wheel, the larger the better as it helps you tune the station in, a smaller wheel makes it much harder. His side by side comparison had this pull in a few less AM stations than the Sony but just a few like 3 or 4 out of 23-25, but it beat the Sony hands down in AM reception, I can remember the number but it was 5 or more. Plus it has a 17 inch antenna and it has a really nice swivel on it and a locking tab at the bottom of the case to keep it secured. This is quite a bit slimier than the sony, like you would expect from a packet radio, height and width about the same or smaller.
My own review of the Sangean SR-35 Gald I bought it, love it. Again its light and far far thinner than the sony, nice rounded edges on sides, its speaker is just a bit bigger and it is very very very high quality speaker, I tuned into an FM rock station and had volume maybe halfway up or less and could hear it 100 feet away with nice clear sound, I was really shocked, I thought the speaker would not be this good, but it is. I live in Morgan Hill, Ca. its a small town in a small valley surrounded by mountains and I can pick up tons of AM and FM stations from San Jose and Monterrey, I also get the station I really wanted 560 KSFO talk radio on AM 5000 watts, that comes from San Francisco 60 miles north of my as the bird flies and blocked by many mountains and my shielded valley, and it the Sangean picks it up great. If that is not enough I can get AM 580 from Fresno, Ca. which is 109 miles away and we are separated by the Hayward Fault mountain range and my house is about 150 yards away from the edge of this mountain range, I'm backed right up to it !!
The batteries are lasting for ever, I've had it running for 8 hours a day for the last 5 days and one day I had the volume all the way down but did not turn it off. Battery life will be excellent for any of the old time transistor radios that you get, they will last for weeks or longer while digital radios will die quickly. Plus you use 2 AA batteries for this. I did not want a radio with integrated battery as you can't recharge (or at least easily recharge) when your out hiking or in a ark and the battery dies.
Even with the Sony price dropped more than 2$ and the Sangean raised by 1.25 this past week, I would still buy the Sangean, the Sony is a boat which is why maybe its price was reduced, see it in bigslicks youtube video, he points it out, much bigger impact when you actually see it. And side by side this had better AM reception. Amazon did have the Sony listed as Amazons choice and with all respect to Amazon I think that means they get a better deal through Sony, than it actually being about any quality or operational features, I know they will "buy this back from you" but it is literally pennies on the dollar, guess that is why it is their choice. I don't know why they changed the prices but usually if you put something in your cart and then in the save for later category you will see in a few days or a week a message about price drop in your cart or write Amazon and ask why did they suddenly raise the Sangean by a 1.25
There are draw back to these old type transistor radios, after you tune it in, it can fade out a bit if you turn its direction, because you are changing the direction of the antenna, also as you may take a walk the signal may need adjustment, but I walk everyday for about 2.5 miles and it locks pretty good the whole way, but its not without a few adjustments here and there. The digital radio have phase lock loops that compensate for frequency drift, these dont. These radio are aslo subject to background static noise, but who cares.
I just wanted a simple radio to listen to while I garden or walk and its really a nice feeling to have a reminder of your childhood. Wow back then we were more than happy to have a small pocket radio all the rage back then for a few bucks. Today you cant get along without spending 500$ every few months to upgrade your phone and 100-250$ months for your families monthly bill, so you can type messages on a phone that was meant for talking on and so it can tell you how to do everything in your life while spying on everything you do in your life, because you have become so dependent on google, Microsoft and many others to tell you how find and do simple things ( In my days we did research, today the nation does "asking") or how to get to locations you should now how to because you have never looked at a map and like most high school kids these days can't even name 20% of the names of states in the US or even know where they are, dont even know where countries in the world are, actually there is very little they do know.
Well to much ranting, I think things were better when they were simpler, this radio is simple and will give you an eternal amount of joy and good tunes.