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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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on July 14, 2012
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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on March 2, 2016
Vwry rich sound, good FM sensitivity. High-low tone switch useful for news or music. Mainly, really clean sound out of such an inexpensive radio. I like the old-fashioned simple analog knob and dial for tuning as I can zoom through the statios quickly to find what I want. I use batteries so far and they have lasted a few months with intermittent use. My son has one and recommended it, though he uses his very often and opted to use the included AC adator. Yes, I also own many other mp3 devices and high- and midrange- bluetooth speakers, but sometimes you just want "a radio".
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on July 27, 2013
This is one of four Sony Radios I recently purchased. I wanted a whole bunch of radios for each room in my home, one in my shed, my Travel Trailer and one to keep in my JEEP. All the Sony radios are perfect. Just the kind of quality I would expect from Sony.

What sets this radio apart from the others is it's large speaker, among other things. After purchasing all the Radios this one is only one of my favorites. The radio accepts 4 'AA' cell sized batteries which has kept my radio playing for well over 2 weeks. I use the radio for about 2~3 hours per day. I don't use the AC corded power very much but it's nice to have that extra capability.

The large speaker is what makes this rig beautiful, though. It has a full rich bass sound with ample mid-range and very sufficient treble. Compared to other radios with a single speaker (not including boom boxes) the sound from this Sony is almost High-Fidelity. There is a tone switch on the side of the radio which helps reduce the level of noise during AM reception. I prefer the bass tone rather then the treble tone but regardless of how you have the switch set the radio still sounds really good in either position.

I like that there is a large tuning knob which makes for easy, accurate and dead-on fine tuning. I also like the tuning indicator which helps to further fine tune the radio. A also like how the handle folds down into the radio and out of the way, too.. The handle easily flips up into the carry position when your ready to go.

This Sony sits easily on any table and is very stable since it's very wide and not so tall therefor, it won't accidentally tip over even if you bump it really hard. The radio also has a very nice appearance. It's a pretty radio which would look very nice on any kitchen counter-top or Bathroom shelf. I think it would look great anywhere you place it though.

I've been a Ham Radio Operator for over 35 years so I think I am very qualified to offer these three very important characteristics for a radio. A good radio has to have good sensitivity, selectivity and good sound. Well, this radio has all three of those quality's which makes this Sony the perfect companion.

FM reception is very impressive. I have six commercial stations on my Island and the radio receives all of them without me even having to extend the FM antenna. AM reception is equally impressive, I am able to hear stations 100 miles away loud and clear with very little receiver noise. I don't have to turn the radio all that much to try and capture AM stations either, so it's very sensitive, again with almost no receiver noise.

All this being said and for the price it's being offered for, it's also a great radio to kick around town with. You don't have to worry about bumping it around harshly since it's easily cheap enough to buy another, not that I would do that but it's certainly a radio that can withstand some decent abuse.. Anyway It's pretty hard to find a decent sounding radio with good sensitivity, selectivity and great sound these days but this particular Sony has absolutely blown me out of the water. I highly recommend the purchase of this Sony. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Thanks
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on June 16, 2016
Thanks for an excellent product. this radio is more than I expected. I had went to one major electronic store to purchase a portable radio similar to this one. the first was of poor quality, and the next day I returned it and tried another radio which cost more, which I also returned and received my money back. I decided to try online and Amazon. I found this radio, and after reading comments I decided to purchase this radio. It is perfect, and I am truly happy with the results. it is beyond my expectations. Thank You. I now will visit Amazon first from now on when considering making electronic purchases, anticipating the results will be the same, Again thanks .
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This is a great little radio! I listen to it a lot, and I also leave it on and tuned in to the local classical station for my cats when I'm not home. I like that I have the option of using battery power or plugging it into an electrical outlet. The unit is relatively small but not tiny. It's a lot bigger than my Sony ICF-8 and even a tad bigger than my Sony ICF-F10. It's a good size. Plastic mounted carrying handle is a plus, as is the tone switch. It puts out great sound for a radio of its size. Another plus is that it's very easy to operate. I very highly recommend buying this radio. The only downside is that the radio puts out only mono audio through a left ear phone. Not stereo, just so you know. For me, this is a non-issue as I do not use this radio with earphones at all (instead I use the Sony SRF-59, which is great for DXing!). Be aware that many of these awesome, old school radios have mono output only via headphones. Do your research before buying or buy an adapter if you're a headphones person.
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on January 3, 2014
This is a solid product for outdoor use. sound quality for the price exceeded my expectations. this radio has easy to use tuning knobs and large switches. I was surprised how easy it was to tune in fm and am stations. Red tuning light which turns bright red when station is tuned in helps even in bright sun. This product also has a AC power cord built into unit nice feature if you don't want to use batteries. Finally, the unit has a headset jack a must feature if you require some private listening. If you are looking for a great basic radio this is one to consider.
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on May 26, 2016
I bought this radio for my elderly mother, who wanted a little radio she could carry around, but she also wanted better sound than a tiny pocket transistor radio would provide. This model hit the sweet spot between a tiny pocket radio and the boombox that sits on her kitchen table. She reports that the controls are easy to operate and the stations are easy to see. She appreciates the tone switch and the overall sound of this radio. She laughed when she saw how far the antenna extends, but it turns out she doesn't need to extend it at all to get great reception anywhere in her apartment. In fact, even with the antenna not extended, the reception is better than her boombox delivers. The only issue involves the headphone jack. This is a monophonic radio, and so a stereo headphone only gets sound on one side unless you use an adapter. Other reviewers have reported success with these adapters, but my mother couldn't get hers to work. It might be user error or a bad adapter, rather than a problem with the radio itself. You might have better luck. If you don't care about the monophonic earphone, then I recommend this little radio.
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on September 24, 2015
This is a solid, basic "old school" radio, which is exactly what I was looking for. The reception is great, sound quality is good, and the materials/construction seems to be good (it doesn't look/feel "cheap").

I do have one complaint, however, which may be an issue for some people (and it actually is a big deal for me). I use the radio in an office environment, so need to keep the volume very low (and I need to change it up/down regularly). This is SUPER touchy on this radio. In fact, I often have trouble actually dialing the volume down to a very low level. The volume knob goes from zero to barely audible to medium loud with, I would say, much less than a millimeter of travel. I have to be *very* careful, taking significant effort and care to only barely budge the volume up or down by a fraction of a millimeter. However, once I've gotten it to the volume I want, often literally just lifting my finger off the button will unintentionally move the volume to a level that I don't want...just from the friction of lifting my finger straight off the knob as carefully as I can. It really is that touchy. I don't recall ever trying to use the radio at a normal/higher volume, so do not know if the whole volume range is this sensitive. If you are not trying to play the volume low, then I suspect that you will be happy with this radio...everything else is great for me.

4/2016 update: I continue to like this radio's look and feel, reception, etc...but am continually frustrated by how much effort it takes to adjust the volume a small amount. Sometimes it literally takes me 10-15 seconds to actually successfully adjust the volume up or down. I literally touch the dial as LIGHTLY as I can with my finger, and then don't even move my finger, instead simply exerting the smallest pressure I can up or down. It *still* overshoots, even doing that. So, then I do the same thing, trying to exert pressure back in the other direction, and now it overshoots what I want again. Then, sometimes, when I get it the way I want it, just lifting my finger off the dial changes the volume. I've never had this kind of trouble with any other device, lest you think that I'm uncoordinated for some reason! We're talking about FRACTIONS OF MILLIMETERS of movement here.
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on May 8, 2017
After the severe summer derecho in our part of the US, we were without power for 5 days in the extreme heat of July. I knew then that I needed a battery-operated radio to keep up with what was going on and to find out when they expected to get our power back on. I decided to order this radio in case the power went out again for an extended period of time . . . which it did. This radio kept me informed!
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