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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 March 23, 2016
This is a neat little radio. I say little, but it's a little fatter than I was expecting. I bought it because I wanted to sit outside while at the drive in and not have to run my car. I was afraid it wouldn't be loud enough but I only used about half the volume capacity. The sound and signal strength were quite good. I really like that it also comes with a power cord, and that you can stow that inside the 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.

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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 May 18, 2015
I give it 4 stars. The reception isn't as good as in my car but it let's me listen to baseball games since I'm a cord cutter and I don't get them on television. Here's some answers to the most common questions:

Has a headphone jack (1/8")
Battery powered (4 AA)
Also can be plugged in
Made in China

It's no frills but it serves a purpose and seems like halfway decent quality.
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on March 7, 2016
Sony ICF38 Portable AM/FM Radio (Black)
Pros: The best AM reception ever 22 station from New York City? Wow!
1.Four "AA" batteries/rechargeable or standard.
2. Powerful 4.5" speaker with delivering high quality sound to listen for hours , even with tone adjustment.
3. Shell built of PBS impact resistant plastic.
4. Retractable handle (though ICF-38 have no belt ,no hooks for hanging over your shoulder)
5 Led tuning light very helpful, plus tuning string very bright neon lime color (easy to dial even in a low light condition).
6. With radio I can reach stations I never heard before,very sensitive FM tuner though.
1. /Heavy dew to AC/DC transformer placed inside with very rugged permanently attached 110v cable inside / to hold comfortably = 2 lbs / 1 kilo with batteries, slippery plastic ( round over all edges )
2. None water splash resistant with huge ,unnecessarily open ventilation grills .Dust,sand,mildew will accumulate with time easily .
3. Headphone output in MONO and only to one ear .
4. The ON/OFF switch placed on top , so if you have wet hands the water will come trough and may oxidize and/or damage whole unit.
5. Very primitive circa 1970's (without even imitation of polished chrome grill, or knobs) make it looking very cheap.

Nowadays radio stations oriented on very mediocre listeners, with brainwashing pointless junk. Forget about news about the rest of the world. Choice of musics are very poor. I'm end up listening with only one station,living in the "Capitol of the world" New York City? just in the kitchen or when taking bath.
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on June 6, 2016
We've had a Sony ICF36 radio for many years. Nice little radio, with decent sound, and the ability to run from the AC supply or from its batteries. It gave us excellent service, but after a while the channel selector showed signs of wear - sometimes it was difficult to select the band before tuning. In addition, the two TV channels were no longer relevant (not the fault of the radio).
We looked into buying the ICF38 - basically a more modern version, without TV or weather channels, but still with the powerful sound, and the ability to run from batteries or AC.
Unfortunately, there were a number of reviews that implied that Sony had outsourced production to China, and the quality had suffered as a result. Five star reviews had dropped to one-star.
After a few years, when the bad reviews seem to have stopped, we bought an ICF38.
We've had it for a couple of months, and it seems OK. The sound is every bit as good as its predecessor,and it seems to be doing the job, without problems. A tentative four stars. Maybe Sony has sorted out their problems with their Chinese supplier.
Recommended? Not yet, but so far, so good.
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on June 13, 2015

Had one of these when I was a kid and it was on all the time. I lost it in a garage sale when my mom attempted to make me grow up. Well take that mom! This thing looks and feels like the 80's to me. Dials in stations accurately and is simple. The sound quality is far superior to what I was expecting. In my two car garage I no longer use my phone connected to computer speakers. It is too much of a pain hooking it all up, finding the music I want and blah blah blah. With this, I walk in the garage, flip the switch and the music is right where I left it. So seldom have I bought something this inexpensive and adored it so much. But, it does bring out the kid in me.


Took this radio to a cabin in Long Barn, CA. Long Barn sits at about 5000 feet in pretty dense forest. My car barely hung on to a station driving up and often lost it completely. This radio sitting near a window with the antenna extended pulled stations from both Merced and Modesto. Put that in your Google map and you'll get an idea of the range this has. Most stations were crystal clear and never buzzed once. Extremely impressed!
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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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