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3 people found this helpful
Doesn't match Sony's reputation
on February 7, 2017
First impression was underwhelming. First off, this radio is noticeably smaller than I expected. Immediately out of the box, the first thing I touched was the Tuner knob and it literally wobbled in my fingers. Both the Tuner and Volume knobs are loose and wobbly. In regard to function, there was noticeable "play" in both knobs. I can tolerate a minor amount of play in the tuning knob; however, not in the volume knob. If I want to adjust the volume up or down just ever so slightly, I can't control the volume precisely with play in the knob. That's a deal breaker for me. The body is plastic. I expected that and it's probably more sturdy than you'd first think. All the Sony radios that I have turned out to be more durable than they appear. I also bought a Panasonic RF-2400 so I could compare the two and return the inferior product. No AC power option on the Sony, only batteries (and I knew that going in). Runs off 2 D size, which can be expensive, but D batteries tend to last for months (the radio has no electronic moving parts so battery drain is minimal). The Panasonic has the option of plugging it into AC power with the (included) power cord. The Sony speaker is 3 1/4 inches. The Panasonic has a 4 inch speaker and gets quite loud without distortion. The Sony also gets loud but doesn't sound quite as "full" as the Panasonic (and that's not to say the Panasonic sounds full either). As mentioned, the Sony's body is all plastic. The Panasonic has a metal grille protecting the speaker. Asthetically, the Sony looks better to me. The Sony looks like a radio from the 1970s or early 80s while the Panasonic looks like a radio from the 1990s.
Another big issue for me was tuning. The Sony has more sensitivity on FM thanks to an antenna that is about 5 inches longer than the Panasonic. The problem is the Sony does not have the selectivity to match the sensitivity so you get lots of stations but many are full of static and bleeding over each other. On the lower end of the FM band, especially, I noticed the Panasonic picked up 2 or 3 stations the Sony just couldn't find. Where I live, we have 2 jazz stations in lower FM. The Sony only found one. The Sony seemed to do better on AM, but again it had more static and bleed over. Compared to a much superior radio, both had inferior tuning sensitivity and selectivity than my Tivoli Model One. So in one of the areas I expected the Sony to dominate, it did not beat the competition. Neither radio's antenna swivels, but they pivot from side to side. The Sony antenna feels thicker and sturdier of the 2 radios.
Yes, the Panasonic was about $8 more (at the time of this writing), but...For the extra money you get a large 4 inch speaker, very good sensitive tuning and better selectivity, and the AC power option.
I had already planned on returning the Panasonic expecting the Sony to be better. Believe me, I REALLY wanted to like this radio. I've never met a Sony radio I didn't like (until now, I guess), but for a cheap mono AM/FM analog radio in the 3 to 4 inch speaker range, the Panasonic RC-2400 is better. A more worthy opponent to the Panasonic might be the Sony ICF-38, but this Sony ICF-F10 just didn't make the grade. This one is getting returned.