The Kogan Digital Radio tries to pack as many different features as possible into 1 low cost device including: DAB+ broadcast digital radio, FM analog radio, WiFi streaming radio & podcasts, iPod Dock, USB slot and streaming music directly from your PC via shared network folders/drives.
Digital radio has just started broadcasting in Australia so I’m testing some of the units on offer including Kogan, PURE and OXX Digital. Some say the Kogan radio lacks style but I think it looks alright and offers an unbeatable combination of features at a sharp price of $169+shipping ($187.43 total)
Styling: Black case and front with silver Volume and Tuner/Select Knobs.
Antenna: Slightly longer when fully extended (5-10cm) than the other units I’ve tested to date which may help you if your area has a weak digital radio signal
Display: 2 lines. Cannot adjust or turn off backlight. In my opinion it’s too bright for night time use as an alarmclock unless you put something in front of the screen to block the bright blue glow.
EDITOR: Kogan tells me that the the screen brightness is not adjustable in the user menu. However, it can be initially be set to different brightness levels during the manufacture stage so leave a comment here if you think its too bright and they might change the next batch sold.
Buttons: Do the job but not styled very much. Large enough and well spaced so it’s easy to differentiate between them with fingers in the dark. The “Info” button is useful because it cycles between Signal Strength, Bitrate, scrolling datastream (news updates, current song) etc.
DAB+ Radio: Picked up all the Sydney stations and displayed the digital radio station datastream eg: current song name, weather forecast, news headlines etc. To be honest I can’t tell any sound difference between FM analog radio and digital radio, the main benefit of digital radio is new stations like ABC Grandstand Sports, NovaNation, SBS6 (BBC World Service), TheEdgeDigital etc.
iPod/iPhone dock: Tested with iPhone 3Gs. Starts charging as soon as phone is docked. Once you switch modes to iPod the Phone displays “this accessory is not made to work with iPhone”, but you can ignore that because it worked fine and music started playing automatically even before I pressed the screen to turn off the warning
WiFi Radio streaming: Took a few minutes to setup because I had to enter my WiFi network SSID, WPA2 key etc. After that it worked fine and it was easy to use the tuner knob to navigate the countless (1000’s?) of different streaming radio stations worldwide from big broadcasters like BBC, NPR etc as well as the independent music and other online radio stations.
WiFi Podcasts streaming: Worldwide podcast list navigation is easy. Pauses for a while as it downloads the specific podcast episode you want to listen to. However you can’t pause a podcast once started eg: if you get a phone call. Makes this feature less than useful.
Playback from USB & Network Storage:
- Shared Folder MP3’s from home network: Easy smooth navigation around subfolders using the large select Knob and “Back button”. Unfortunately not possible to play Random/Shuffle.
- USB slot : Tested with 8GB usb drive completely full with MP3’s. Played songs with no issues. Cannot view song ID3 details. Pressing “Detail” button during song playback cycles between display of: Current Time, Current Date, Filename, File Path. Unfortunately not possible to play Random/Shuffle.
Speaker: 7W RMS Mono. Quite good enough for listening to spoken voice podcasts and talk radio. Strong enough to turn up the volume and listen from across a big open area without distortion. Suggest plugging in proper stereo speakers into the headphone jack if you listen to music often.
Analog FM radio: Works fine, though I can’t see this feature being used much unless you don’t have a DAB+ digital radio signal being broadcast in your area (currently only major Australian capital cities have digital radio broadcast)
AUX input: Tested with Sandisk e280 Mp3 player and worked fine.
Output 3.5mm headphone jack: Instantly switches audio output to external speakers/headphone as soon as they’re plugged into the radio.
Alarm Clock: 2 Alarms with choice of sound (Buzzer, DAB+, Wifi radio or FM radio).
Lacks some high end features like Live digital radio buffer to pause and rewind but to be fair very few digital radio’s on the Australian market at present have this feature. Stereo speakers, Digital output and 4 Line display would be useful.
But in the end lets not forget that adding these features would greatly increase the price and this Kogan Digital Radio does pack in a lot of good features at a sharp price of $169+shipping ($187.43 total).
You can buy the Kogan DAB+ Digital Radio With WiFi and iPod Dock directly from Kogan online
These reviews were published in August along with an “Introduction to Digital Radio in Australia”
“Would I buy a new digital radio just for the new DAB+ broadcasts – NO – however I am seriously considering purchasing a unit like the Kogan radio with WiFi streaming radio support and Playback from other sources like Network Storage. For the moment I will wait a few months to see what all the manufacturers offer.”