Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Insignia's Portable HD Radio. NS-HD01. My Review.

Although you won't find every radio station has gone digital, HD radio is coming. Where I live only one station is up to date, but since I had a $50 gift card and some time to kill I thought I'd give the Insignia HD radio a try. The upcoming Zune HD player will have HD Radio reception in it, but Insignia beats them to the punch by being here now at your local BestBuy and at a reasonable price ($49.99). Check your local store, as my store had several but BestBuy.com didn't have any.

The controls are not all obvious. I highly recommend you read the user manual before getting to into it. You can let the radio charge up while you study up.
You'll find a covered mini USB port, hold switch, and a reset hole on the left side. Volume is on the right. The headphone jack is on the top edge.
There are only 10 channel Presets. A little disappointing as my area has more than 20 FM stations channels within reach.

A dated aesthetic. It's almost exactly the same size as my RCA Lyra Slider but a clutter of buttons around a tiny screen.

FM and digital radio, but nothing else. It would have been nice if it had a little memory or a card slot to store MP3s, as some times there isn't anything worth listening to on the radio. I guess that's what MP3 players with FM radios are for.

With the earphone jack on top, and all the controls on the face, it should work fine in a shirt pocket or the snug armband that comes with it.

The screen is just a little larger than an inch square (1.5" diagonal), but a slightly wider rectangle would have served better to display station and song info.

Volume control is on the side. A bit confusing as there are up and down and left and right buttons on the front that might have been more intuitive for volume control.
All in all it's a fine radio. Nothing amazing, but competent. Reception relies on your headphone cable, so you might get different results depending on the headphones you use. The included ones helped it find most of my normal stations.
Is it worth $50. Given that most MP3 players (other than ipods) include FM radios, I not sure. I think Microsoft has the right idea including HD and FM in the upcoming Zune HD. Yet if you've got $50 to kill and are impatient to try out HD radio in your area it's perfect.

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