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Philips Digital Clock Radio DAB+ AJB1002/79

Our previous clock radio was a stereo Akai AM/FM with an LED display. Nothing special about it but the main problem was that we liked to wake up to an AM station with a weak signal. The power meter is on that side of the house, so the radio would emit loud static when it came on until I got up and placed it on the floor near the window. This was ridiculous, I know.

When digital DAB+ radios were launched, most were mono and had LCD displays — not suitable as clock radios. Finally, clock radios emerged and so I popped out to Dick Smith to buy one.

I bought a Philips clock radio, model AJB1002/79 for around $129.95 a couple of months ago.

dab+ clock radio

DAB+

Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) is a new mode of radio transmission using digital signals in the 179 MHz region (mid VHF band). The familiar radio stations can be selected by name rather than by their frequency, because the “AM” and “FM” stations are in the same list.

In other words, you no longer need to choose AM or FM — you just choose the station by name.

Setup

Clock radios are fairly easy to set up, or so I thought. This was the first one to send me to the instruction sheet. I got the hang of it, but I still don’t like it.

Design

The main issue with the setup and operation is the design – both physical and operational. The buttons are flush with the body, so the product might win some design awards but I question its usability. When you wake up and are struggling to read the time and turn off the alarm, you want to find the controls quickly.

The display is not bright enough. It seems to be a choice of dim, dimmer and off.

The radio is very light, so it slides all over the bedside table when you try to adjust its volume control on the side. Better rubber feet would help.

The buttons are sensitive, so while you are fumbling for a button, you may press the wrong one.

The alarm (radio) does not turn off after an hour like most others I have owned. It probably goes on for hours, if not indefinitely. This is a waste of power, even if it is very small.

Other Features

There are two alarms and they start off faint and then rise in volume, so there is no rude awakening. The MP3 Link enables you to connect a cable from your MP3 device to the radio so that you can play from it rather than from a radio station.

Operation

The radio works as advertised — better reception than my old AM radio for that favourite station. No static at all.

Conclusion

I am pleased with the DAB+ reception of this radio, but its design quirks make it less than a perfect user experience. I will probably replace it with a sturdier design that uses old-fashioned slider switches and mechanical volume controls — if such a DAB+ radio is available.

Ash Nallawalla

Ash Nallawalla reviews products for many publications, notably PC Update. He writes a monthly column for APC Magazine, the largest consumer printed PC magazine in Australia.