portable & rechargeable AM/FM/MP3 radio?

I’m looking for a portable radio for a non-techie. I’d like these three features:

  • rechargeable batteries
  • AM and FM radio with digital tuning
  • MP3 playback from USB drive

It will be used about half the time on battery power.

Ideally, I’d like a simple interface with physical buttons and an uncluttered display. Detailed MP3 file information isn’t necessary.

Sangean makes some nice portable units, but only some offer in-device recharging of C or D NiMH cells. Oddly, it seems that not one of their models has all of these features. The Sangean PR-D14 looked like the perfect form-factor, but doesn’t support in-device recharging.

Their similar WFR-28 supports in-device recharging and even includes some streaming options, but frustratingly doesn’t have an AM tuner.

Another option is a ‘boom box,’ but they’re a bit large and include an unnecessary CD player. Most don’t offer in-device recharging, and usually don’t have digital tuning.

I found a few very cheap portables on Amazon, but they’re off-brand, very small, and have mixed reviews. It seems that most of them use a small cell phone battery as a power source. I’ve ordered this one to try out.

I’m purposely avoiding a Bluetooth speaker with a separate audio source.

Any other possible solutions I might be overlooking?

The interface isn’t especially simple and it uses micro-sd rather than flash drive but this isn’t a bad radio:
ebay link: v115

I like the cellphone battery, sound is pretty good, can record radio, and with some practice the UI is OK.

Here are some links to people with more to say than me

Link #1

Link #2

Link #3

Sangean PR-D7 AM/FM Digital Rechargeable Portable Radio - White

You can get this on Amazon, I’ve had one at work for several years. It works off an AC adapter, or Eneloops (which I put in it ages ago). It charges them without any intervention needed on my part. :slight_smile:

I’ve got a TecSun PL-390 AM/FM/SW stereo radio with digital tuning. It can run/charge 3 AA NiMH batteries, or run off of alkaleaks with the push of a button. It doesn’t have USB input, but it has a 3.5mm mini-jack input, so you can run an external source back into it and out its speakers.

Check out the TecSun line.


Thank you for the suggestion! I’ve placed an order for a V115 to try out. :+1:

There are several YouTube video reviews on the V115. Most seem positive overall, with some complaints about weak AM reception. We’ll see how it does in my location.

One video in particular has a good tutorial on navigating the MP3 folders and files, and it looks relatively intuitive.

Thanks again for the suggestion. I’ll report back when the V115 arrives and I have a chance to test it out.

In the meantime, I’m still open to other suggestions as well! :slight_smile:

Thank you Strick9 and ChrisGarrett. :+1:

I was really hoping to find a Sangean model that fit the bill, but as I mentioned they seem not to offer a portable unit with all three features I need. They seem to have plenty of models with various combinations of just two of the features. :stuck_out_tongue:

I saw a few Tecsun models that looked nice, but many of them don’t have an AM tuner. The Tecsun ICR-110 is AM/FM/MP3 and looked very promising, and it even runs on an 18650 cell! Unfortunately, the MP3 playback UI seems a bit cumbersome. I’ll keep looking through the Tecsun models.

I originally said that detailed MP3 file info display wasn’t important. However, after seeing the playback menu on the V115 mentioned above, I’m thinking a bigger display with easy folder navigation is necessary.

Again, thank you both for your suggestions!

I have the Tecsun Q3 and ICR-110, and bought them for the ability to record radio to MP3. Unfortunately they lack a timer for recording.

Quite frankly, using a radio as a MP3 player doesn’t make sense, you really need a touch UI for any but the most trivial MP3 collection.

The V115 that bansuri recommended arrived today.

I’m very impressed, and I’ve already ordered two more! :partying_face:

There are many YouTube reviews, and this video highlighting the MP3 playback controls really convinced me to try the V115:

The 0-9 keypad allows direct access to any file by track number, as well as access to radio stations by frequency. Moving between MP3 folders could be simpler, but isn’t terrible. One excellent feature is that it picks up an MP3 right where you left off after switching back from radio listening or powering off the device.

The sound is surprisingly good for a small device. Most reviews seem to indicate 6 to 10 hours of listening at a moderate volume. It uses a BL-5C lithium battery, which was common in several cell phone models. They’re cheap and plentiful, so I may spring for a few spares and an external charger.

There’s a sleep timer that can be set for up to 90 minutes in 10 minute increments.

There’s even an undocumented ‘shuffle’ feature. While playing MP3s, pressing the MENU button cycles through repeat one song, repeat all songs, repeat folder, or random. BTW, it shuffles the entire contents of the card, not just the current folder.

One quirk is that it plays the MP3s in the order they were copied to the card. Apparently, this is a common issue among many MP3 players, and seems to be related to the FAT32 file system. The solution is a freeware program called FAT Sorter, and it seems to work perfectly.

After copying MP3s to various folders on the MicroSD card, I simply ran Fat Sorter, selected the MicroSD card, enabled ‘Process subfolders,’ and clicked ‘Sort.’ The files are moved to a temporary folder and then re-moved back to the MicroSD card in alphabetical / numerical order.

As I said, I’m very impressed so far, especially for under $20 shipped from the US. I’ll report back again as I get more familiar with the V115 and its UI and functions.

Thanks again, bansuri! :+1:

Yeah, Retekess makes good products. I have the PR12 and PR15 and really like them.

Glad it works for you Goshdogit! I’ve enjoyed audio devices all my life and am amazed what they can stick in a $20 radio these days.
Thanks for the info about FAT sorter and the hidden shuffle. The sound is good enough to not be distracting and the size is perfect.
Please post any more tricks you find, sounds like you like to dig deep into this stuff!