Insignia gives portable HD radio second chance

Best Buy's house brand, Insignia, announces their second generation portable HD radio tuner, the NS-HD02. The new model introduces a touch screen, live pause, bookmarking, and improved graphics.

Photo of the Insignia NS-HD02 portable HD radio tuner.
The Insignia NS-HD02 portable HD radio tuner. Insignia

Last year, Best Buy's Insignia brand made a minor splash by introducing the first portable HD radio player , priced to fly out the door at $49.

For the second-generation of the player (NS-HD02), Insignia is giving its HD radio the Nano treatment by switching to a 2.5-by-3-inch capacitive touch-screen interface and introducing a Live Pause feature that can cache up to 15 minutes of a live broadcast. The NS-HD02 will also serve up "Artist Experience" content, available in 10 to 20 markets, allowing album art and artist photos to be transmitted along with audio and ID tags.

The updated player will hit shelves October 24, packaged with a pair of earbuds, a charging cable, and an armband. Unfortunately, the iPod-ification of the NS-HD02 has raised the retail price to $69, which seems flat-out ridiculous for a portable radio. The device doesn't offer MP3 playback, photos, video, voice recording, or any of the conveniences we'd expect from a portable media player. The meager 8-hour battery life doesn't help things, either.

If you can get by with a standard FM radio, you'd be a fool not to buy a Sansa Fuze+ or Clip+ for the same amount or less.

That said, if you're an HD radio nut looking for an advanced portable player you can use at the gym or plug into your car's aux input, the NS-HD02 is one of the few options out there.

 

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