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Eton Grundig G2 Reporter review:

Eton Grundig G2 Reporter

Sarah Tew/CNET

However, part of the reason it is so thin is that it uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack. There is no secondary battery option -- you can't just pop in some AAs -- and since its battery pack is not something you can pick up anywhere, you're stuck if you're out and the battery dies. It charges via an included Mini-USB cable when plugged into a computer, too. No wall adapter is included, which is irritating considering the radio's price. If you don't already have one from a smartphone or other USB device, I strongly suggest picking one up; they're usually less than $5.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The battery is located under a thin plastic panel on back behind a hinged stand, which is equally as flimsy as the battery cover. The stand also doesn't lock in place, so anytime you tilt the radio the slightest bit forward, the stand starts to close. Add in its light body and the weight from its 3-foot antenna when fully extended and it can be unwieldy to use on a tabletop.

Using the basic radio features is fairly straightforward: turn it on, select your audio source, and start listening. Starting a recording is as easy as pressing the record button. Another button lets you quickly switch from radio to MP3 playback, while an Esc button accesses the radio's other functions. All of the buttons, by the way, give nice clicky feedback, so you definitely know you've pressed them.

In radio mode, you can tune in directly to a station by entering it on the keypad or manually tuning with the knob on the right side of the body. From there, operation gets a little less clear.

For example, the radio has two ways to get to the same settings for some modes, but not others, so you end up jumping around a lot. Recordings made in MP3 format can be played back in Music mode, but WAV files are only available in Voice mode. The manual isn't great at explaining everything, either, so you may have to do a lot of trial-and-error work to get the G2 to do what you want. None of these things are necessarily deal breakers since you probably won't be doing a lot of settings changes once you've got it set up, but the radio can be frustrating to figure out initially.

If you're most concerned with pulling in FM stations, you'll be happy with the G2 Reporter. Even some stations that I've found difficult to tune with other portables came in strong. Tuning of AM and SW was good, too, but less reliable than FM.

Recordings made in WAV format sounded good, but, again, I would not recommend recording in MP3. MP3 files from other sources played fine, though, and the row of controls along the bottom of the keypad make navigation easy. (Note: I read a few user reviews that said recordings made with the G2 were prone to dropouts or skips on playback. Though this wasn't something I experienced with my tests of WAV and MP3 recordings and tests of MP3 files from other sources, it is certainly something to consider. If you buy the G2 Reporter, you may want to make sure the retailer will allow you to easily return it and test this feature first.)

Sarah Tew/CNET

Considering the G2 has two small speakers inside a thin chassis, I wasn't expecting great sound from it and, well, it met my expectations. Music and talk both sound thin and lack any significant bass. It does get pretty loud without distortion, however, so you'll have no trouble hearing it. There is a headphone jack for private listening or for connecting to a set of external speakers (though that defeats its easy portability).

Overall, the Eton Grundig G2 Reporter is a nice little portable radio and MP3 player. If you're just thinking of it as a radio, its price is probably too high. But if you like the idea of easily recording radio programming, playing back your own MP3s, and having portable stereo speakers for a smartphone or other mobile device, its price isn't bad at all.

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