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Eton Grundig G2 Reporter review: Eton Grundig G2 Reporter

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The Good The Eton Grundig G2 Reporter is a small, slim, and lightweight AM/FM/SW radio with 4GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for recording as well as playback of MP3/WMA files and a line-in jack for connecting an external source. FM reception is very good.

The Bad The G2 Reporter runs on a rechargeable battery that charges by USB only (wall adapter not included); its e-book function is a joke; it has a flimsy stand; and operating it can be confusing.

The Bottom Line The Eton Grundig G2 Reporter is more than just a little portable radio, but it has some drawbacks to consider before you buy.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

With many people turning to their smartphones, streaming players, and computers for radio broadcasts (including myself), the Eton Grundig G2 Reporter is a bit of an oddball product to have in for testing. The portable AM/FM/shortwave radio received chuckles and the occasional "What's that? A radio?" whenever someone saw me using it.

For a lot of people radios are just something you listen to in emergencies or when it's the only option. Shortwave listeners -- in the U.S. at least -- are even rarer, so it's really a good thing that the G2 Reporter is more than just a radio.

Grundig squeezed quite a bit of functionality into its ultracompact body, letting you do things like record radio and play MP3s.

However, if you're most interested in its shortwave radio, you'll probably want to invest in one of Grundig's larger models simply because using the G2 can be frustrating.

Though the G2 Reporter is primarily billed as a digital AM/FM/SW radio, with its 4GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, and a couple of important inputs, that's certainly not all it does. It has a built-in mic and a mic input on the left side, so it can be used as a voice recorder or a loudspeaker.

A line-in jack on the right side lets you connect an external source such as a smartphone or tablet. You can also use this to record from another source; just plug in, press record, and start playing whatever you want to record.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The internal storage is used for voice recordings as well as recording radio. Radio can be recorded in either 129Kbps WAV format or 40Kbps MP3 format, though the latter sounds truly terrible. The card slot can be used with microSDHC cards up to 16GB for playback of MP3 or WMA files.

For MP3 and WMA files there are eight equalizer presets and you can set it to shuffle your tracks, repeat a track, or repeat all. The tempo can be adjusted, too, and if you have lyrics in LRC format with your music files, it can display those.

The G2 can also display text documents on its tiny screen, a feature Grundig calls an "e-book function." While it would be possible to read an entire book four lines at a time, it's probably nothing you'd want to do. But, if you need it to display a few lines of information, it can do that.

As for the radio features, for FM tuning you can choose from Normal (87-108MHz), Japan (76-90MHz), or School (64-108MHz) bands. There is support for RDS (radio data system) information, but you have to turn it on every time you switch to FM (the same goes for changing from mono to stereo). Tuning for AM goes from 520-1,710KHz with either 9KHz or 10KHz spacing. Frequencies for SW go from 2.3-23MHz with 5KHz tuning steps. You can select specific bands by repeatedly pressing the SW button; 60m, 49m, 41m, 31m, 25m, 22m, 19m, 16m, and 13m bands are available.

Lastly, there are alarm and sleep timer functions built in, which adds to the G2's appeal as a travel radio. However, setting up the alarm seems to require much more effort than it probably should.

Design and use
Aside from its feature set, the big reason to consider the G2 is its size and weight. The matte-black plastic body weighs 9.6 ounces and measures 7.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches tall by 0.8 inch deep. It's small enough to toss in a bag or even slip in a large coat pocket without adding much weight or bulk.

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