Hitachi TRK100DAB review: Hitachi TRK100DAB

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The blue LCD display is 16 characters wide and two deep. It's fairly easy to read at the right angle, but as the top of the radio is tilted at 45 degrees, the view is restricted and it soon becomes illegible. You have to view it from above, so ideally the radio needs to be on a low table or shelf.

The top line of the LCD displays the station name and genre. The bottom line can be cycled through seven display modes. The default mode is scrolling station info; the other options are programme type, ensemble name, time and date, channel and frequency, bit-rate and mode, and signal error. The scrolling default shifts one character to the left quite slowly, but it's easy to read.

The Menu button allows you to change the station order, which is potentially useful for storing another ten stations after you run out of presets. This button also allows you to tune the DAB radio manually (which might be useful if you live in an area of poor digital reception).

The TRK100DAB does not have a recording facility or alarm clock.

If you are an audiophile, this radio is not for you. The speakers are tinny and fall down in both the bass and mid-range frequencies. You can boost the bass by using the Bass button, which moves the sound from unbearably tinny to just tinny.

You can adjust the volume by using the Volume Up and Down buttons. The TRK100DAB certainly goes up loud -- our testing started the neighbours off in a who's-got-the-loudest-stereo war -- but turning it up only highlighted the weakness of the sound quality and so is not recommended. The radio also starts to distort fairly quickly as you push the volume up.

Although the sound reproduction left much to be desired, the signal quality for DAB was good. The TRK100DAB provided clear, interference-free digital radio, only descending into storm conditions in FM mode.

Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide

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