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I'm John Falcone from CNET.com, and this is the Insignia NS-HD01. This little guy is special for a couple of reasons. First of all, it's the world's first truly portable HD radio. The other thing is that it's only 50 bucks, so it's also the least expensive HD radio we've seen to date.
So as you can see this is a very tiny unit, very light -- it's smaller than an iPod classic and a lot lighter -- and it's got a built-in rechargeable battery. The battery lasts at least 10 hours -- that's what we got with it -- and it's rechargeable via any standard mini USB. It does not include an AC recharger, but we found any PC or any USB AC charger will work just fine.
For such a small device this does have an awful lot of buttons on the front, and that's because there are several ways you can tune it. You can either seek new stations, you can just tune manually, or you can also roll between any of the 10 presets that you can program into here. It's also got a hold button on the side, so if you put this into your pocket and mash on the buttons, it won't change the station or anything.
Now, we found the tuner to be pretty good, like other HD radios we've tested. It has a little cell phone-like signal meter, and as long as you're getting at least 2 bars and you're tuned to an HD-capable station, it'll switch over to the digital version. That gives you enhanced clarity -- it's a little better than regular FM -- but the big deal is that you also get a lot of these multi-cast stations. These are HD 2 and HD 3 stations that you can't get with an analog radio. The other cool thing on some of these multi-casts is that, while this is not AM radio, a lot of the stations actually broadcast their AM stations on the FM subchannel. So you can get some of your local AM stations where you otherwise wouldn't with an FM-only radio.
As far as accessories you get in the box, the best thing is this Velcro armband to hold the radio while you're jogging or walking. You also get standard cheap ear bud headphones and a USB charger.
That's pretty much it for this unit. The big selling point here is that it's under 50 bucks. It's the cheapest, smallest HD radio we've seen. If you are interested in getting HD digital radio stations in your area, this is the best and most affordable option we've seen to date. I'm John Falcone for CNET, and this is the Insignia NS-HD01.
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