Do you feel the need to express yourself through your personal electronic accessories? Do you want a fancy phone with a camera, an MP3 player, and a computer built-in? Are you an early adopter for every new gadget? Do you express yourself through a highly customized iPod with iPod skins, personalized iPod accessories, and an extensive music play list? Can your iPod play 10,000 songs or more? If so, this article really isn’t for you. This review is for someone who really wants to establish their credentials as a rebel and stand up to the breakneck pace of technological progress. This review is for a true Luddite. This review is about a small AM/FM radio: the Coby CX-7 AM/FM Personal Portable Radio.
If you feel that the bourgeois capitalist advertisers are trying to brainwash you into buying an expensive iPod and con you into converting your hard-earned wealth into download-able music, you’ll find the Coby CX-7 AM/FM Personal Portable Radio provides all the music you need for less than $10 and you’ll be refreshed to discover that radio content is delivered for no fee via the public airwaves. The radio is a direct descendant of the AM/FM transistor radio that first became popular in the 1960s and 70s. I found my example for about $5 in a Big Lots discount store.
The Coby CX-7 AM/FM portable radio comes in a small lightweight package and measures 2-inches wide by 3 and 3/8 inches tall and 7/8 inches wide including the attached belt clip. The radio has attractive styling that evokes the art deco styling of the early 20th century and comes in a variety of colors. The radio features a neck strap, a belt clip, and ear bud-style earphones. The ear bud-style earphones provide enough cord to reach from your belt or front pocket to your ears or from the side of a computer monitor to your ears. This little radio is manually tuned via a top-mounted tuning wheel. A similar wheel on the side controls the volume Additional side-mounted switches select there the radio is tuned to the AM or FM radio bands and whether the Dynamic Bass Boost System (DBBS) is activated. This Coby radio is powered by two AAA batteries. At less than $10, the plastic case seems a little fragile and it would be easy to damage this radio.
By today’s standards, this radio technology is practically Amish. So, there are some trade-offs. The sound quality delivered is heavily dependent upon the quality of radio reception in your area. For example, AM radio reception in a modern office building is practically non-existent. In a residential apartment building, it is slightly better with a buzz. Outdoors it improves considerably, but still can vary with the position of the headphones which serve to some degree as an antenna. Unfortunately, no amount of tuning or positioning can render Sean Hannity’s voice less annoying or NPR announcers less snotty.
FM reception is far better and reaches into office buildings and residential buildings with ease. Not surprisingly, radio stations with the strongest signal come in the best. When radio stations frequencies are tightly bunched, the signal from one station can bleed into the signal of another. With a manually tuned radio, it can take a little time to get a radio station dialed in precisely. However, when tuned in properly, the FM receiver offers acceptable reception and decent sound quality. The radio works best when you are fairly still. This makes the Coby CX-7 AM/FM radio a decent choice for use at work or on a bus ride.
The Coby CX-7 AM/FM radio is a good little radio to use to test radio reception at your office and to see if you’d enjoy listening to the radio in your cube. It is small enough and discreet enough to stick in your pocket and can pass off as an MP3 player. Radio still offers an endless variety of free content and frees you from the need to download your own music and load songs. For a digitally tuned alternative, Coby also offers the slightly more expensive Coby CX-9 Digital Mini AM/FM Pocket Radio. For a more deluxe experience, you could also opt for the Sony SFR-M37V FM/AM/Weather/TV Radio Walkman for about $30. After a couple of weeks of occasional use, I think I’d like having a slightly better radio than the CX-7 for my cube. Since radio stations pass on weather and news information, the Coby CX-7 might also might be a good addition to a home emergency kit. It’s no iPod comrades, but then again it costs far less and an iPod is no radio.