The UX of Portable Radios

I recently lost a little $15 radio I had.  It wasn’t fancy, but it was small and got the three stations I listen to.  Since losing it, I tried to replace it and have struggled to find something decent.

My first try was the iPod Radio adapter.  It’s way too expensive at $50, but I got sucked into the whole “iPod is cool” thing and just had to plunk down the money.  Good news:  It gets good reception and I can switch the iPod if I can’t find something on the radio I like.  Bad News: First is the UI.  There is no way to save a station.  You literally have to wind the center wheel until you get to the station.  What a piece of crap?!  Can’t save a station on a $50 radio??  Come on…no seriously, COME ON.  Additional minor problem is the cord.  It’s super long, so I had to twist tie it down.  Why didn’t they just make the adapter?  Why do they need a cord too?

Second try was a small cheap sony, similar to the radio I lost. At $16, I had little to lose.  Good News:  Very easy to set a station, hooray.  Bad news:  It only got 1 of the 3 stations without terrible static.  Seriously??  It’s a radio, it’s not a space ship.  It does one thing; get radio reception.  I was shocked that it couldn’t pick up the stations clearly when the little one I lost did it just fine.  I am biking to work, so the path is set.  I am not traveling through some dead zone.  Also on the negative side, the device is quite big; twice as big as the original one.  Why does such a simple device need to be that large and still not get reception?  Beats me.

So far, I don’t have a third try.  It’s a bummer because this seems like such a simple thing.  It’s amazing to me how so many things can be broken.  Most products disappoint me.  I hope the people who use the software I make have a better experience than my portable radio one.

3 Replies to “The UX of Portable Radios”

  1. Do you remember any details about the original radio you had?
    A model number perhaps? Maybe you can find the same one on eBay or something.

    Do you remember who made it?
    Perhaps it’s a quality issue. If you remember who made your original one, maybe buying one with the same brand would help.

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