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Hands On: HD Radio Goes Portable | StuffGeeksWant

Insignia HD Radio

CNET last week called HD Radio one of the decades biggest tech flops and it’s hard to argue that point. Put together the facts that radio stations failed early to make the financial investment in broadcasting equipment and HD’s creator, iBiquity, failed to mirror XM Radio’s smart move of getting sat-ready radios in cars years ago, and HD has had a tough road. That’s now changing with the first handheld HD Radio just out from Best Buy.

Made by KRI and sold by Best Buy under the Insignia brand name for just under $50, this little handheld beauty gives you regular FM stations as well as those enhanced with HD channels – which if you didn’t know are radio stations that piggyback onto an FM station and broadcast additional content like music, talk, sports and more for free, most of it commercial free.

The first thing you notice is the audio difference between analog FM and HD is dramatic. The frequency will first lock in on the analog signal and then the digital kicks in two to three seconds later with an ‘HD’ symbol confirming the station.

It’s got 10-station presets, a nice, bright, 1.5-inch LCD color screen, a 10-hour, built-in rechargeable lithium battery, an included USB cable for charging, headphones and arm band.

This unit works best outdoors depending on the signal strength of the station your listening to. It sounds great, is cheap enough and it’s lithium-battery holds an acceptable eight-hour charge in our tests.

Buy for $49.99 from Best Buy

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