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Customer Review

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 October 2008
The Roberts CRD-33 has many useful features which would not normally be associated with a clock/radio, even if it is DAB capable.

*** Note Amazon have this radio listed TWICE. Search on 'Roberts CRD-33' in the 'Electronics' department to see them both. It's worth checking each listing as prices differ....!

The most notable of these is 'Pause Plus' (DAB only), an SD card storage capability which allows radio programmes to be recorded (but there's no timed-recording facility) and MP3 files to be played and 'Aux In'/'Line Out'/headphone sockets.

I find the 'Pause Plus' live record/pause/rewind of DAB broadcasts very useful and it should be noted you can record something which has already been broadcast if it is able to be 'rewound' to (this is an undocumented feature which I discovered and Roberts were unaware of !); multiple recordings can be saved to memory card.

The 'Pause Plus'/file playback facility is quite well-specified, allowing not just pause, but also fast-forward and rewind (albeit only in 30s 'chunks'). As the unit apparently has firmware based on that also utilised by the RD-55 and RD-59 it unfortunately only has a maximum 'memory' of some 8mins. When playing files, the associated music file information (if available) is displayed on the lower line of the LCD. Having said that, you can only search for particular files by 'scrolling' through all the files stored on the card (which can get quite tiresome...) and they don't seem to be stored in any logical order.

I also think the playback operation controls (which double-up as the radio station preset buttons) are not very well placed, as they are directly on the top of the unit and the legends have no forward-visibility. As the radio is likely to be sitting at eye-level this can mean that when one accesses the buttons it is quite easy to select the wrong one...This is disastrous if using 'Pause Plus', as selecting a preset button not associated with playback changes the radio station, hence any broadcast paused and held in 'memory' is lost !

A quick note on SD card usage. Each time the card is re-accessed (by pressing record, selecting it as a source or stopping playback) it re-scans the card. This means that if the card has a lot of music files on it there can be a VERY lengthy delay before record starts or playback can be selected; this can be very irritating so you have been warned !

There are 10 memory presets on each radio band, a scrollable station display/selector facility and tone/volume controls for the speaker. Speaker output quality, whilst not stereo, reproduces treble/bass very well and sound in general with great clarity. The FM radio side is fine and has RDS. To my amazement, the 'wire' antenna works perfectly and the radio receives all available DAB stations with clarity.

The backlight is controlled by both a 'toggle' switch (on the front panel) and a variable-intensity knob (on the underside). Once you have set your desired intensity, you can then toggle between that setting and maximum intensity. This is very useful as the maximum intensity is adequate for reading or use as a bedside light...

There are 4 alarms, which can be set for once/daily/weekdays/weekends and used to activate either the DAB, FM, SD card playback, Aux In or 'Buzzer' (as Roberts call it; it's actually an electronic 'beep'-type alarm sound). The buzzer volume gradually increases over time to a maximum which can be preset, using a variable knob on the underside. It has a 'snooze' feature and when an alarm is set the corresponding switch is lit to 'warn' you.

The unit also has a 'sleep' timer for the radio, which can be set to 15, 30, 60 90 or 120 mins. There is also a 'Nap' timer, which turns on the radio after a selectable 10/20/30/40/50/60 mins period.

There is a large analogue clock display, which sets itself using radio signal reception. The 2-line LCD is also illuminated and allows for DAB broadcast information to be 'scrolled' below the station information, as well as a range of other (selectable) data to be permanently shown, including the date/time (which is also set automatically). Graphics are shown for the various other functions when they are activated.

So, all-in-all an excellent purchase with few competitors of comparable quality and specification.

For complete information, you can download the User Guide from the Roberts website.
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