Majority Petersfield-Go Personal Digital DAB/DAB+: Tactile Accessible Pocket Radio
David Griffith explains how a totally Blind Person can happily set up and
Use this Accessible DAB Radio
Product: Majority Petersfield-Go Personal Digital DAB/DAB+.
Available from Amazon: Price when reviewed: £26 with free shipping for Prime Customers.
From time to time a product appears in the mainstream which seems designed for Visually Impaired / Blind customers. In the first of 2 posts I am going to review 2 such product. Next week I will recount my experience of using a great speaker, ideal for GPS outdoor use. Here though, I will describe a new, for me, personal DAB / FM Pocket Radio.
This Radio was recently recommended to me by my sister, also blind, who in turn was alerted to its accessible possibilities by her daughter.
The Majority Petersfield Go is a small pocket DAB/FM Radio with DAB + capabilities. It does not have a speaker but is provided with earbuds. As I hate earbuds, I immediately donated these to my Daughter. I have, instead, used my JVC Gumy in ear earphones or JVC Folding over Ear headphones. This review is based on usage with these alternative headsets. Both these options work well and provide good volume suitable for someone with a degree of hearing impairment.
The Go is similar in size to other pocket radios, very slightly larger than the Goodmans Personal DAB Radio, but still small enough to fit comfortably into a shirt pocket with room to spare.
It has a small narrow strip screen at the top of the front for sighted users. However it is perfectly possible for a person without sight to set up without recourse to this screen.
- Holding the Radio with the screen to the front you will feel a belt clip on the back of the radio.
- On the right edge of the Radio you will feel two small tactile buttons. These are the volume up and volume down buttons.
- In between the volume buttons there is a square power on/off button.
- Above the volume buttons, at the top right edge you will find a 3.5MM headphone jack.
- Directly opposite on the left edge of the Radio, there is a micro USB Charging port.
- Caution – it appears that the Radio will auto scan soon after you insert a charging cable. You should therefore, before charging, make sure that headphones are connected to enable an Antenna. Ensure you are in a good reception area for best results.
- Moving down on the left edge there are 2 tactile buttons similar to the volume buttons opposite. The top button is the mode button, used for switching from FM to DAB modes. The lower button is the Menu button used for accessing settings.
- The FM/DAB mode button also acts as the hold or lock button. Holding this down for a few seconds locks the buttons. Repeating this action unlocks.
- On the front of the Radio there are 3 tactile buttons.
- The top button with the recess hollow dip is the enter/preset button.
- Below this are 2 further buttons arranged at an angle which act as previous and next when moving stations or selecting presets.
The Radio should power on if you press and hold the power button for about 3 seconds. The Radio is set up so that on first operation, even when charging, it scans for DAB stations. It is important then to make sure you are in a reasonable reception area and have earphones connected as they act as the antenna.
If for whatever reason this scan fails it seems that if you press the menu key, this will bring up scan as the first option, pressing the enter button should then invoke a manual scan.
After the scan, which takes only a couple of minutes, you should hear a DAB station playing.
Pressing either the previous or next buttons once will put the Radio into station navigation mode. Further presses of the next or previous button will start to cycle you through the list of available stations. Pressing the enter button will start that station playing.
The stations are arranged alphabetically which facilitates location.
So if I am listening to 5 live and I want to change stations to Five Live Sports Extra, I simply press the next button twice, the first press puts the Radio into station select mode, the second press moves up one station. Pressing enter will start Five Live Sports Extra playing.
If I am listening to Five Live and I want to move 3 stations down to Radio 3 I press the previous button 4 times, and then press the enter button.
Station navigation is feasible, therefore, simply by remembering the number of presses needed to navigate between stations.
However the really powerful feature of the Radio is the Accessible Preset feature.
- Navigate to the station you want to preset.
- Hold down the bottom edge of the Enter button for a few seconds and release.
- Press the bottom edge of the Enter Button briefly again. This will enter you into a Preset area.
- For the first Preset you simply need to press the enter button again.
- For subsequent presets you will need to use the next and previous buttons to navigate to a “spare” Preset Slot before confirming your Preset choice with the press of the enter button. If you do not do this you will simply overwrite the Preset on which you have set and which you have probably landed.
- It may take a little trial and error but you should be able to set up a working list of Presets. 10 Preset Slots are available.
Recalling a Preset
- To recall a stored Preset simply press the bottom edge of the Enter button briefly.
- Now use the previous and next buttons to navigate between your stored Presets.
- Press the enter button to recall and play the selected Preset Station.
My instructions differ slightly from what appears to be the User Instruction Guide which I have located on the web. I have decided to recount what works for me here. For reference and a slightly alternative approach I provide a link to the User guide.
I have only limited used of the device in FM Mode. Essentially it works as most FM Radios of this type. Pressing the next and previous buttons moves through the frequencies in small steps. Holding down the previous and next buttons should auto jump you to the next available station with reasonable strong reception.
There are those who will quibble with my description of this device as Accessible. No part of the Menu system talks. You will not be able to audibly tell the time, identify station information, bit rate and other information. This wider informational functionality can certainly be achieved with other devices. This comes at a price. Normally this involved spending between £100 to£500 at a minimum using either a smart phone or specialist device. . The fact is that this Radio is perfectly accessible for the core function of locating and listening to radio stations. It provides easy access for a fraction of the cost. As an added benefit you do not require mobile phone coverage or pay for a data plan.
The battery life appears reasonable so far in the few days I have used this radio. The sound volume and quality is quite acceptable, to my impaired ears, for a device at this price range. I hope that others agree. At least, at £26, if you are disappointed, it will not break the bank.