KitSound Swing Mini Portable Radio Review

Summary:
A stylish and inexpensive FM radio with limited features and mediocre sound

Buy it online:
£29.98 on Amazon.co.uk

The KitSound Swing Mini is a retro 1920’s-style FM radio with a leatherette casing that comes in a choice of colours: black, blue, red or beige. It can be plugged into the mains or used as a portable radio with batteries. While this radio looks fantastic, how does it sound and perform? Let’s find out…

Features

  • Mains or battery powered with 4 x AA batteries
  • Carrying handle
  • LCD display
  • Alarm
  • Sleep and snooze functions
  • Telescopic aerial
  • Aux input
  • Save up to 20 preset stations
  • Preset station function
  • Temperature reading

Dimensions: 17.9 cm wide x 11.5 cm high x 7.2 cm deep
Weight: 630 g

Performance and use

When you turn the KitSound Swing on for the first time, you have to set the time and manually. This is less convenient than many digital radios which set the correct time and date automatically.

The sound quality is acceptable for the size and price, but it lacks bass and sounds quite tinny. The radio is fine for casual listening, especially on speech stations, but it is quite disappointing for listening to music.

You can save up to 20 preset radio stations, which is more than enough for an FM radio. Saving and accessing stations is quite fiddly though—it would be better if the radio had 5 dedicated preset buttons rather than requiring you to use a menu. Setting the date and the alarm is also quite fiddly and unintuitive, which is a shame.

The radio comes with a user manual (you can also find it online here). It’s generally clear, but you may need to read and re-read some of the instructions to figure out how to use some of the radio’s functions.

The screen is only illuminated when the radio is on, which isn’t very convenient if you want to use it as a clock. On the plus side, it means the display won’t disturb you at night, in contrast to many other radios that have a bright blue display light on all the time.

The KitSound Swing looks very stylish, and you’d expect it to cost more than it does.

The KitSound Swing looks very stylish, and you’d expect it to cost more than it does. The strap seems to be made from real leather, and the radio’s build quality is decent for the price.

The radio has some useful functions including a sleep timer so you can set the radio to play for 30 minutes or so and then switch itself off as you drift off to sleep. The KitSound Swing’s most unusual feature is the thermometer that shows you the temperature in either Celsius or Fahrenheit.

You can connect also your phone via the aux-in cable and use the radio as a speaker. This is very handy, but sometimes there is interference which disrupts the sound.

The KitSound Swing can be plugged into the mains or used with four AA batteries, though it gets through batteries very quickly so you’ll probably want to use mains power most of the time.

Pros

  • Nice and small
  • Funky and quirky design, with a good choice of colours
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be used with batteries
  • Tells the temperature

Cons

  • You can only set one alarm
  • No digital radio—just FM
  • No headphone socket
  • LCD display can’t be dimmed
  • Time is only illuminated when the radio is on

Verdict

If you want a stylish FM radio for a rock-bottom price, the KitSound Swing Mini is a good choice, but it does have some serious drawbacks. While it has some nice features such as a thermometer and a carrying handle, overall the KitSound Swing Mini feels limited when compared to other radios. There’s no DAB radio or headphone jack, and the radio only has one alarm where many others have two.

This radio’s sound quality is also quite disappointing, though it’s roughly in line with other small, cheap radios. To conclude, the KitSound Swing is fine if you want an inexpensive and funky retro radio, but you should be aware of its limitations.

Similar radios

One of the best FM radios in this price range is the Roberts R9993. It’s not as stylish as the KitSound Swing, but it has better sound quality and also lets you listen to MW and LW wavebands as well as FM.

If you’re looking for something that works better as a clock radio, you might be interested in the Sony ICF-C1 FM/AM Clock Radio. It offers two alarms in contrast to the KitSound Swing Mini’s one, and also has a projector so you can see the time projected onto the wall while you’re in bed. For some more clock radios to consider see our roundup of the best clock radios here.

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