Sony ICF-P26 Portable AM/FM Radio Review

The Sony ICF-P26 is a cheap AM/FM radio that’s small enough to fit in a large pocket and comes with a built-in speaker. If you want a radio you can easily carry around the home or take with you on trips, it could be a good choice.

Let’s see what this little radio can do…

Features

  • AM/FM radio
  • Headphone socket
  • Hand strap for carrying it around
  • LED lights for tuning and battery status
  • Uses 2 AA batteries

Dimensions: 11.9 cm tall x 7 cm wide x 3.8 cm deep
Weight: 191 g

Performance and use

This radio might be too large for your trouser or shirt pocket, but it should fit in a coat pocket. Obviously you will need more space if you want to extend the telescopic aerial.

Using the radio is easy. On one side there’s a volume knob and on the other there’s a tuning knob. You use the slider switch at the side to choose between AM and FM and to turn the radio off.

On the front of the radio there are two LED lights: one that shows how much battery you have and another to show when you’ve tuned a station in.

The radio doesn’t offer DAB, which means you will have a smaller choice of stations than you’d get from a pocket DAB radio like the Majority Petersfield. On the plus side, the Sony ICF-P26 has roughly 10 times the battery life of a DAB radio, and can be used for around 100 hours on fully charged AA batteries.

The sound through the built-in speaker isn’t great, but if you mainly use it for speech stations like Radio 4 or Radio 5 Live, this shouldn’t be a problem. The radio comes with a headphone socket, so you can connect some high-quality headphones to get a better sound.

Pros

  • Takes 2 AA batteries, which can be rechargeables. This makes the radio cheaper and more convenient to use than many others which use less common and more expensive types of batteries.
  • Easy to tune
  • Good size for travelling
  • Very good value for money
  • Long battery life, and can take rechargeable batteries
  • Extendable aerial is useful for improving the signal
  • Flat base means it’s unlikely to topple over even when the aerial is extended
  • Battery indicator alerts you when the batteries are running low

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer DAB radio. See these pocket DAB radios if you need DAB.
  • Built-in speaker doesn’t sound very impressive
  • Mainly made from plastic and therefore feels quite cheap

Verdict

If you’re looking for a small and inexpensive pocket AM/FM radio, the Sony ICF-P26 is an excellent choice. It can be used with headphones or the built-in speaker, and is small and light enough to take with you anywhere.

Similar radios

One of the most similar radios in terms of price and features is the Roberts Radios Sports 925. It’s slightly more expensive at the time of writing, but arguably has better sound quality.

If you’d prefer a pocket radio DAB radio, the Majority Romsey is a good choice. Like the Sony ICF-P26, it has a built-in speaker. You can also see this roundup of the best pocket DAB radios in the UK.

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