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We find personal stereos to be an essential part of the modern lifestyle. However, it can be hard to find one with consistent performance.
This is why in today’s post, our main focus will be on Jensen CD-490 and its various aspects. We’ll also reflect on its value for money based on multiple tests.
Sangean’s U3 is a highly durable radio that you can carry anywhere with you. It features a weather-resistant body and a powerful battery. Moreover, you can also connect your phones and other digital devices with it.
Quick Summary of Jensen CD-490
When it comes to portable radios, Jensen outshines its competition. The same is the case with its CD-490 stereo.
It is part stereo and part radio. We found its dual speaker setup to be sufficient for both purposes.
Is it easy to carry this radio?
Despite its size, our team found it to be quite convenient to carry. It features a handle that you can use to carry it around on your outdoor adventures.
Moreover, you can also retract the handle to use it for indoor purposes. It fits in seamlessly with the top end of the radio.
What can I use this radio for?
As a matter of fact, you can also use it as a regular stereo. It features multiple ways to play your digital media.
You can even play tracks without an AC power source. This is due to the fact it uses a DC power source as well.
Check out the detailed review of Jensen MR-550 and find out if it’s better than Jensen CD-490 or not.
Features and Benefits
The first feature we must discuss is the portability of the Jensen CD-490. Most stereos with radio features are powered by an AC power source.
Due to this reason, you can’t carry them anywhere especially outdoors without an AC outlet. CD-490 counters this problem with the use of C-cell batteries.
How many batteries does it use?
Our team found that the CD-490 uses a pair of C-cell batteries. You can put it in the socket available at the back of the stereo.
When it comes to compatibility, we found Jensen’s CD-490 to be quite versatile. It provides three different ways to listen to audio.
You can use the FM/AM channels for radio or the CD player to play tracks from a CD. Other than that, we must also mention that you can use an auxiliary cord as well.
Which devices can I connect with the aux port?
Our team members tested various devices and found no compatibility issues. You can connect smartphones and laptops without any audio delay.
Next feature of the CD-490 we must mention is its durability. We conducted multiple indoor and outdoor tests to check the durability of its various components.
The results showed that the entire body of this radio is made from high-quality plastics. It can easily survive multiple weather conditions.
Is the Jenson CD-490 waterproof?
While it isn’t entirely water-proof, you can still use it in moist weather. The speakers have a built-in layer to keep the electronics safe.
Lastly, we must mention the multiple control buttons present on this stereo. You can use these buttons to control everything related to your audio output.
Other than that, our team noticed that it has a mini-display as well. It displays information related to your radio channels, volume, and current track.
What functions can these buttons perform?
You can use these buttons to skip, rewind, repeat, or search for radio stations. Moreover, it has separate knobs for volume control.
Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Jenson CD-490
The first factor you need to keep in mind is the weight of this portable radio/stereo. While it is easy to carry with its handle, the radio itself is heavy.
It is suitable for indoor use. However, if you are on outdoor adventures like a hike, it can be hard for you to carry around.
Next factor is the price of Jensen’s CD-490. Our team compared it with similar other options available on the market and found it to be quite affordable.
You can even get it at a cheaper price during sales seasons like Black Friday or New Year. We must also mention that the batteries aren’t included, you have to purchase them separately.
Lastly, we must mention the utility of CD-490. While it is essentially a radio, you can still use it as an entertainment system.
It enables you to play the music of your choice. Moreover, the speakers are powerful enough to provide high-quality audio for a small gathering.
Pros and Cons
- Highly durable
- Foldable carry handle
- FM/AM radio antenna
- AC/DC power compatibility
- Multi-band speakers
- Only available in one color
After our extensive testing, some of our team members decided to look at online reviews. At first glance, they noticed that most of the reviews for CD-490 were positive.
Many users stated that this radio easily survived the test of time. It took them multiple years to wear it down due to its high-quality electronic components.
Some users also praised the audio quality of its speakers. They stated it was sufficient for personal use regardless of an indoor or outdoor setting.
Our team members also found multiple reviews that mentioned its value for money. They praised the quality entertainment it can provide for such a cheap price.
Check out more Jensen product reviews on our website.
Jenson CD-490 Alternatives (Recommendations)
#1: Best Compact Radio – FosPower PWB-2736 Review
For our first alternative, the team picked PWB-2736 from FosPower. The main reason for it is the compact design.
You can virtually carry it anywhere, especially during your outdoor adventures. It can easily fit inside your backpack and other luggage.
What sort of features does it have?
We must mention that the PWB uses a DC power source. You can use the built-in crank lever or the solar panel to charge.
Moreover, we also noticed that you can charge your phone with its power bank feature. The battery inside it is powerful enough to play the radio and charge your phone at the same time.
Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy FosPower PWB-2736
As we have already mentioned that this radio is compact. In terms of weight, it is close to 300 grams.
Besides that, the lightweight aspect also enables you to carry it around in your hand without any fatigue.
Our team compared PWB-2736 with multiple options and found it to be quite cheap. Given its features, it provides great value for money.
Other than that, you also get a lifetime warranty with it. So, if any feature stops working, you can simply exchange it for a new one.
Despite its small size, the PWB can come in handy in multiple situations. You can use its radio for FM and AM channels.
Furthermore, it has two built-in LED lights that can be used for outdoor camping. We tested the LED lights and found that they can perform for 2 days straight off a full charge.
- Highly portable
- Dual LED lights
- Works as a power bank
- Can be used without batteries
- Easy to use
- Sound distorts on high volume
Best Compact Radio
The best compact radio is the FosPower PWB-2736. This is because it is small in size and can be carried anywhere. It also has a built-in power bank to charge your phones and tablets. Moreover, it has two LED lights for outdoor use.
#2: Best Durable Radio – Sangean U3 Review
When it comes to radios, durability is an important aspect. This is why our team handpicked the Sangean U3 because it features a rugged body.
We noticed that the U3 is specifically designed for outdoor use. It comes with a protective cage and weather resistance.
What other features does U3 provide?
Other than that, we must mention that it comes with an auto-scan radio feature. You can tune into hundreds of radio channels with the press of a button.
Moreover, you can also keep track of the time and radio stations with the help of its LED display.
Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Sangean U3
In terms of weight, we found the U3 to be quite heavy. This is mainly due to its bulky size and protective roll cage.
While you can carry it around in your hands, it can be difficult to fit inside a backpack.
After a thorough comparison, we found that the U3 falls in the expensive category of radios. The main reason for it is the highly durable electronics and body structure.
However, you can get it at a cheaper price during online seasonal sales.
Our team conducted multiple tests and determined that U3 is a highly useful piece of equipment for outdoor adventures. You can use its radio, built-in alarm system, and LED flashlight.
Moreover, you can also connect your phone with the help of an aux cord.
- Highly durable body
- Powerful speaker
- AC and DC powered
- Available in 2 unique colors
- Weather resistant
- Difficult to carry
Best Durable Radio
The best durable radio is the Sangean U3 because it features roll cage protection for its body. You can take it for outdoor adventures like hiking and camping. Moreover, it comes with a powerful speaker with dynamic bass.
Our experts have tested and reviewed the biggest radio brands in the industry. Don’t forget to check them out.
Now, we’ll mention some important factors you need to keep in mind before buying any portable radio. Let’s check them out in detail.
While any radio can be portable, weight plays an important part in portability. We highly recommend that you purchase a radio that is lightweight and easy to carry around.
This will enable you to carry your radio in your backpack and make your outdoor adventures easier. Furthermore, it will leave space for you to carry other essential items.
Next factor that you need to keep in check is the price. Even though portable radios are generally cheap, you can always find a cheaper option with similar features.
We recommend that you do market research and compare multiple options before making a final decision. This will enable you to find the best value for your money.
Lastly, you need to check for the utility a radio can provide. Besides the FM/AM utility, you need to get a radio with secondary features like an LED flashlight or a power bank.
Such features can come in handy in various outdoor conditions. We suggest that you get a radio with either of the aforementioned features.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Let’s check out some frequently asked questions from people around the web.
Is an antenna necessary for a radio?
While radio antennas aren’t entirely necessary, they help with better reception. It significantly increases the clarity and reduces the audio delay. Moreover, you can access otherwise inaccessible radio channels.
Does the direction of the radio antenna matters?
In some situations, the direction of the radio antenna can help with better reception. However, you need to keep in mind that the antenna’s head shouldn’t be blocked by anything. It will hinder single receptors and reduce audio quality.
Is weather resistance necessary for portable radios?
You can get radios with or without weather-resistant bodies. Although it also depends on what sort of setting you are gonna use the radio in. If you are going to use the radio indoors entirely, you might not need weather resistance.
Should I get a radio with FM or AM?
FM and AM are used for unique purposes. On one hand, FM is used for local radio channels while AM is mainly used for international radio channels. Generally, it is good practice to have both options available on your radio.
How do I change radio channels from FM to AM?
You can simply increase the frequency of your radio and it will shift from FM to AM. FM channels are generally available on the lower end of the spectrum. Since AM signals are transmitted over long distances, they are present on the higher end of the spectrum.
Is FM better or AM?
FM channels are broadcasted over short distances which is why they provide better audio quality. On the other hand, AM channels are broadcasted over long distances but have lower audio quality.
What is the optimal radio size?
As a rule of thumb, you should get a radio that can easily fit inside your backpack. This will enable you to carry it around without any trouble. Moreover, for personal use, you don’t need a big radio.
How do I reduce the static in my radio’s output?
One easy way to reduce static in audio is to make sure that the antenna is elevated. It’ll provide better reception. Moreover, make sure that you are in an open space. In some cases, walls and other objects can hinder reception.
How do I clean my radio?
In most cases, you can simply clean your radio with the help of a clean fabric. If there are dust stains, you can use rubbing alcohol and gently rub them off. Make sure that you don’t use any foreign liquids that aren’t suitable for plastics.
Do radios work better at night or day?
The performance for radio channels is based on FM and AM nature. While FM channels generally work better during the day, AM channels work significantly better during nighttime.
Are radio waves harmful?
In moderate use, radios have no impact on your health. They are safe to use and carry with you. However, prolonged exposure can lead some to health issues. These waves can cause insomnia, headaches, and vision impairment.
How can I enhance the audio quality of my radio?
In some cases, you can increase the audio quality by replacing the power source. If your radio is AC compatible, try to use it instead of the DC source. Otherwise, you can try and replace the batteries with new ones.
How do restore my radio to factory settings?
Most radios come with a built-in restore feature that you can use. Simply turn off the radio and disconnect the DC power source. After that, hold the power button for approximately 10-15 seconds. It should revert your radio to its radio settings.
Wrapping Things Up…
After thorough testing, our team has concluded that Jensen CD-490 is a high-end radio. You can use it for an indoor and outdoor setting with no difference in performance.
With this, we come to the end of our review of the Jensen CD-490. We hope this information proves to be beneficial for you.
Do let us know which radio is your first choice for outdoor adventures.
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