digital radio – HDR-1

The HDR-1 from Sangean is a utilitarian clock radio with a high def receiver. Though the alarm has more functions than any of the other products in our lineup, it might be better to look elsewhere if you don’t like relying on one knob and the remote to control everything. Check out our top-rated digital radios, the I-Sonic ES2, iHD171 and HD-1.


The first thing we noticed about this digital radio was the lack of buttons. There is one knob and a remote which control every aspect of the radio. Without a host of buttons, it can be very difficult to navigate through all of the menus and submenus. To even reach the menus, you have to press the dial and then turn it from side to side. Since this dial also controls the volume, if you try to work it too quickly, you might accidently change the volume instead of scrolling through the menu.

There are 20 presets available on this digital radio, ten each for both AM and FM. Setting the presets is difficult unless you’re using the remote. Accessing the presets is also difficult without the remote. The remote, while handy, is easy to lose since it is so small and feels flimsy.

While the HD tuner of the digital radio works well, what we really took notice of in this digital radio is the clock and alarm. When setting the clock, you also set the date. With the date programmed in, you can choose the alarm to go off daily, on weekdays, on weekends or just once. Since there are two alarms available, you can set one to go off on weekends to get you to work on time and the other alarm to go off on weekends to let you sleep in a little more. You can also choose the audio source, which can be a beep, the radio or even music pulled from an auxiliary device. The problem we see with using an auxiliary device is that it would have to be on, and it would drain a lot of energy to leave the device on all night.

This digital radio has equalizer options. These options include flat, classical, rock, jazz and pop. Not only can you choose one of these options, but there is a unique switch in the back of the unit that will automatically switch the equalizer to flat. The flat sound is best for listening to speaking voices, so this feature is valuable for when you are listening to news stations. While this switch is turned to “News,” you can’t change the equalizer. There is also the option to set the treble and bass independently, but you can’t hear both alterations at the same time. You have to choose either bass or treble.

Support offered for this product in the user manual is limited to a few notes here and there about errors or common issues when trying to use the unit. The website lists email addresses and telephone numbers but no FAQs. The limited warranty for this digital radio product is 90 days.

The HDR-1 from Sangean is a unique digital radio. If you want a comprehensive alarm clock and don’t mind the non-existent buttons, this is the radio for you.