Sharp Tokyo DR-P420 Review Bluetooth DAB Plus Radio Speaker

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The Sharp Tokyo DR-P420 is a compact portable radio that you can take anywhere - perfect when gardening work, hospital stay or camping trip!

Being a DAB+ radio, the Sharp Tokyo is capable of receiving more digital radio stations (at higher quality too) than a standard DAB radio. The Sharp Tokyo digital radio can be powered two ways: via removable AA batteries or via micro USB power connection. Being a low power USB device, the Sharp Tokyo can be powered via a computer USB port and power bank, which is useful for portable audio.

On the front of the Sharp Tokyo DR-P420 radio, there is a large perforated concave speaker grille, as well as 6 physical buttons and one large plastic knob for volume control and changing modes. The knob is clickable and has notches, which allows you to adjust volume in gradual increments. The knob sits on top of a 360 degree continuous potentiometer without stops; hence the knob rotates infinitely. 
On the back side of the Sharp Tokyo DR-P420, you find the battery compartment that accepts four AA batteries, a micro USB DC input port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a retro style adjustable metal antenna, which extends out up to 51cm long and retracts down to 11cm. The antenna swivels around 360 degrees.

In alarm mode, you can adjust the alarm duration, volume level, day/time schedule and alarm sound source. There aren't any ambient sounds built-in but, you can choose DAB or FM source for your alarm, instead of the buzzer. The alarm sound sets in increments ("crescendo") - meaning gradually from low volume to max volume.

As well as volume control, you get play/pause and track skipping control for bluetooth mode. You can manually find radio stations or perform an auto scan. The Sharp Tokyo DAB supports dynamic range compression (DRC) mode, which automaticlaly equalizes the loudness of the audio of the radio station broadcast. It is, effectively, a volume equalizer that automatically equalizes the loudest and quietest parts of the radio broadcast without blasting out the volume. 
 If you have an old DAB radio, upgrading to the Sharp Tokyo can be worth it to gain access to better and newer quality radio stations many of which are launching using the newer DAB+ format. That said, DAB radios aren't going obsolete anytime soon. You can easily upgrade an old DAB radio to DAB+ via software - that is if the DAB radio supports and not all do. If you're in the UK, there is currently over 50 DAB/DAB+ radio stations, which is minuscule compared to FM radio coverage (500+).

The Tokyo radio can also double as a wired speaker. You can wire it to a phone via the 3.5mm port and play wired audio that way. In all, you can play DAB radio, FM radio, wired audio (via cable) and bluetooth so, you listen to audio wirelessly via a Bluetooth-enabled device (e.g phone). The bluetooth chip inside the Tokyo DAB radio only supports standard bluetooth but has absolutely bluetooth volume support, which means you can adjust the volume of the radio remotely.
The Sharp Tokyo DR-P420 radio has a backlit LCD display, which cannot be turned off but can be dimmed down. The dimensions of the Tokyo DAB radio are 17cm x 7cm deep x 9cm high and 382 grams in weight. The LCD display measures 6.5cm horizontally x 1.5cm vertically. On the bottom, there are four thick rubber feet that double as isolation pads and raiser feet to elevate the radio off of the desk.

DAB radios aren't everyone's cup of tea but, the Tokyo radio may just be the ticket for most, thanks to supporting DAB+ and FM, which is far superior in terms of sound quality. DAB is great for listening to stations like Talksport but for listening to stations like BBC Radio 2, Radio 4 or Wave 105 (here on the south coast of UK) FM is the better choice. FM provides better coverage and superior sound with warmer bass and cleaner upper harmonics (e.g. cymbals, clarinets, etc), which sound unlistenable via DAB. 
Potential deal breakers
  • Micro USB connectivity
  • No passthrough charging for the AA batteries
  • No microSD card slot
  • No USB plug & play support for PC use
  • No bluetooth AAC support
  • Small bass
  • No mobile app support
  • No built-in rechargeable battery
  • Only 2 watts RMS 
  • No AM radio support
  • Not waterproof - not suitable for shower
  • Not as appealing as Internet radio
  • No built-in mic for calls

Selling points
  • Wired & wireless support
  • Can be used with and without AA batteries
  • Removable AA batteries
  • Low power radio - only 5 watts to run
  • 3.5mm headphone jack 
  • Telescopic metal antenna
  • Can store up to 20 DAB stations & 20 FM radio stations
  • Adjustable sleep time
  • Lightweight 
  • It's DAB+ (better than standard DAB)
  • Alarm volume can be adjusted
  • Notched volume knob
  • Time/date display
  • Manual and auto scan search for DAB/FM station
  • Adjustable dynamic range compression (DRC) mode
  • Prune mode to delete old digital radio stations
  • Comprehensive user manual guide
 Accessories included with the radio are a 1.2 meter long micro USB cable. You can buy the Sharp Tokyo DR-P420 DAB+ FM radio from amazon and Sharp Consumer.

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