It is 38x22x9cm, I give the width figure as 9cm as that is the maximum but at the top it is only half that as a maximum.
There are 11 buttons on the top that can do most things. The remote control is 18x5x2cm the size of remote normally given to TV’s and other such devices, it can control everything except opening and closing the CD door.
A 3cm protrusion forms part of the back towards the bottom of the unit to help balance and also allow the power lead to be inserted on the right side, the left side has a screw fitting DAB/FM aerial to complete the connections.
As a FM radio it is excellent with tuning easy to do, it is possible to have presets. As a DAB radio it is not so good I found only a limited range of stations and reception was not great. The display is a 7x2cm black on blue window set above the sliding CD door. On FM this shows ‘FM 105.40’ making good use of the available 10 characters. However with DAB the display is one of the worst I have seen, ‘BBC RADI’ tells you nothing when scrolling to find your station. Yes once you have selected your choice of station it scrolls to say ‘BBC RADIO 2’ or whatever you are tuned to but with numerous BBC stations fast scrolling is not possible. Therefore perhaps for the first DAB offering, presets (20 possible) are not a luxury but here a necessary.
The sliding door for the CD bay (opens right to left) only partially exposes the mechanism meaning the left side of the CD needs inserting first not a great problem but it is something that you need to get used to doing to avoid problems.
The iPod dock sits below the CD door and just above the base of the unit, you need to touch it to make it open up, this expands 5cm to allow you to insert any iPod with the 30 pin connector. Your iPod will charge all the time it is in the dock providing there is power going to the unit. A very nice feature is that you have full control over your iPod using the Panasonic remote control, of course if you are over the other side of the room you might need glasses to read the display of your iPod while you are scrolling through its numerous menus.
With the exception of DAB the sound quality was excellent and the built in two speakers (either side of the CD unit) give excellent sound for a small unit. Should you want extra bass this is possible using the ‘D Bass’ button on the remote. There is also another bass/treble button that allows you to get the sound you want for your personal choice.
It is possible to use this unit as an output for an MP3 player or other such device using the ‘Aux’ socket, for personal listening there is also a 3.5mm socket for earbuds or headphones. These are mounted side by side on the back of the unit near the top.
It has a sleep timer (30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes) also an alarm mysteriously called a ‘Play Timer’.
So what could be a very nice unit is spoiled by a number of niggles but the main problem is the wire aerial that gave naff DAB reception despite me trying several different positions, this is not normally a problem with DAB in my area. Maybe an extending rod aerial would improve things but other wire aerial have worked.
Doing my Internet searches found the Panasonic SC-HC20DBEBK at a best price of £136.65 including free delivery from the first link below.
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