Even though time pushes forth and technology progresses behind it, that does not change the fact that many people have spent plenty of money and made wonderful memories during the use of older technology. Two major forms of technology that fit this bill are radio and CD players. Both of which have achieved a romantic, if quaint, status in our modern world of smartphones and social media.
Though these may be less sophisticated forms of technology, they often have advantages over their more modern counterparts. For instance, CD players do not require an internet connection to playback their audio files. On top of that, both CD players and radio are generally much cheaper than most of the modern technology we see today.
- Best Portable Radio CD Players 2018
- 1. Sony ZSRS60BT – Best Portable Radio CD Player (Editor’s Choice)
- 2. Jensen CD-490 – Best Portable Radio with CD Player (People’s Choice)
- 3. Tyler TAU105-NBL – Best Portable AM FM Radio CD Player
- 4. JENSEN CD-545 – Best Portable CD Radio Cassette Player
- 5. Sylvania SRCD243M – Best Portable Digital Radio CD Player (Best Price)
- Best Portable Radio CD Player Reviews – Buyer’s Guide
Best Portable Radio CD Players 2018
Still, figuring out which is the best portable radio cd player can be a difficult and confusing task. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best portable radio cd players, highlighting what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide. So you can find the best portable radio CD player to suit your needs.
|4W||MP3, WMA, CDAA||NFC, USB, 3.5 mm Aux|
|3W||CDAA||3.5 mm Aux|
|Tyler TAU105-NBL||Unk||CDAA||3.5 mm Aux|
|JENSEN CD-545||Unk||CDDA||3.5 mm Aux|
|Unk||MP3, CDDA||3.5 mm Aux|
1. Sony ZSRS60BT – Best Portable Radio CD Player (Editor’s Choice)
Sony is one of the most well respected and storied company on our list with a history stretching back over 7 decades. In that time, Sony has been responsible for producing some of the most iconic audio playback devices including the Walkman versions of both the cassette tape and CD player.
Unfortunately, this means that Sony can lean on its prestige to justify a higher cost than many of its competitors. The Sony ZSRS60BT made our pick for the Best portable radio CD player.
Has Unique Connectivity
One of the best qualities of the Sony ZSRS60BT, which is unlikely to be immediately apparent is the fact that it is compatible with NFC. This is essentially Android’s answer to the wireless Bluetooth system and does not even require you to manually connect the devices. Any phones with NFC capability will automatically connect to the Sony wirelessly. On top of that, this portable radio CD player also comes with a USB port to play digital files and has both a 3.5 mm aux input and output jack. As icing on the cake, the Sony ZSRS60BT even supports the option of recording the CD tracks onto your USB flash drive.
This portable radio CD player can play CD, CD-R, and CD-RWs without any issue. The Sony ZSRS60BT can also play MP3s and WMA files from the USB port though the playback of that function is not consistent. You can play those files via the 3.5 mm aux input jack. Finally, the 4W RMS speakers actually end up producing the best sound quality than over products that we reviewed.
2. Jensen CD-490 – Best Portable Radio with CD Player (People’s Choice)
In fact, Jensen has the oldest history out of any company that we reviewed stretching back over a century. In perhaps an even more surprising twist, Jensen is actually also responsible for the first loudspeaker. Which only helps explain how their products have a tendency to produce better sound quality or DAC than many of their competitors.
A Great Value
On top of that, the 3W RMS speakers actually end up producing better sound quality than over half of the other products that we reviewed even some who have more impressive speaker specs. Finally, this is a convenient portable radio CD player as it is a bit more portable than most. It also features a clean user interface that is easier to use than some.
Some Concerning Drawbacks
That said, it should be noted that while Jensen may specialize in audio playback devices specifically, they are far better at handling direct audio signals than they are reading audio signals. As such, the CD playback on this portable radio CD player can be a bit hit or miss.
For one, the lifespan of the CD player’s head is not noted for its durability though this seems to be luck of the draw and likely influenced by how often transport it from one location to another. Still, even if the head remains intact, the laser is not the best at reading older CDs.
3. Tyler TAU105-NBL – Best Portable AM FM Radio CD Player
Though not exactly unique, Tyler is one of a few companies that we reviewed, which utilizes an only online business model. This is generally a good thing as it enables the manufacturer to save on overhead costs that they generally pass onto their customers in an effort to compete with more well-established brands.
That said, it is important to keep in mind that Tyler does not actually specialize in manufacturing audio playback devices specifically or even electronics more generally something, which definitely shows. The Tyler TAU105-NBL made our pick for the Best portable AM FM radio CD player.
Is Easy to Transport
While all of the portable radio CD players that we reviewed are ostensibly portable, some of them are a little bit easier to transport than others. This quality generally has 2 primary components and 1 secondary component.
Another Player with Issues
One thing to keep in mind with portable radio CD players is that you often get what you pay for. If you want to save some money and purchase a less expensive portable radio CD player supporting digital format MP3, then you need to be prepared for some limitations.
One of the biggest potential concerns is that is has a fairly tinny sound and does not truly replicate a full range of frequency response. This means that if you want to listen to music that is bass heavy, chances are you will not be able to hear a fair bit of the lower frequency ranges.
4. JENSEN CD-545 – Best Portable CD Radio Cassette Player
That will still play them or people that still use them. That said, there is even an older form of technology than CDs, though not quite as old as radio, that some people still want: cassette tapes. Thankfully, the JENSEN CD-545 offers all 3, so you do not have to choose between your nostalgia. The Jensen CD-545 arguably the best portable CD radio cassette player that we saw.
The Only Cassette Player Reviewed
Still a Good Value
Of course, just because the JENSEN CD-545 offers a cassette tape playback option does not mean that this portable radio CD player skimped out on the other functions. In fact, the JENSEN CD-545 has one of the more durable and reliable CD playback functions that we saw. Which may come as a bit of a surprise considering how some of Jensen’s other portable radio CD players cannot always boast the same. On top of that, this best portable radio CD cassette player also plays all types of CD discs.
5. Sylvania SRCD243M – Best Portable Digital Radio CD Player (Best Price)
Like some of the other companies on our list, Sylvania has a storied history that extends over 7 decades into the past. However, unlike most of those other companies, Sylvania can be said to be a brand in transition.
As technology changes, Sylvania seeks to keep up with progress. As such, the Sylvania Home Electronics department is not even a part of the greater Sylvania corporation anymore having instead been sold off to the consumer-grade Curtis International.
Lowest Price Around
There is simply no better way to advertise the Sylvania Srcd243m than by beginning with the price, which is not only the lowest that we saw. But this portable radio CD player is actually 33 percent less expensive than its next closest competitor.
Expect Some Issues
Still, when you go bargain shopping for portable radio CD players, it is not all uncommon to find a lemon. For the Sylvania Srcd243m, that generally shows itself most in the CD playback function which is noted for being middling at best.
Sylvania Srcd243m portable radio CD player may have difficulty playing some of your older CDs especially those in less than pristine condition. Though it is easy to use and even boasts a bass boost function. This portable radio CD player also has issues with not producing the best sound quality out of the other products reviewed.
Best Portable Radio CD Player Reviews – Buyer’s Guide
Since this article seeks to examine a specific type of product, there are actually a number of different qualities. That will all be either more or less important depending on which function or feature matters most to you.
As such, there are a couple aspects that you must consider when selecting you portable radio CD player. For one, what kind of CD formats do you want the CD player to be able to read? The standard function is to simply read the CDDA file format on a CD.
However, with CD-R and CD-RW discs, your CD player will need to be able to read those specifically. Keep in mind, those types of discs will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. So even if a CD player boasts playing CD-R or CD-RW discs, that may only be true for certain disc manufacturers.
The other important consideration regarding the CD playback involves the arrangement of the Cd player’s head and laser. Essentially, if the head and laser are not up to snuff, then there is a good chance that even a brand new portable radio CD player may have difficulty playing older CDs. In this case, you will want a head that is magnetic to keep the CD flat during playback, and a laser firmware with HD capability though the latter is somewhat rare.
One thing to look for with the CD player portion of this category of product is the ability to play file formats that are not CDDA. Keep in mind, CDDA is the standard file format for all types of CDs. But the different types of CDs are also able to store MP3s and WMA files. That said, just because a CD can store those file types does not mean that a CD player can play them. The reason you want a CD player that can play these digital formats is that they are significantly smaller in size compared to CDDA files. In fact, the same disk storage space used for CDDA files can hold dozens of high-quality WMA files and hundreds of high-quality MP3 files.
Though radio and CD playback may be a bit outdated, that does not mean that a portable radio CD player cannot also keep up with the times. One of the best ways of accomplishing this is by including different forms of connectivity to allow you to use the portable radio CD player to play audio signals coming from different devices. That said, there are a fair number of different connectivity options. Some of which are more common, others of which are more convenient.
3.5 mm Aux Jack
This is the most common type of connection for a portable radio CD player to have. It uses the same type of hardware that your headphones use and some portable radio CD players even have a single jack for both 3.5 mm aux input and output that is used for headphone.
This will allow you to connect any smart device to the portable radio CD player and play music from that device.
This type of connectivity comes in 2 different forms: USB and micro SD. USB is by far the most common type of memory connectivity to be found on a portable radio CD player.
It is far more likely than not that a portable radio CD player will accept a USB flash drive. Micro SD cards are not as popular either in general use or with portable radio CD players. But they are used quite often for live recording devices like cameras or microphones.
This is the least common type of connectivity to be found on a portable radio CD player. But it is also the most coveted. This is because a wireless connection is simply more convenient than any other. This allows you to stream an audio signal to the portable radio CD player without having to worry about tying up your smart device if you do not use the CD or radio playback function.
As we can see, there is not going to be a single portable radio CD player that is going to satisfy all people equally. Beyond the differences in price, there are plenty of other qualities and features that will distinguish one product from another, and you will have to carefully consider, which features are the most important to you since no product reviewed comes with all of them.
If you are looking for the best portable radio CD player that provides the simple CD/Radio player with decent radio reception, we recommend the Sony ZSRS60BT. It is very easy to set up a lot of preset radio stations with great sound quality. This is the only best portable radio CD player we reviewed that features the standard NFC connectivity. You can also connect your iOS device or any other devices for additional music.
If you are not looking to spend quite so much money, then we recommend the Jensen CD-490. This portable CD player does have a solid radio reception as well as 3 RMS watt speakers. Though it is a bit more expensive than some of the budget-minded products that we reviewed. It’s can play only CDDA format and has better sound quality than most.