Retekess PR15

The Retekess PR15 is not a new model but is worth checking out as it packs a lot into its tiny size. Measuring a mere 3 ½” x2” x 5/8” it is a true pocket size radio and is dwarfed by the Sony ICF-P27 which seems like a small radio until you see the PR15. Despite its tiny size it is surprisingly usable, featuring not only standard AM and FM but also NOAA Weather band. I got mine from eBay for $17.99 with free shipping…it seems to no longer be available (as of November 2022) on Amazon.

Because of its tiny size and price this will be an informal look at what the PR15 is and what it isn’t. It is not a DXing, big sounding radio. It IS a truly pocketable tiny radio covering standard AM, FM and NOAA Weather band. There are only three controls – a top-mounted On/Off/Volume thumbwheel, a Tuning thumbwheel and Band Selector on the right side, and a top-mounted earphone jack. It runs on two AAA batteries and it is sensitive enough to pull in your typical local AM stations. It will also let you hear some regional grade signals but with a pretty high noise level…some nighttime skip is there on AM as well. Clearly it is best for local reception. FM reception is a bit stronger and it will pull in local and regional stations you customarily listen to but again, larger, more expensive radios are obviously better. The Weather Band is also reasonably sensitive and easy to tune and I was surprised that it pulled in 3 of the 4 Weather stations I can receive here which is not bad at all. This is the smallest radio with Weather Band I have tested.

Left: Sony ICF-P27 – Right: Retekess PR15

The sound is typical for such a small radio…fine for utility use although it doesn’t sound as good as my phone. Luckily though the sound is pretty good through earbuds. FM is mono but the radio does have a stereo jack so you will get audio through both stereo earbuds. Another handy feature is that when using earbuds the cord becomes the FM/Weather antenna so you don’t have to extend the whip antenna…a thoughtful feature. There is a red Tune LED to indicate when stations are properly tuned in, and there is also a handy wrist strap.

Conclusion: The main feature of the Retekess PR15 is its tiny size and the fact that is adds the NOAA Weather band to regular AM and FM reception. For a radio you can actually stick in a pocket it can be a very useful and if you have reasonable expectations for a truly tiny, sub $20 radio you might find it a cool companion.

Conditionally Recommended

Jay Allen

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