Two Inexpensive MP3 Players – Geson RV-155 Pro & Aocome L-088 AM

Or When Is A Radio Not A Radio?

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Once again, I am taking a look at two very inexpensive MP3 players which also happen to contain AM/FM radios. These days, such devices are often referred to as “speakers” rather than as radios or MP3 players although their poorly translated descriptions do give us the general idea:

GESON RM-155Pro AM FM Radio Portable Mini USB Speaker MP3 Music Player SupportMicro SD/TF Auto Scan Save LED Display USB Transmit Data and Sound Card Function, Rechargeable BL-5C Battery (Blue)

Similarly, the Aocome’s description reads:

AM FM Portable Pocket Radio Battery Operated – with Best Reception. AM FM Compact USB Rechargeable Radios Music Player Support Micro SD/TF Card Slot (Blue)

It is also interesting that you have to search to find a model name (L-088 AM) for the Aocome – it is buried far down in the Amazon listing and does not appear on the Instruction Sheet although it is on the box.

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I will forgo the usual features and specifications on these because they are definitely not performance-oriented radios and in fact I didn’t even buy them as radios…I’ll explain shortly. In a nutshell these two units sell for just under $17 on Amazon, and offer AM/FM and the ability to play back MP3 files from a TIFF Card or USB drive. The Aocome also has an Auxiliary audio input jack. They are both small hand-sized units – you can read more product details by following the Amazon links.

Aocome:   

Geson: 

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The reason I said I didn’t buy these as radios is because they are limited as radios and I was looking specifically for an MP player that would let me scan within a track. While that may seem like a not-so-important consideration, consider that if you are listening to relatively long tracks such as Classical Music or Old Time Radio shows (which are generally 30 to 60 minutes long), unless you can scan within a track, all you can do is go back to the beginning or go ahead to the next track. If you miss a minute in the middle and want to review or skip forward you can’t scan forward or back. Oddly, every portable MP3 player I’ve had so far lacks this feature except for the Tecsun PL-990 (which is an excellent radio overall), but it only scans at twice the normal play speed so isn’t useful for such long tracks. Interestingly both of these inexpensive players have a rapid scan feature in both directions so for me they are exactly what I have been looking for. You can also directly input a track number with their keypads. I prefer the Aecome for its better tone quality – it has a high tech speaker which, for its size, is very satisfying to listen to…the Geson is rather thin sounding by comparison.

Both run on standard BL-5C rechargeable Li-ion cells and charge via Mini (not the more recent micro) USB jacks and have earphone output jacks. The Aecome has no FM rod antenna but rather uses a wire in the lanyard, yet both had decent FM reception of local signals. AM reception was a bit weaker but OK for stronger signals. However, the Geson is perhaps the most hostile and difficult radio to tune I’ve ever encountered. Even though it has a 10-digit keypad you cannot directly enter an AM or FM frequency and there is no manual tuning provision. You have to let the radio scan the AM and FM bands (several minutes each) and assign presets…then you can scan through those presets or input a preset number with the keypad. The problem is that the auto scan lands on lots of noise between stations so you may have, say 30 or 40 AM presets of which perhaps 10 are listenable signals. It’s no fun scanning through them or trying to guess what their preset numbers are to enter on the keypad. Even scanning through them is miserable because you don’t see the frequency until the noise has played for a few seconds…then the frequency appears. And the lack of a way to tune manually is a big omission. I would never want to use this radio other than perhaps leave it on one station all the time…it’s ridiculous.

Tha Aecome at least lets you input frequencies directly which is a relief after the Geson, and since it offers better sound, an aux input jack and a LED light there is no reason to consider the Geson.

If you want a small MP3 player that sounds good for its small size and lets you hear local AM/FM stations with a minimum of fuss I can recommend the Aecome L-088 AM.

See them at Amazon:

Aucome:        (Conditionally recommended)

Geson:        (Not Recommended)

Jay Allen   

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