Panasonic RF-D3 review

Panasonic aims low - and misses

TechRadar Verdict

May well be relegated to the lowly status of an occasional radio for the kitchen


  • +

    Low price



  • -

    Fiddly button layout


Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Despite its attractive price, this debut DAB is a lightweight option in many ways, and is only suited to a small kitchen. Branching into the world of DAB radio, Panasonic has aimed squarely for the bottom end of the market, and it shows right from the off. Its basic silver finish and feather-light nature make the RF-D3 feel rather insubstantial, even flimsy.

Where the RF-D3 comes up trumps is with its diminutive size and excellent portability. Light, and with an extendable handle, the RF-D3 also has a battery compartment to help it on its travels.

Not that there's much to take with you. The unit does feature both FM and DAB radio, something that's to be applauded, but there are no advanced features such as recording, access to an Electronic Programme Guide or any pause/rewind facilities. That might not be much of a shock on a £60 unit, but we've seen some of these useful features on others at this price point.

Connectivity is also basic, with just a headphone jack and an analogue line out for connecting the unit to other kit. Weirdly, despite the scant features count, there are more buttons than sense adorning the RF-D3 and this is where this radio really falls down.

Preset buttons cover the top of the unit but overall the look and feel is of an old analogue radio with DAB gubbins stuffed inside. This is not unusual in the retro world of DAB radio designers, but Panasonic's have lazily gone for the protruding tuning and volume knobs on either side of a whole host of other tiny controls.

On the left is a dedicated button for sound EQ choices, although none improve the sound quality beyond treble-heavy and neither does the XBS bass-boost option earn its stripes.

A dedicated button provided to toggle between what's on the display - clock, scrolling text, network and station genre - seems overkill for what is unlikely to be a changing preference, especially when you consider that setting a sleep timer, perhaps a daily occurrence, involves delving into menus.

Jigsaw puzzle

The primary/secondary button is also puzzling: it lets the listener quickly tune into any radio station's sister broadcasts. However, the only one we're aware of is Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live SportsXtra (a party-time add-on station), so while this might be a uniquely attractive feature to dedicated sports fans, it's of no use to anyone else - it doesn't work with any other stations we tried.

Still, maybe it's one for the future services. Proof, maybe, that the DAB radio revolution in the UK is being driven by the BBC stations rather than any of the umpteen low-budget stations.

Light on features and presented in a overly complicated fashion, this Panasonic DAB radio is more trouble than it's worth and may well be relegated to the lowly status of an occasional radio for the kitchen. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.