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Review Pinell North

You can find no better

Pinell is back with a new travel radio, which convinces on all areas except one.

Karakter
Pinell North
The best sound among the small travel radios. Good battery life and several source choices available. Seems solidly assembled.
The screen is unreadable in sunlight. Not splashproof.
  • Radio: DAB +/FM/Internet radio
  • Wireless: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi
  • Streaming Services: Spotify Connect, Podcasts
  • Headphone output: Yes
  • Presets: Yes
  • Screen: Yes
  • App control: Undok
  • Battery life: 15 hours
  • Remote control: No.
  • Dimensions: 95 x 90 x 160 mm
  • Weight: 0.8 kg
  • Other: Brushed aluminium with red, white, black or blue.
  • Web: pinell.com

They say that it is actually a Bluetooth speaker with a built-in radio, and Pinell is right about that. But it is also possible to call it a travel radio. Of the handy kind. Because with a battery life of 15 hours, Pinell North can easily be part of the journey.

Whether it’s just out on the balcony, or down to the beach.

There you can use it as a Bluetooth speaker, or turn on the radio to watch sports, news, or just listen to music. Just like on a travel radio.

North is Pinell’s first travel radio since the award-winning Go model disappeared from the market in 2015, and those who remember it will probably recognize some of the design touches on the new North radio.

For example, that it has an OLED screen and the operation on top. But also that it can be delivered in colors. Arctic blue, sunset red, ice white, or night black, as our test specimen was equipped.

Yes, North is also a Bluetooth speaker. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Podcasts

The new Pinell radio is more advanced than most portable radios we have tested. The most common is that the radio has a Bluetooth connection and FM/DAB + radio, and that is it. But north also has Wi-Fi so that you can connect to the internet and listen to internet radio.

Another thing that many will probably like is the built-in podcast player, which you navigate with the scroll wheel on top. It can also be controlled from the mobile via the Undok app, where you can also stream from Spotify to the radio’s Bluetooth receiver.

Radio stations and podcasts can be stored across sources, and retrieved from four pre-programmed buttons on top of the radio. Or in the menu for 10 presets in the Undok app.

Clearer sound from multiple drivers

Pinell north is 16 cm high, and larger than its predecessor Go, and has room for four speakers. The usual configuration in such small radios is one driver. But here there are two 4.5 cm large full-range drivers, and two passive bass radiators – 6.6 x 3.5 cm, which deliver an unusually rich and rich sound image.

It gave the music in the jazz podcast I listened to a bigger soundscape than what is usual from small travel radios. Following the rhythm of the music was no problem, I just adjusted a little on bass and treble in the app, until I got the balance in the sound that I thought suited acoustic jazz.

Two active speaker elements, one on each side, and two passive raditors. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

By the way, the EQ settings follow all the source options, including Bluetooth, so if you like a different balance when streaming, or for example place the radio in a corner and think there will be too much bass, you have to change the EQ settings. This can also be done in the settings menu.

By the way, there is a headphone output on the back, just below where the telescopic antenna is located when you unpack the radio from the colorful packaging.

IMG_6904 IMG_6905
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Yes, North is also a Bluetooth speaker.

But it is the sound that is the most convincing about the radio. Pinell has long been a little better than most competitors at getting good sound out of their radios, and this one is no exception. Pinell North does not play as loud and tough as the Bluetooth speaker KEF Muo, or a JBL Charge, but it plays better than the small travel radios we have tested so far.

The two active drivers manage to bring out details in the soundscape, and even the treble level is fine straight out of the box, while the passive radiators contribute with a little weight and fullness in the bass. The normal thing for such small radios is nearly no bass and almost no treble, and a rather tinny allover sound.

This is definitely not the case here, and north takes back the throne of Pinell, as the best small radio on the market today.

Headphone output and socket for the supplied charger. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Conclusion

There is only one but, and that is the dark screen, that is readable even from a distance, but only indoors. Out on the terrace, all information on the screen is obscured by the sunlight. So if you want to see what you are playing or between switch audio sources, you need to open the app. But the sound is great, the quality is convincing, and Pinell North actually works excellently both as a Bluetooth speaker – and travel radio.

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