The Sangean DT-400W is a small, lightweight, portable weather radio with digital AM/FM tuning that also receives all seven weather-band frequencies. While it lacks Specific Alert Message Encoding (SAME) technology and isn't Public Alert-certified, it's a top choice among critics and more popular than competing units with those features -- which many users and experts say aren't essential in a portable weather radio.
Great reception on the go. Most owners are impressed with the Sangean DT-400W, noting that it's more compact and durable than similar portable weather radios. Reception is said to be very good to excellent on all frequencies, including the seven National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather channels. The lack of an internal FM antenna is a negative; the included earbuds serve that purpose, but if you want to listen to FM radio through the speaker, you'll likely need to use the external FM wire antenna (also in the box).
Limited alerts in the field. The lack of SAME and Public Alert certification is an issue for some users, though the Sangean DT-400W does have a dedicated NOAA emergency response channel that sounds a loud alarm tone when an extreme weather condition or other emergency is imminent. An optional 90-minute shut-off feature can be engaged to conserve battery time, though it also turns off the alert tone feature.
Light and portable, with some drawbacks. The Sangean DT-400W's lightweight and portable design makes it great for outdoor use and camping trips where weather could be a concern. The compact design does come with a few concessions. Since there's no internal antenna, users must insert the included wire antenna or use the earbuds to receive FM stations. Some users find this setup cumbersome, and say the included earbuds are so uncomfortable that they had to buy new ones. Perhaps the biggest negative is that this portable weather radio can only be powered via batteries and that battery life is reportedly minimal.
The price of portability. Some critics say the Sangean DT-400W portable weather radio is expensive compared to other radios and has its weak spots. Even so, great reception and a compact design make this handheld weather radio a popular pick that's worth the money, at least according to most owners.
Geologist and amateur weather enthusiast Graham McClung gives the Sangean DT-400W a decent review, noting its strengths and weaknesses in some detail. He says it isn't necessarily the best portable weather radio on the market, but it could be an ideal choice as a pocket radio that can also warn of weather emergencies. It's not clear, however, if he tested the radio himself.
Review: Sangean DT-400W Weather Alert Radio, Graham McClung, April 28, 2011
The Sangean DT-400W does well among portable weather radios at Amazon.com, where more than 350 owners give it an overall score of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Most say it's a durable, highly portable unit that also makes a pretty good pocket AM/FM radio. A few users are less satisfied, saying the DT-400W is neither well designed nor the best value. Some users say the unit eats batteries faster than anticipated.
Review: Sangean DT-400W AM/FM Digital Weather Alert Pocket Radio, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
Although the Sangean DT-400W doesn't get as much feedback as some of the other weather radios listed here, more than a dozen owners give it 4.4 stars out of 5. Sound quality and reception are big plusses; the lack of shock protection is the only drawback noted. All posters say they'd recommend the DT-400W to a friend.
Review: Sangean DT-400W AM/FM Pocket Radio with Weather Alerts, Contributors to RadioShack.com, As of April 2014