There are so many reviews out that I won't go over every functional detail. Here are some other observations on my Sangean ATS-909X running an early ver 1.18 firmware:
Yep, great audio and fit and finish are superb. Minor quibble with smooth volume knob and detented fast/slow tuning. When hand-holding it, I use a technique with my thumb laying flat across the knob like being the connecting rod to the wheels of a steam-engine.
With the radio laying on it's stand, a two-fingered twisted fork is used. After a day of using it, I adapted to it ok.
No sync. Yawn - I can do without so no major loss to me.
Stainless steel whip as opposed to the usual chromed pot-metal. Nice.
You can take the audio down to very low levels without an abrupt cut-off or hearing any amplifier hiss. The jacks on the radio seem to be of a higher level than the usual junk out there. The audio itself is very nice, although I would like a deeper high-end roll-off when listening to ssb/cw.
Wall wart is clean! That is, my unit is an AC-to-AC adapter, and seems to be a glorified stepdown transformer, rather than trying to rectify and regulate a DC input. That regulation and rectification seems to happen inside the radio, where it seems well filtered and not pushing a bunch of rf back into the line. Seems like any noise you hear will be coming from your ac line, and nothing is added from the adapter itself.
On shortwave, using only the whip and running just from batteries, it seems like it loses sensitivity to the tune of approx 10db or so. What is missing under these conditions is the other half of the antenna, the ground. There isn't a handy ground screw to run a short wire across the ground with. That's ok, since I don't dx with portables and the supplied whip. I guess if you really need the ground, use the adapter or use an external antenna. OH, and make SURE that you have the rf-gain set to max.
External antenna input impedance is low, but it isn't 50 ohms. Yet it is low enough to have no problems with the usual simple L-tuners, T-tuners etc. For instance, the included wire-reel antenna works ok when plugged into the external antenna input, but with a simple L-tuner like the MFJ-16010 tuner plugged in between, it works wonders about 10mhz and below. I thought it would be a high-impedance jack, but nice to see it is low. Would be better if I knew what the real impedance was, but I just ran a small RG-58 bnc jumper with a few adapters to mate between the 909x and the MFJ and all was well.
Strong-signal handling is very nice. Even SSB seems to stay stable with the 20-over-9 signals encountered. (using the same antenna on an amateur Yaesu radio) Yes, you can push it over the edge, but it is much more capable in this regard than my venerable modified Grundig 750.. more on that later.
UGH! Yes, there's a built-in charger for NIMH batteries. If you have the battery switch set for nimh/nicad it will charge whenever the radio is off. HEED THE WARNING - do not try to charge alkalines by mistake! And what if the switch gets flaky and tries to mistakenly charge alkalines? My inclination for safety would be to always run from rechargeables in this case if you regularly use the adapter.
I think most of us here DON'T recommend using your precious radio as a battery charger for good reason. Still, I tested it, and it seems to be a quick-charger to the tune of 500ma or so. I suppose it must use some sort of delta-v detection for the EOC signal. Took about 4.5 hours to charge my 2400ma Imedions. I'm testing the effectiveness of the charger by draining and measuring the batteries in a Maha analyzer right now at a C/20 rate, so we'll see how effective the "Sangean charger" is. It adds an appreciable amount of heat inside, especially with close-packed batteries.
I'd rather see that money spent elsewhere on improving the radio instead. Maybe exchange the charger stuff for sync. At least Sangean didn't waste resources on some junk rechargeables that ultimately end up in landfills and let US get the batteries we want. I'm not trying to bag on Sangean specifically - I think all manufacturers should drop built-in charges completely. Instead, throw us some Sanyo Eneloops and the mating charger seperately if you must.
Missed keys / wrong keys: The cpu seems to take a little while to perform keyboard operations, so when I have to repeat keys it usually meant that I was just going to fast for it, so slow down. Maybe this has improved with versions of firmware beyond 1.18. I sure wish the firmware was actually user-upgradable, or if Sangean would publish what the actual changes between versions are (I think it is up to 1.3x or so now). I'll keep holding my breath on that one.
I'm not a major AM/FM dxer, so all I can say is that they sound great for me, and I'll pull out the little Grundig AN-200 tunable loop for casual bcb dxing.
SQUELCH - works really well for those times that you need/want it. Thing is, Sangean forgot to include AIRBAND to go along with the nice squelch! Maybe next time.
Summary: Despite my rant about the charger, I'm very glad to own this radio. Small details mean a lot to me. What I really see is that this radio wants to be in a bigger box - as a competitor to the Grundig Satellit 750. Throw some big VFO knobs on it, continuously variable bass/treble, maybe tighten up the narrow bandwidth a bit, and you'd have some real competition - and I'd be Sangean's first customer. There's a big radio trying to get outside the 909x chassis!