Thursday, November 15, 2007

REVIEW : Bush “Presidential” Radio

Said to be the first portable radio capable of receiving AM, FM, DAB, CIA and GOD broadcasts, the “Presidential” is a recent entrant into the high-end market from the consumer electronics company Bush.

First impressions are of a retro and unsophisticated appearance, harking back to early wireless or even pre-war sensibilities. However this simplicity belies some underlying sophistication.

The device contains some of the latest station seeking technology, including a function to quickly locate the most strident of Christian broadcasts and the first commercial use of 'Wavelength Modulation Decoder' searching that will generate music to the listener's ears out of even the strongest noise. Furthermore, if you want to Blair your news out loud, it can be programmed to add a catchy back-beat to “sex up” reports.

In tests though, we felt that the audio processing of the Bush Presidential consistently enhanced the warmest sounds, making the rich richer, whilst ignoring others, and for some quality of broadcasts actually made the poor, poorer.

Whilst in many ways the controls are in keeping with the unsophisticated stylings of the Bush Presidential, we found that there are some extremely disappointing build quality issues. For example the volume control, bewilderingly labelled as the 'Loudificationator', is a basic speech processor with an extremely simplistic linear control called the 'Axis of Level'.

However the really important test is the performance of the Bush Presidential on the road. We have tested it around the world and its reception has been patchy at best. Without a doubt it performs best in North America although there are reports that after prolonged use, say about 4 years, the user may elect to choose a different station and find that the Bush Presidential refuses to leave its current position. There have also been reports from angry Presidential listeners in Latin America, especially in Cuba and Venezuela who have been frustrated by its output. We also discovered that the version of the Bush Presidential launched in late 2001 turned out to be incompatible with Europe. However, its worst reception by far was in the middle-east where its Victorian sensibilities were found to be completely inappropriate.

This poor build quality and patchy performance isn't just nit-picking either since the device does not come cheap and consumes a lot of energy – it will cost the citizen at least $87bn a year to run.

The Bush Presidential, in summary then, promised a whole new technological approach but ultimately delivered an old fashioned performance based on an out-dated design that has generated a poor reception around most of the world. It is, however, the best receiver for messages from God.

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