Several weeks ago, most of you heard about a wonderful new radio that Best Buy was selling called the Narrator. It is supposed to be the best radio for visually impaired people ever manufactured. While reading one of the original press releases, I was so enthused with the information that I ordered the Narrator myself. Why not? It is supposed to be extremely user friendly for the blind and visually impaired.
While it allows you to set the clock, the alarm, the radio band, and specific radio stations by using voice application, the Narrator does not totally perform as it was advertised. For example, in a press release I received as part of a mass email from a consumer organization, it states in one of the paragraphs as follows: “With speech turned on, the radio will announce the artist and song, and will show and announce visual images as well.” This is not true. Though the Narrator may display artist and song titles on the screen if you happen to find an HD radio station that provides that service, you won’t hear it in voice mode.
If a blind person hopes to use the menu or bookmark buttons to navigate the radio in voice mode, think again. Those two features are for just the sighted.
Although the Narrator comes with an audio CD instruction manual, which most people may feel is what you should read in order to use the product, the only section of the CD that benefits the blind is track 12.
If you feel that locating HD radio stations is difficult with the Narrator, well, it’s just as tough to tune in a regular A.M. station. The Narrator does not come with a normal telescopic antenna which you can rotate. It comes with two plastic shoelace Y-shaped antennas which you have to plug into two different adaptors on the back of the radio, and even after you plug them in, you have to swing the antennas around, especially the A.M. one, in order to pick up a station which may be as close as 25 miles away.
I have one more side note. Although Best Buy uses the Insignia label on the Narrator as well as other products, a representative from Insignia told me that the company had nothing to do with manufacturing the Narrator.
So, if you are blind and are satisfied with setting the clock and alarm on your own, finding and presetting radio stations and tuning into certain frequencies, then you will like the Narrator. But do not expect it to be the miracle radio that’s being advertised, because it isn’t.
If I am wrong about anything pertaining to my opinion of the Narrator, please feel free to point that out in the Reader’s Forum, or express any other comments you may have.