I just received my Tecsun PL-880 from FedEx a few moments ago. I only purchased this radio last week from Anon-Co on eBay–I’m most impressed that it arrived so early.
The PL-880 has been a highly-anticipated radio and I’m eager to dig in and see how well it reviews. I had several readers ask if I would take photos as I unboxed the unit–so I’ve embedded photos below. Simply click on each photo to enlarge:
Along with the owner’s manual, Tecsun has included a large, fold-out amateur radio world map and quick reference guide.
In the box, along with the manual and fold-out map, you’ll find: a USB charging cable, a rechargeable lithium battery, a wire antenna and a set of earbud headphones.
The padded faux leather case reminds me of cases we used to receive with world band radios.
I like the layout of the front panel. The buttons have a very nice feel and the tuning wheels/knobs are fluid.
What’s most impressive, though, is the sound out of the internal speaker. Though I need to spend more time with it, it will most likely be one of the best I’ve ever heard in a radio this size. Nice bass and treble tones.
The Tecsun Pl-660 (left) and PL-880 (right). Nearly identical in size.
Of course, I will do a full review as soon as possible. I may also post updates along the way as I make discoveries.
Can you guess how I will be spending this afternoon and evening? Yep, playing radio. Stay tuned!
You can follow all Tecsun PL-880 updates by bookmarking/checking this link.
I received my PL880 on 12/4/13. I agree with some of Tom’s initial impressions. It’s nicely made radio with superb sound on FM.
Some negatives: My PL880 has a unpleasant birdie a frequently listened to distant station -: AM 640, which is approximately 100 miles from me. If I tune the radio up or down 1KHz the whine mostly goes away (639 or 641KHz). I was hoping Tecsun would have fixed this since it is present on my PL380 but not on my PL660. As some others have reported my LCD display had a few scratches on it. The display was not covered with a protective film as were both of my PL660 radios. The ATS is not as effective as on my other Tecsun radios. While ATS on my other Tecsun radios will skip a weak station, on the PL880 radio it stores lots of dead air frequencies. I have not listened to any USB yet so I can’t comment.
The 18650 battery seems to have good life and after more than 5 hours of listening I have not yet charged it and it shows no signs of weakening. I purchased a backup 18650 Lion battery from Fry’s for $7.99 made by Tenergy. The Tenergy battery has a chip in it that prevents overcharging and over discharging. There are lots of inexpensive charger 18650 combos on eBay
This sound is it’s best virtue. If all I listened to was FM it would be a terrific radio. It is not as sleek and sexy as the PL660. The AM performance and the false ATS hits are a bit of a disappointment. The knobs on the PL880 are better protected which I appreciate since my radios get packed and beat up. The pleather case is quite nice. The improvement over the PL660 is just sound. The missing Sync mode is not an issue with me because it really didn’t do much on the PL660. Tecsun should have made that work correctly on the PL880 instead of making it go away.
I purchased this radio from Anon and received it in 2 working days (+ a weekend).
Hi again ,
can the S-meter indications be changed ? DBu disturbs me really…
Maybe because I am used to ham S-meters…..and DBu is normally on professional receivers
Vy 73 Bertrand
Yes, its NiMH,
sorry about confusion, thay have also got an adhequate charging unit to load them…
have only got them since 1 Year….
Explanation sounds convincing about the use of type 18650…..
Another thing that is very important when using multiple batteries is that all batteries should be matched against each other, otherwise strangles the poorest battery all the rest.
Upload all batteries and then measure the voltage and amperage, you will be surprised by the big differences you notice.
None of the other batteries are better than the poorest when they all work together.
I have never before heard of Li-H AA cells, but who knows maybe it’s because I live in little Sweden. even did a search on Google but found no hits?
I recently made an eBay order on the third generation of AA batteries, but it’s NIMH. but these seem to be very promising and is also affordable:
Another thing I noticed when you have two or more batteries is that not all run out at the same time, but it is usually one or two who give up first. if you instead are using a lone 18650 work this battery until it is completely drained of power.
thanks for the battery recommandation…
On technical question remains to me, why is the 18650 battery type superior to
the new Li-H AA cells ( 3000 mAh ) I habe got….? There are 4 of them in the Pl-660….for example…..
yes thanks very much…
but a eventual replacement battery… doesnt have to be a Tecsun one ?
It’s just to to pay attention to how to connect the battery in the radio or how to connect it to an external charger. Nothing to be worried about if you plug it right.
do allways take care of that….its important… short circuits and so on….
but what ” make ” or “tradename ” is recommended for this radio….?
I use 18650 batteries from the manufacturer ULTRA FIRE, available to buy on eBay for a few dollars, have used mine UF daily for over three years. Also has an external charger for these batteries if you want to avoid loading directly into the radio.
Sure, if you connect the poles incorrectly, it can slap really hard, but this has never happened to me. It’s probably just to to pay attention to how to connect the battery in the radio or how to connect it to an external charger. Nothing to be worried about if you plug it right.
strange in that way, that some are unstable and had even exploded !!!!
A real fact, which cannot be ignored.
I think gasoline can explode if you place a flame near it
does Tecsun offer a replacement for that strange battery or is there a equivalent yet
on the market ???
Strange battery? from what planet are you from? me and thousands of other satisfied users have used these excellent 18650 batteries for several years back in time, would definitely not exchange them for weak and useless AA – AAA.
I know that Anon-Co has them: http://bit.ly/1k9TIVE In my opinion, they are the best of the eBay sellers of Tecsun radios.
This battery has a very long life.
Does anyone know why the battery charger has two different USB outputs for charging? is one of them for continuous operation and the other stronger for charging the internal battery.
5V/1000mA and 5V / 2400mA. Is not contained in the manual?
Can report that the PL-880 has been on from early morning to late at night and the charging indicator to the battery has not yet dropped anything. These batteries are extremely strong and durable, has great experience with them from my flashlights.
I believe there are no charger supplied, just the USB-cable. You can use any USB-port to supply the radio. A computer usually supplies 500mAh or more on the USB ports, so it will take hours to recharge an empty battery. The charge current can normally be up to 80% of the capacity of the cell. E.g. 2A for a 2500mAh 18650. But I am not sure what max current the built in charge circuit will supply the battery.
Just remember to get a decent charger. Many cheap “China chargers” has plenty noise and ripple. This will likely reduce the received signal to noise.
My package contained an original Tecsun charger model: PST-17U (3.4 A) and the supplied USB cable.
I just received the same today (30 minutes ago). I am using the high current output for charging the battery/radio. I have connected the 1A output to my wireless charger for my Android phone 🙂 I guess either way would be fine for my use.
So can you use the radio using the USB port for power?
You can see the scratches most clearly on your radio at the upper right corner of the FM button and ATS B, it almost looks like a thin crack. these flaws do not belong on such an expensive radio.
I will not complain about those little scratches and make Anna disappointed when she gave me such excellent customer service. And I am also convinced that all the PL-880 has these defects.
Very cool, thank you for posting this! Good looking radio, maybe I will have to add a fifth to my collection of Tecsuns.
fyi the “Tecsun Amateur Radio World Map” is copied from the Yaesu’s “The Radio Amateur’s Radio World Map”, with the color changed. http://www.delta-alfa.com/yaesu-map/
I see exactly the same kind of thin scratches around the keys of the piano glossy panel on your radio (the big image on the display), I think they come from the manufacture since all scratches pointing upwards.
Have also just received my Tecsun PL-880 from anon.
I am pleasantly surprised by the radio’s excellent sound.
it also is beautiful to look at and with a razor-sharp reception.
But I am deeply disappointed at all these small thin scratches around
all the buttons on the panel, it looks used out.
Bummer. I hate when I pay full price for something that is suppose to be new and it’s used. Might be other things wrong with it.
Let anon know about this. It could simply be that they did a check on the unit before shipping. With that said, I had no detectable scratches on my unit.
Maybe it was used by Tecsun for testing, then returned to stock? Just hypothesizing…
Thanks for the link. Yes, I definitely need to get one of these things. I wondering how long the charge will last. Actually, I bought one over a year ago that is just a case that you put in AA batteries. It looked so cheaply made that I was afraid to try it on my cellphone for fear it would damage it.
The CAPTCHA looks hard on this message. May take several tries. LOL
Try one failed. The next one looks even harder. Maybe I will try to voice option. 🙂
Try two failed.
Display down to .01 khz????
No AA batteries is a big let down but not a deal killer with me.
Is AM synchronous detection hidden in it’s capabilities?
Question; why grey and not black?
Thanks! Enjoy that “new radio” feeling. We’re with you, vicariously, anyway. Looking forward to the performance comparisons.
Woohoo. I’ve been holding off on buying the pl-660 until someone did a review of the pl-880. Can’t wait to hear what you think.
Waiting for operational assessment.
I have those captcha things.
have = hate. Argh!
I’m with you, Tom. Unfortunately Captcha is a necessary evil. 🙁
I understand but I just wish they weren’t so hard to read. It takes me about 6 tries to get it right. LOL
Thanks for posting the pictures. I hope the radio will take regular batteries besides that special battery that is shown.
The only battery it will take is the supplied lithium rechargeable. I’m hoping the longevity of the battery will justify the lack of accepting AA cells.
We can use a 5V battery bank to charge/supply the radio when portable.
My radio is on the way, and have just arrived in France on its way to Norway 🙂
I hate that it can not use standard AA, I always carry some with me so that my radio and other devices have a backup because you never know when the rechargeable batteries are going to die on you. I guess it is good that it uses the standard connector for recharging so at least if I have my phone charger I can use it.
I guess it is time to find a good battery back recharger for this and my other devices such as my cellphone that require special batteries but again you have to remember to charge those battery backup devices.
OK, now can I guess the CAPTCHA words. 🙂
Have 2 of them that arrived last week. Will be doing a review on MNP soon.