Tecsun PL-380 Shortwave Radio Review

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If you wanted a little more than what the Tecsun PL-360 offers at a little higher price, the Tecsun PL-380 would be right up your alley.

It packs a lot of features in a compact, lightweight body, including an incredible FM reception, stellar shortwave performance, an amazing feature in variable bandwidth, and a surprisingly good MW performance as well.

It comes with a functional LCD display, seven tuning modes, 550 preset memories, digital clock function and other handy features like a key lock function.

Unbelievable Performance for the Price

When you first hold this thing in your hand and try it out for FM and SW, you will probably be blown away. It performs that well on both these bands.

A particular user mentioned in their review that they live in an area that’s terrible for FM as there are mountains on all sides. However, the PL-380 managed to get a perfectly clear signal on the FM band, which even their other radio costing about 8 times couldn’t.

The shortwave performance is pretty good too, and the MW wouldn’t fail to impress you either. The AM is doesn’t leave much to be desired as well.

However, the variable bandwidth feature is seriously unbelievable to get at this price.

Now for some users complaining about SSB, I gotta ask if you’re serious? You sure wouldn’t buy a radio priced under $50 if you wanted SSB capability, right? So to everyone reading this please avoid such baseless opinions about this little treasure.

Just one thing though. If you live in an extremely cold area the radio might sometimes stop functioning, or it would at least seem so. But all you need to do is just remove the batteries and put them back in after 30 minutes.

This would reset the radio and it would start working again. The radio isn’t to blame for this as it’s somewhat common with radios that have a memory chip installed in them.

Excellent Sound

Tecsun offers a lot of portable, compact radios, and it magically makes their tiny speaker produce an incredible amount of sound. The same is true for the PL-380 as well, which can fill a small to mid-sized room with loud, clear sound easily.

Moreover, the sound is surprisingly crisp and clear, definitely nothing like the distorted audio you get from many other radios in this price range.

A Word on the Manual

The manual the PL-380 comes with is well-written and in English. Make sure you never lose it as you may need it at any point.

While many functions aren’t too difficult to figure out, some aren’t as intuitive and you WILL need a manual to use them or set them up.

Needless to say, it’s extremely important to read the user manual carefully from start to end. You would NOT be able to get the most out of this radio if you don’t read everything they have explained in the manual.


  • Amazingly functional at an incredible price
  • Great performance on all the bands, but particularly impressive on FM
  • Sound is loud, clear and crispy
  • With a long wire antenna this little beast would be able to pull in stations from across the world
  • Includes the ETM (Easy Tuning Mode) as well which makes scanning stations much less tedious
  • 7 different tuning modes
  • Built-in telescopic antenna
  • Amazingly portable (although not as lightweight as it might seem after you put in the three AA batteries it requires)
  • Includes a thermometer and a sleep timer
  • Can be a great first radio if you’re looking to get into this hobby


  • The volume increases or decreases in kind of intervals, even when you quickly spin the wheel to increase or decrease the volume

Of course, this is far from a concern. At this price point, it would be pretty unfair to expect perfection.

Tecsun PL-380 Review Conclusion

The PL-380 can be a great first radio for anyone looking to get into this hobby. However, it can just be as good a choice for adding a quality, super portable radio to your collection.

Whatever your need, the PL-380 is amazingly functional and offers a surprisingly good performance at this price. Unless you have a higher budget to get one of our best shortwave radios, just click on the button below and get this little beast on Amazon.

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