The Grundig Mini World Radio is an entry-level short-wave receiver ideal for a specific buyer: the weight- and budget-conscious but well-informed world traveler. At less than thirty dollars ($27 - $50 online), it is light on the budget. Though providing solid function at the low end, buyers should beware of certain limitations.
My first impression of the Mini World receiver was mild awe at the diminutive physical profile. Antenna retracted, the dimensions are 4” x 2 ½” x ¾” and weight 4.7 ounces. The Mini World fits a back pocket with ease, and will add burden to your travel gear equivalent only to a few energy bars.
The case includes: receiver, batteries, stereo ear buds, a protective sleeve, and a disappointingly sparse handout. Short-wave broadcasters change frequency throughout the day, so a guidebook would be helpful to get started (no guidebook included, however). The controls are simple: a band selector switch and frequency display on front, and a volume/on/off switch below the tuning knob on the side.
Inclusion of ear buds is a nice touch, but in the case of short-wave I would prefer to keep the frequent whistle-and-pop further from my head. Tuning short-wave is frustrating at best, and the Mini World punctuates this limitation with an undersized tuning knob. When it is in tune, the sound quality from the internal speaker is pleasant and decidedly not tinny (I listened through dinner for several evenings, and was pleased with the sound quality – when the unit was tuned!) Tuning is the entire goal of short-wave, so the insufficient knob is surprising.
Grundig also offers a digital version of the Mini World PE, in a similar price range. In principle, I would recommend the digital over analog because tuning is so important. The difference is that the digital radio includes a small numbered-readout and precise up/down control buttons, allowing fine selection of the strongest signal (finding a strong signal is key to reducing static, pops, dropouts, and four-language interference). Tolerable tuning of this analog unit is possible with practice, but frustration will likely be reduced with a digital tuner.