The Roberts MessageR measures 20x12x14cm the last figure with leads inserted in the back. It can be run of 4x‘C’ cell batteries but most will use mains power.
The rear has connections for headphones/earbuds, DC input, Auxiliary in and the aerial. The DC lead is adequate at 1.4metres to the power brick that is in the plug. However the .65metre length of the aerial lead is short and most will tie something to the end to allow a decent signal. There is a 7.5x2.5cm area cut into each side near the base to allow the sound to resonate better from the down facing speaker (one watt) and this feature works well.
The sides are clear, the face has a 5.5x2.5cm display and below that a round spherical tuning control and below that a smaller spherical control for volume. This leaves the virtually square top which has 15 touch buttons.
Three rows of four Sleep, Brightness, Menu, On-Off, Advanced, Memo, DAB/FM, Auto Tune and presets 1 to 4. The last line has three buttons the first two highlighted in blue with 1 and 2 on them and finally a Timer button.
If I say the timer is shown in the shape of an old fashioned egg timer this states where Roberts expect it to be used. The special feature relates to the two buttons in blue with 1 and 2 on them as you can leave messages on them, things like ‘we are out of milk’ or ‘your dinner is in the dog’ or maybe just ‘I will be late tonight do not cook for me’.
The microphone is just above the display and is quite sensitive so you certainly do not need to shout to leave a message, these messages can be up to ten seconds in length this may not seem long but you can say quite a lot in that time.
The on/off button has a small red LED in it when the unit is in standby and it will just display the time in 1x.5cm numerals in the display. The only other indications that it is taking power are a blue light around the top spherical control and the same highlighting the base pointing up from the cone in the centre of the floor of the unit.
When you switch on for the first time make sure the aerial is fully stretch so you can find as many stations as possible for the first tune. I found 46 DAB stations. On FM its manual tune but once on the station the frequency will change to the name of the station most of the time. Either way when in use the display shows either FM or DAB at the top and by default the digital clock underneath, you can of course get a range of other displays.
There is a forty page well illustrated A5 landscape booklet that explains all the functions and how to setup the 20 presets (10DAB and 10 FM) as well as a nice feature four DAB and four FM stations called favourites available from a single touch. There are alarm timers, sleep timers and even nap timers apart from the cooking timers.
While batteries are an expense, if you are using it in the bedroom as an alarm to wake you it may be an economy in case of a power cut. If it is short the clock will restart at the right time after a couple of minutes when power is restored.
The display brightness is variable and this is important if used in a darkened room as just the blue glow round the tuning control can seem very bright.
Doing my searches found the MessageR at a best price of £91.57 with free delivery.
http://www.robertsradio.co.uk/assets/MessageR..pdf Also available in other colours at slightly higher prices.
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