While hardly likely to win an award for stylist appearance, this DAB radio could make a useful present.
Back in what is sometimes referred to as the "Good old Days", radio broadcasts and its entertainment content was limited to a few channels - long gone are those occasions when you might need to sneak into the front room in order to listen to your favourite radio program such as Journey into Space on the radio. Now we have DAB radio following the BBC's discovery of multiplexing which allowed the transmission of several radio stations packaged together.
This is a small stereo unit that can run on mains or batteries. It is not only a DAB and FM radio but also an Internet radio and Bluetooth set of speakers. So what has Pure the biggest name in DAB radios got to offer for those who want the option of using their unit both in home/office and outside?
The Pure Elan Connect+ measures 23x10.5x5.5cm and weights 768 grams with batteries inserted. I found that you get between 7 and 8 hours on a set of four ‘AA’ batteries between charges. It is supplied with a USB to micro USB lead of one metre that then is the distance it can be from a computer or USB plug front. There is an eight piece 50cm long rod aerial that extends from the top.
I first saw this almost a year ago but the agency that looked after Roberts at the time seemed reluctant to send it out for review. Since a new agency has been appointed I am now catching up on requests made at last year’s 2017 Christmas In July event.
It is round but a little squashed at 25cm from back to front and the same side to side but only 15cm tall. Both sides are the pair of speakers, my test unit was cream and so the grill covering the speakers was white. At the bottom of the front is a SD card insertion point. Above this a small round knob that has four positions, from left to right, USB, SD, CD and Radio. Above this a small white on blue 3.6x1.4cm two line display.
It’s been a couple of years since I have been offered a Roberts DAB radio to review. While I have looked at offerings from other manufacturers the Roberts units have not been available. This I assume was down to the excellent PR lady I have been in contact with for some years moving on.
This is a DAB/FM Alarm Clock Radio, it is 19x11.5x6.5cm but you will need another 3cm behind it as the power lead sticks out by that much. Instead of the more normal rod aerial this uses the wire type offering it is 60cm long and emerges from back right it should either hung down or be stretched up especially for the initial scan of DAB stations, in my area it found 96 stations. This is a mono unit but you can listen in stereo via headphones or earbuds.
This is a small Mono DAB/FM from Alba a budget brand now sold by Argos. So what can you expect without having to spend that much money? The first surprise for me was that it is both mains and battery operated so immediately a plus.
It is 16x10x5cm and weighs 306grams (without batteries). With 4x‘AA’ batteries not supplied add another 96grams. It has a seven piece rod aerial that will increase the 10cm height by 42cm when fully extended. There are two rows of five buttons Power, Scan, Menu/Info, Prev and Alarm on row one. Row two is Mode, Preset, Select, Next and Snooze. There is also a large twist know that is simply volume. The rear has the battery bay, an on/off slider, earbud socket, and DC input.
A few year ago, perhaps thinking about it, more like a couple of decades ago, DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) was expected by many to be the next “big thing” in the area of radio broadcasting.
The switch over from analogue to digital failed to totally capture public endorsement although the manufacturers were still keen on the new technology. We are still in a state of flux as FM and DAB continue to fight for the dominate position in the field of audio broadcasting for a UK audience.
A few years ago DAB radio was promoted as being the next big thing. That has yet to happen although new DAB products continue to appear.
Like Paddington Bear, I enjoy marmalade, the tasty spread that accompanies my morning toast. However the same appreciation does not apply when the marmalade term refers to the patterned colour scheme that is adopted by a DAB radio. Such is the decorative feature of this next product under review. This is the VQ Retro Mini radio.
This is a small DAB/FM unit sold by the Dixons and Currys Group. It has a wooden case where most units in the same price band have a plastic one. Wood often gives a better sound. So what else has this LOGIC unit got to offer.
The Logic L55DAB15 DAB+/FM radio measures 24x9x12.5cm and weights 900grams (without batteries). The base, sides and top are a light wood. A lift handle fills 19cm of the top, the base has four stuck on rubberised feet. Both sides are clear. The back is plastic it has a 60cm six piece rod aerial, below this the battery bay for four ‘AA’ batteries. At the bottom right of the back a 3.5mm headphone socket and the DC power input, a 1.
Having recently told you about Roberts new entry level Internet offering, it seems only correct to move up the scale a little to what they call a DAB/FM/WiFi Internet Radio with Music Player and this even comes with Spotify Connect built in.
It is 26x17x9cm disregarding the handle that can slot back behind the unit and the 75cm six piece rod aerial. My unit was a mixture of matt and shiny black with the front dominated by the centre of the 6cm stereo speakers shining through the grill. Both sides and the bass are clear. This unit can run on ‘C’ cell batteries but it is of course mainly a mains unit. At the base of the back is the entry point for batteries.
Today there is a wide choice of radios that also have Internet options. Here from Roberts they openly admit this to be there entry level option, so is there anything missing that could be found in a unit costing more money or is it super value.
The Radio Stream 104 measures 21x12x5.5cm with an additional 2cm on the left side for the power lead, as it can be run from batteries I did not include this in the main measurements. So lets go round the unit on the back is a slide open bay to take 6x‘AA’ batteries rechargeable ones work fine and at the top the dock for the six piece rod aerial that extends to 72cm. The right side is clear while the left side has three near identical sockets the bottom one is for the power lead -1.
This is a small portable DAB/FM/Bluetooth radio shaped rather like a small intercom radio. It has a very solid belt clamp but instead of an earpiece being an essential part of the unit there is a small but very effective top mounted speaker.
The Roberts PlayBT radio measures 18x7x4cm with the solid collapsible aerial adding 10cm to the first figure when deployed. The unit weights 243grams. At the base of the back is a snug fitting rubber bung that covers Auxiliary and DC inputs. Above this is the substantial belt clip. The base has four tiny rubber feet that allow you to place it on a table or desk. The left side has a silver flash and the right side is where the aerial is stored. The top has the 3x2.
A new DAB and FM offering from Roberts that looks more like something from many decades ago. It is however packed with modern technology, so instead of having to continually move around to get a good signal and sound its just there.
It is 17x12cm at the back and 15x12cm at the front and 12cm deep. The front has a grill behind which is the speaker this is 9.5x8.5cm. Both sides are clear with only a connection point for carry handle that is in the same fabric that covers the whole unit, my unit was in a lime green colour. The exceptions are the back that is a gold colour as is the top. The back has a battery bay which optionally takes 4 x ‘AA’ batteries.
This is a DAB/FM/Internet radio that works via Wi-Fi and can be used as an input or output as well as having Spotify built in. It can be run off batteries which can be rechargeable and even off a battery pack for when mains power is not available.
The Roberts Radio Stream 207 radio measures 29x13.5x6cm; this figure is without the seven piece rod aerial extended which can add 66cm to the middle figure. The case is made of black plastic which does show fingermarks and rubber buttons that do not. The front has a 7cm circular speaker on each side the 8.
As with the Oxford and Go products, this next DAB/FM radio is part of the Goodmans line up of offerings.
With over 90 years of experience in the development of home entertainment technology, covering areas such as loudspeakers, radios, in-car audio and digital television sets, Goodmans has added to its product portfolio with the release of its Canvas offering. This product is a portable DAB Digital and FM radio that can be powered direct from the mains or by batteries. When purchasing this device you have a choice of going with a Slate, Copper or Apple colour scheme.
As part of Goodmans range of radios, this next offering adds a number of extra features.
With the short, snappy title of Go, this next product from Goodmans is a radio that could easily be described as a multifunction device. It does not limit itself to just providing DAB+ and FM radio signals but has a number of other functions to which I will return to a little later. Initially I will concentrate on the appearance and its radio features.
Well known for its range of radios, Goodmans has come up with a model whose title makes me think of times gone by.
When ever I encounter a product that has “Oxford” in its title, it does tend to engender visions of a by-gone age. I do not know why this happens but I tend to imagine images of a period when life was conducted at a more leisurely pace. This is especially true when the company responsible for the product has gone for a retro look to its design styling. A recent example of this approach is the Goodman Oxford classic radio which has arrived for review.
This is a small unit which Roberts describe as portable and indeed it works in all modes via six AA batteries but even when used in DAB or FM mode time between charges is not great, when used in Internet or UPnP mode even less.
The main body is 21x11.5x4cm this does not include the six piece rod aerial that would add 64cm to the middle figure the height when fully deployed but this is not required for Wi-Fi and UPnP use. As a portable the weight is important it is 781grams with the six ‘AA’ batteries inserted in its back (166grams). As a mains unit the story is good the single speaker is the left third of the front.
This is a DAB, FM, CD, SD, USB and Bluetooth sound system. There are many other systems that can do some of the things mentioned, but very few can record to SD or USB this system gives you the option to record to both.
The Blutune 200 DAB radion from Roberts measures 35.5x26x14cm, the middle figure the depth includes cables inserted in the back. The last figure the height does not include the rod DAB aerial which extends to seven pieces and 63 cm. The controls are either by the supplied remote control or the nine silvered buttons three rows of three and large silvered knob on the top centre of the unit. The central area of the front has a 7x2.
This looks like a conventional DAB/FM radio and indeed it has both those functions, it is also able to be an Auxiliary output, play anything from a Media server and is also the best and easiest to use Internet Radio I have seen.
The Roberts Stream93i measures 24x17x19cm, the last figure is the height to the top of the built in carry handle, the middle figure assumes you have the mains lead plugged into the back. It has a 45cm five piece rod aerial for reception of DAB/FM radio. My unit had shiny black sides, top and bottom, the front and back are matt black. It has a 6x4.5cm colour display in the centre of the front in the top half of the unit, level with this are two large knobs on the left volume and the right tuning.
It is described as Retro with a leather over the top grab handle to allow movement. This offering from View Quest is up to date in that it has Dab, FM, iPod and Auxiliary Input. The sound is also up to date in that it is Stereo.
My unit was a bright yellow (called mustard) and cream, there are I am told another seven colour combinations in their range of this British made unit. On checking their website the display showed ten different colour combinations. It is 29x9.5x16cm. those figures do not include the soft leather carry handle that can extend 8cm above the last figure or the seven piece bar aerial that when fully extended rises 70cm from its stored position at the top of the back.