August MB400 Radio Review

The August MB400 is a portable FM/DAB/DAB+ radio with Bluetooth that can also play MP3s from a USB drive or SD card. This versatile radio can be used with either C batteries or on mains power and comes in a large choice of colours: black, blue, red, silver, white and yellow.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • NFC Bluetooth for wirelessly streaming music or other audio from a smartphone or other device with Bluetooth
  • 5 mm aux-in so you can connect the radio to a laptop or other device and use it as a speaker
  • Alarm clock with a choice of waking up to a buzzer sound, FM or DAB radio as well as a snooze button
  • 2 x 3 W speakers
  • Play music from a USB or SD card up to 16GB
  • Battery or mains powered

Dimensions: 20 cm wide x 15.5 cm high x 7.2 cm deep
Weight: 757 g (without batteries)
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 3.0+EDR, 10m range
Batteries: Takes 4 C-size batteries

Performance and use

Setting it up

Setting up the August MB400 is very straightforward, you just have to enter the date and time and then it will scan for stations. The radio has a wire aerial located at the back which you need to unwind and extend it to get good DAB reception. Otherwise, you might find the display simply says “DAB not available”. If you don’t get many DAB stations at first, try adjusting the aerial and then re-scanning.

Alarm

This works well as an alarm clock and would be ideal for a bedside table. You can choose to wake up to FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, music from a USB drive or SD card, or a regular alarm buzzer sound. There’s a button on the top of the radio which dims the screen to a very low level so you can sleep facing it and it shouldn’t keep you awake.

Sound

This radio has two 3 W speakers, so it technically has stereo sound. However, due to the small size of the radio and the fact that the speakers are right next to each other, you won’t get any feeling of stereo separation from this radio.

For the size and price, the MB400 sounds good, but don’t expect to be blown away by its sound quality. It doesn’t have an adjustable EQ and sounds a little bassy, but that’s better than sounding tinny. The 6 watts of sound output should be enough for any room of the house.

Power

You can use this radio on either mains power or with four C-size batteries. The battery life isn’t great, so you will probably want to use mains power most of the time. One advantage of C batteries is that they’re much easier and cheaper to replace than the bespoke battery packs that come with many other portable DAB radios such as the 1byone Portable Digital Radio.

Bluetooth

Using Bluetooth is easy and straightforward, and you shouldn’t need to look at the manual to figure it out.

Usability

The August MB400 isn’t laid out in a very logical way, and it might take you a while to learn how to use all the features. If ease of use is your number one priority, this radio isn’t a good choice as there are many other radios out there which are simpler and easier to use such as the Goodmans Canvas DAB Radio.

Pros

  • Screen can be dimmed very low so it won’t disturb you at night
  • Lots of choice for alarm sounds: FM, DAB, SD card, USB drive, buzzer
  • Easy to set up
  • Features Bluetooth which is easy to use

Cons

  • Doesn’t remember which track you were playing when you turn it off and on again on SD or USB mode.
  • Some features are quite fiddly to use and layout isn’t very logical

Verdict

The number one reason to buy the August MB400 is for the great choice of ways to listen to music it offers: FM, DAB, USB, SD, Bluetooth and aux-in. If you have music or audio on lots of different devices you should be able to find a way to play it through the MB400’s speakers.

For the price, the August MB400 offers a great range of features and has decent sound quality. It’s a great DAB radio for the kitchen or the bedside table. Its main flaw is that it can be fiddly and complicated to use.

Alternative radios

One of the mains selling points of the August MB400 is that it is Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream music wirelessly through its speaker. If you don’t have a clue what that means, you might prefer a simpler alarm clock radio, which should be cheaper as you won’t be paying for features you won’t use.

While the August MB400 is portable, it isn’t splash-proof and won’t deal well with humidity. If you’re looking for a radio for the bathroom, check out our recommendations here.

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