Roberts SolarDAB 2 Radio Review

Roberts are known for their high-quality DAB radios, and the Roberts SolarDAB 2 is no exception.

What makes the Roberts SolarDAB special is that it has an integrated solar panel for charging the radio’s batteries using the power of the sun. This should save you money and help reduce your carbon footprint. This FM/DAB radio also has a mains adapter to fall back on when it’s not so sunny.

The Roberts SolarDAB has a straightforward design and comes in a choice of colours: black, white, red and green.

Let’s take a look at this eco-friendly radio in more detail.

Features

  • DAB and FM RDS radio
  • Three power options: solar, batteries, mains power
  • Saves preset stations
  • Performance and use
  • Rotary volume and tuning controls
  • LED battery and solar level indicators
  • Rubberised controls
  • Line-in socket for connecting an MP3 player or iPod
  • Headphone socket

Dimensions: 20.2 cm wide x 14 cm high x 7 cm deep
Weight: 623 g

Pros

  • Solar charging
  • Picks up more stations than the average DAB radio
  • Portable and light
  • Quick and easy to set up

Cons

  • Bassy sound
  • Solar charging only works in strong, direct sunlight
  • Speakers distort at high volumes

Performance and use

Setting up this radio is very straightforward, and it’s designed in an intuitive way. If you want to learn more about how it works before you buy, have a look at the online manual. Like most other Roberts radios, the SolarDAB picks up more DAB stations than the average digital radio.

The SolarDAB takes 3 AA batteries, which can be either normal batteries or rechargeable ones. On a full charge, the radio should last up to 20 hours.

The radio needs to be placed in direct sunlight for the solar panels to be able to charge the battery. Given the notorious British weather, this isn’t always going to be possible.

The solar-charging feature makes this radio ideal for the garden, as it will charge itself while you’re busy gardening. Provided the weather is good you won’t need to keep taking the radio back indoors to recharge it using mains power. However, if it frequently clouds over you might find it charges the radio too slowly, so you need to rely on batteries or mains charging.

The sound quality is good for speech programmes, and decent enough for music. It’s quite bassy, which is better than being tinny but might not be the sound you’re after. Another drawback with this radio’s sound is that speakers distort when you turn them up full.

Verdict

The Roberts SolarDAB 2 isn’t for everyone. The solar-charging feature can’t really be relied on in the UK, as it won’t work in cloudy weather. It should work fine in sunny places like Spain, though you would only pick up Spanish stations. As long as you don’t expect too much in the way of solar charging, this feature is a nice addition to an otherwise standard portable radio.

Alternative Radios

If you’re not sure about the Roberts SolarDAB, check out this list of the best solar-powered radios, or this review of the best radios for the garden.

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