Roberts Vintage DAB/FM RDS Portable Radio Review

If you’re looking for a modern DAB/DAB+ radio with a real vintage look, the Roberts Vintage DAB/FM RDS Portable Radio could just be it. This stylish radio is available in a choice of two colours: Black and Pastel Cream (available from November 15, 2016).

The Roberts Vintage uses old-fashioned rotary tuning and volume knobs, making it easier to get used to if it’s your first DAB radio. Let’s take a closer look at this retro radio.

Features

  • DAB and FM radio
  • RDS on FM, which shows the station name
  • Rotary tuning dial
  • Aux-in socket for connecting an MP3 player
  • Stereo headphone jack
  • Takes 4 C batteries (which can be rechargeable)

Dimensions: 23.4 cm wide x 13 cm high x 8.7 cm deep
Weight: 898 g

Performance and use

Setting up the Roberts Vintage is very easy, and its familiar old-fashioned design means you shouldn’t have any problems using it even if it’s your first digital radio.

This radio is great for speech programmes, because it has a clear and crisp tone and a focus on the mid-range. It lacks bass and treble, so you might find it disappointing when listening to music. If you want a DAB radio for listening to music, we’d suggest something designed with this in mind like the Ruark Audio R1 MkIII (though you will have to pay considerably more for the Ruark).

While the lack of bass might disappoint some people, others will prefer the clean sound of this radio to one with a lot of bass. The radio has a mono speaker, but you can enjoy stereo sound using headphones.

FM reception on this radio is excellent. DAB reception is still quite poor in some parts of the UK, but the reception you’ll get on this radio should be above average.

This radio takes 4 C-sized batteries, and has a built-in charger for recharging rechargeable batteries (we recommend these Energizer rechargeable batteries).

Pros

  • Looks amazing
  • Crisp, clear sound
  • Has a built-in rechargeable battery charger – no need to buy an expensive bespoke power pack
  • Good battery life
  • Attractive (and useful) carrying handle
  • Easy to use
  • Portable and easy to carry around

Cons

  • No alarm feature
  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • Volume is low when connecting an iPod via line-in

Verdict

This radio is relatively expensive, but you wouldn’t expect such an attractive radio from a respected brand like Roberts to be cheap. Unfortunately, like many Roberts radios these days, the Roberts Vintage doesn’t have the same feeling of quality and craftsmanship that the company’s earlier radios had.

Nevertheless, the Roberts Vintage DAB/FM RDS Portable Radio is one of the most stylish retro radios available in the UK, and offers great sound quality, especially for speech programmes. While it’s not cheap, it definitely looks special, so it would make a good present.

Similar radios

The Pure Evoke D2 and D4 are similar in terms of price and functions. They’re both great-looking radios, but don’t have quite the same retro appeal of the Roberts Vintage. Read more about them in this comparison of Pure Evoke radios.

A more expensive alternative is the Ruark Audio R1, which is much better for listening to music but costs about twice as much. If you’re looking to get the best possible sound quality, consider one of these high-end radios.

 

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