Roberts Zoombox 3 Radio Review

Summary:
Versatile and reliable with plenty of volume, the Zoombox 3 is a great portable DAB radio CD player.

Buy it online:

£94.99 on Amazon.co.uk

The Roberts Zoombox 3 is a newer version of the Zoombox 2. It has the same design and features, but with updated engineering. The Zoombox 3 is a portable radio CD player with some useful features such as a USB drive and SD card reader for playing MP3 or WMA files.

Find out more about what the Zoombox 3 can do and how it performs in this review…

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Saves 40 preset stations (20 on FM and 20 on DAB)
  • CD player that can play MP3 and WMA CDs
  • USB and SD port for playing MP3s and WMAs
  • Bass boost function
  • Telescopic aerial
  • 5 mm headphone jack
  • 2 x 1 Watt speakers
  • Instructions manual (available online here)

Dimensions: 24.5 cm wide x 24.5 cm deep x 13.9 cm high
Weight: 1.8 kg

Performance and use

The radio has an LCD display that shows information about the radio station and sometimes the track being played. This works not just on DAB radio but also on FM as the radio uses RDS (Radio Data System).

The Zoombox 3 can be powered by the mains or with six LR14 (C size) batteries. Roberts suggest that the batteries should last for 25-35 hours depending on the mode (DAB radio will eat through batteries more quickly).

You can choose to listen to the radio in either stereo or mono. Switching it to mono can help if the signal is weak, as it will eliminate some of the hissing. Saving and accessing preset stations is simple and intuitive, and only takes a few button presses.

The CD player is top-loading and can play regular CDs as well as CD-Rs and CD-RWs containing MP3s or WMA files. The CD player has a random mode that shuffles tracks. There’s also an ‘intro’ mode that plays through the first 10 seconds of each track. You can also programme a playlist with up to 60 tracks using the CD player, USB drive or SD reader.

For a small radio the Zoombox 3 has good sound quality, and is surprisingly loud. It’s easily loud enough to fill a large living room.

Pros

  • Good sound quality with plenty of volume
  • Made from quality materials
  • Presets are easy to use
  • Versatile: radio, CD player, USB and SD card reader
  • Small and compact

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • USB port isn’t compatible with Apple products

Verdict

The Roberts Zoombox 3 is a versatile and reliable radio CD player that packs a punch for its size. All in all, it’s a good multifunction device for listening to around the house.

Similar radios

The most obvious alternative to the Roberts Zoombox 3 is the Zoombox 2, which is an older (but very similar) version of this radio that you might be able to buy more cheaply.

One affordable radio with similar features is the Majority Castle DAB radio, which offers FM/DAB radio, Bluetooth and 2 USB charging points. While the Majority brand might not have the prestige of Roberts, the Castle DAB radio offers very good value for money.

For some more options see our roundup of the best radio CD players.

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