VQ Hepburn Mk II Digital Radio Review

The VQ Hepburn Mk II is a stylish FM/DAB/DAB+ radio with Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming. It comes in a large choice of colours and designs, and could be a good choice if you’re looking for something chic and trendy to go with your decor. You can buy it in a solid colour or with one of several Emma Bridgewater designs including floral patterns, pink hearts and polka dots.

While there’s no denying the Hepburn Mk II looks superb, how does it sound and perform? Find out in this review…

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Bluetooth for wirelessly streaming audio from a smartphone or other Bluetooth-enabled device
  • USB port which can be used to charge devices
  • Headphone jack and 3.5mm aux-in port
  • Can be plugged into the mains or used with an optional battery pack
  • Dual alarms
  • Countdown and snooze timers
  • Save 10 preset radio stations
  • Adjustable EQ

Technical specifications

Dimensions: 16.6 cm wide x 14.7 cm high x 9.4 cm deep
Model number: VQ-HEPMKII-CR
Weight: 1.5 Kg

Sound quality

For a small portable radio, the VQ Hepburn Mk II sounds very good on both music and speech stations. It’s rich and clear, and the tone can be adjusted using the EQ controls.

Ease of use

The VQ Hepburn Mk II is quick and easy to set up, and should pair with your phone via Bluetooth without any hassle. It comes with an instructions manual, but you shouldn’t need to use it much to figure the Hepburn Mk II out. Saving and accessing preset stations is easy, unlike on many other DAB radios where this process can be fiddly and frustrating.

Battery

The VQ Hepburn Mk II can be used with an optional battery pack, which costs extra. This is less convenient than using regular batteries, but the battery pack is fairly priced and is cheaper than comparable battery packs by Pure.

The battery can only be charged when the radio is in standby mode, which is quite inconvenient.

Pros

  • Looks great, and comes in a large choice of designs
  • Crisp and clear sound
  • Good range of features
  • Display is easy to read
  • Good DAB reception
  • Feels sturdy and well made
  • Good Bluetooth range of 10 metres or so

Cons

  • Seems overpriced—you’re mainly paying for the design
  • Doesn’t take regular batteries—you can only use it with the bespoke VQ battery pack
  • Display is small and located on the top, which isn’t very good if you use it as a bedside alarm clock radio
  • The time is shown on the top display, which means it can’t be read from a distance

Verdict

While the VQ Hepburn Mk II is a great radio all round, the main reason to buy it is for the Emma Bridgewater designs. For the same price or less, there are better radios out there in terms of sound quality and functionality. However, when it comes to combining looks with performance, the VQ Hepburn Mk II is hard to beat.

Similar radios

Another great-looking vintage-style DAB radio is the Roberts Revival RD60, which also comes in a large range of colours. Like the VQ Hepburn Mk II, it has an emphasis on design rather than sound quality, and you might be disappointed at how it sounds given the high price.

A cheaper alternative from VQ is the VQ Retro Mini, which also comes in a choice of colourful designs, and has the added bonus of accepting regular AA batteries, meaning you won’t have to shell out extra for a bespoke battery pack.

For more stylish and retro radios, check out our roundup of the best radios for the kitchen.

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