VQ Retro Mk II Radio Review

Summary:
A stylish radio with lots of features. A great choice for the kitchen.

Buy it online:
£99.99 on Amazon.co.uk

The VQ Retro MK II is a funky and stylish FM/DAB radio with Bluetooth and an Apple Lightning dock. It’s made by British brand VQ (formerly View Quest), and is available in a large range of 11 colour.

Find out more about what this radio can do and how it performs in this review…

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio with the Digital Tick mark
  • Apple Lightning dock
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • USB port for charging a smartphone or other device
  • Bluetooth
  • Saves 60 preset stations
  • 20W speakers
  • Aux-in port

Dimensions: 30 cm wide x 20.5 cm high x 11.5 cm deep
Weight: 2 kg

Performance and use

The VQ Retro MK II is very quick and easy to set up. It automatically sets the correct time and date and finds DAB radio stations.

Docking your phone and playing music from it is also very easy. The VQ Retro Mk II uses the iPhone 5 connector type, which is compatible with later iPhones including the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7. If you have an iPhone you might need to remove the case to use the Lightning dock depending on how thick it is. The Lightning dock is also compatible with the iPod Touch, the iPod Nano and several versions of the iPad.

In addition to the Lightning dock, you can use Bluetooth to wirelessly stream music, online radio or Spotify from your phone, tablet or laptop. You can connect non-Bluetooth devices via the aux-in port.

The sound quality on this radio is impressive compared to other portable DAB radios.

This radio has some useful alarm features. It lets you set two separate alarms, for example one for weekdays and another for weekend. There’s also a sleep timer, a snooze function and a kitchen timer.

The sound quality on this radio is impressive compared to other portable DAB radios. It has a warm sound without the tinny quality of many other radios, and can be turned up quite loud without becoming distorted. The radio has an EQ with several presets as well as the option to adjust the bass and treble.

This radio can be used as a portable radio by using a rechargeable battery pack (available on Amazon here B01EK5WWLA). Unfortunately the battery pack has to be bought separately.

The VQ Retro MK II has a very attractive design and is available in a large choice of colours as well as Emma Bridgewater designs.

This radio isn’t ideal for the bedroom as the display is very bright even when dimmed.

Pros

  • Stylish design that looks great in the kitchen
  • Good sound quality – crisp, clear and not tinny
  • Large choice of colours
  • iPod/iPhone dock works well
  • Speaker goes quite loud without becoming distorted
  • VQ have a good reputation for customer service in case you have a problem with the radio.

Cons

  • Temperamental—many users have experienced problems with this radio after just a few days or weeks.
  • Doesn’t include the rechargeable battery back
  • Screen is very bright, even on the lowest setting
  • Display is small

Verdict

If you’re looking for a stylish and versatile FM/DAB radio that you can use as a docking station, the VQ Retro MK II is a good choice. It’s more expensive than many other DAB radios, but it combines style with the two functions of a radio and a docking station in one convenient package.

It’s not ideal as an alarm clock radio due to the bright screen which might keep you up at night.

Similar radios

A popular alternative to the VQ Retro MK II is the AZATOM Home Hub Lightning Dock, which is an affordable clock radio with a Lightning dock. Unlike the VQ Retro MK II it doesn’t have DAB/DAB+ radio, only FM, but it’s less expensive so could be a good choice if you’re on a budget.

One alternative from a more established brand is the Roberts Blutune 65, which has FM/DAB/DAB+ radio as well as Bluetooth and a Lightning dock.

For some cheaper alternatives, see this roundup of the best iPhone clock radio docking stations for less than £50.

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