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The Blackfriars is an inexpensive retro DAB radio from AZATOM. It was released alongside the AZATOM Spitalfields and has almost exactly the same features but with a different design. The Blackfriars looks quite stylish radio with its wood effect finish, but how does it perform? Find out in this review…
- FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
- Built-in subwoofer for extra bass
- Built-in battery
- Removable carrying strap
- 4 alarm clocks
- Saves 40 preset stations (20 on FM and 20 on DAB/DAB+)
- Adjustable brightness
- Remote control
- Sleep timer
- 6 preset EQ settings plus adjustable bass and treble
Dimensions: 18.2 cm high x 13 cm wide x 8.7 cm deep
Weight: 780 g
Performance and use
Like most digital radios, the Blackfriars is very easy to set up and start using. You can plug the Blackfriars into the mains or power it using the built-in rechargeable battery, which charges while the radio is plugged in. The battery can last for up to 10 hours, though the battery life is likely to deteriorate gradually over time. The radio works well as a portable radio as it’s fairly light and easy to carry around using the carrying strap.
One distinctive thing about this radio is that it has a built-in subwoofer, which helps make the sound warmer and richer. While you might expect the subwoofer to make the sound very bassy, it’s actually quite well balanced, and you can adjust the bass and treble levels yourself.
The Blackfriars has a good amount of volume for a small radio, and also comes with a remote control which is convenient if you’re using it in a larger room.
This radio’s combination of good looks and power make it a great choice for the kitchen. Not only will it make your kitchen look cooler, it will be easy to hear the radio above the sizzling of a frying pan.
It could also be a good radio to use in the bedroom as it lets you set an impressive 4 separate alarms and gives you the choice of waking up to a regular alarm sound or a radio station. It also has a small footprint (8.7 x 13 cm), so it won’t take up much space on your bedside table.
Most people find this radio to have strong DAB reception, but this varies a lot depending on where you use it. See our article on improving DAB reception for some tips on getting the best reception possible.
While this radio has a decent list of features, it is lacking two features a lot of buyers will want: a headphone jack and Bluetooth. The lack of a headphone jack in particular is disappointing, as it probably wouldn’t cost the manufacturer much to include this.
- Good value for money
- Good sound quality
- Attractive design
- Useful remote control
- Plenty of volume
- No headphone jack
- No Bluetooth
Overall, the AZATOM Blackfriars Retro DAB Radio is a great radio for the price. It looks very stylish, has plenty of volume and has a nice, warm sound. The remote control is also very useful, as is the alarm clock. It would be nice if the radio had a headphone jack and Bluetooth, but if you don’t need these features this radio is a good choice.
The most similar radio in terms of features is the AZATOM Spitalfields. It has all of the same features but has a wider design in contrast to the Blackfriars’ vertical design. It should cost the same amount of money, so which you prefer will depend on your personal taste.
In terms of design, the most similar radio is probably the VQ Retro Mini. Like the Blackfriars it has a vertical design with a carrying strap. The great thing about the VQ Retro Mini is that it comes in a huge choice of finishes, including some interesting and unusual patterns. The VQ Retro Mini also has a headphone jack and Bluetooth.