Buy it online:
The Zenith Z1 is a versatile and feature-packed DAB radio boombox from British brand AZATOM, who manufacture a range of popular headphones, speakers and radios. The Zenith combines a radio, a CD player and several other features into one portable unit. Find out more about what the Zenith can do and how it performs in this review…
- FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
- CD player
- USB port for playing MP3s
- Powered by mains or 6 x C batteries
- Saves 60 preset stations (30 on FM and 30 on DAB/DAB+)
- Telescopic aerial
Dimensions: 23 cm wide x 19.5 cm deep x 11 cm high
Weight: 1.25 kg
Performance and use
At just 23 cm wide, the Zenith Z1 is smaller than you might expect from a boombox. This makes it quite easy to carry around the house or listen to in the garden. It has decent sound quality given its small size, and a good amount of volume.
The radio will find and save DAB stations and set the correct time the first time you turn it on. You can also manually tune the radio and adjust the time if you need to.
One of the Zenith Z1’s main selling points is the CD player. In addition to regular CDs, the CD player can also play CD-RWs and MP3 CDs which let you store over 100 tracks on a single disc. The CD player can be programmed to play up to 20 tracks in a particular order. There’s also a repeat function that can be used to repeat one track or the whole disc.
This boombox also features a USB port which lets you connect an MP3 player or USB drive and play MP3 files through the radio’s speakers. There’s also an aux-in port so you can connect another audio source using an aux cable.
The radio can be powered by the mains using the adapter included or with 6 C-size batteries. It might be more convenient to have a built-in rechargeable battery rather than C-size batteries, as they can be expensive to replace and time-consuming to recharge. The power lead connection is a bit fiddly and difficult to connect.
This radio doesn’t have an alarm clock or a sleep timer, so it’s not a good choice if you’re looking for a bedside radio. It also doesn’t have a headphone jack, so you can’t listen privately.
The Zenith Z1 lets you save a total of 60 preset stations: 30 on FM and 30 on DAB/DAB+. Setting preset stations is a bit more complicated than it could be, and the instructions (available online here) can be confusing. It might be easier to have 5 dedicated preset buttons rather than requiring you to scroll through a list of presets, as most people will only need to save a handful of preset stations.
As you might expect from a radio in this price range, the Zenith feels cheaply made and plasticky. The build quality isn’t as high as it could be, and the buttons feel somewhat fiddly.
- Versatile (radio, CD, USB)
- Good amount of volume
- Easy to carry around
- Saving presets is fiddly
- No headphone jack
- Feels cheaply made
The AZATOM Zenith Z1 is a compact and inexpensive radio with a lot of features for the price. If you’re expecting a large boombox you will be disappointed, as the Zenith is quite small. It’s a good radio for carrying around the house or listening to in the garden, and offers lots of audio sources with a radio, CD player and USB port. The build quality isn’t especially high, but it’s a good choice if you want something cheap and versatile.
If you don’t mind spending a bit more for something with higher build quality, you should consider the Roberts Zoombox 3. It has similar features to the Zenith including FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, a CD player and a USB port. The Zoombox 3 also has Bluetooth, so you can stream audio through its speakers wirelessly.
If you’d like something bigger that looks and feels more like a traditional ‘boombox’, you might want to consider the Sony ZS-RS70BTB. It’s 38 cm wide, so it’s significantly bigger than the Zenith Z1 which is only 23 cm wide. The Sony ZS-RS70BTB also features Bluetooth but is more expensive than the Zenith Z1.
For some more options see our roundup of the best radio CD players available in the UK.