John Lewis Cello Hi-Fi Review

John Lewis Cello Radio

Summary:
The Cello is a very versatile sound system with all the features most people could want in a radio or Hi-Fi.

Buy it online:
See on John Lewis

The John Lewis & Partners Cello is a complete music system offering FM, digital and internet radio as well as a CD player and Bluetooth. It’s not especially cheap, but it is competitively priced when compared to similar products from brands such as Ruark, Pure and Roberts.

The Cello looks stunning and offers a lot of features, but how does it perform? Find out in this review…

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+/Internet radio
  • Bluetooth
  • CD player
  • Dual alarm clock
  • Headphone jack
  • Stereo sound
  • USB playback
  • Aux-in port
  • Saves 60 preset radio stations in total
  • Remote control

Dimensions: 35 cm wide x 21.5 cm deep x 12.4 cm high
Weight: 4.8 kg (boxed)

Performance and use

The Cello is generally very easy to use and quick to set up, though setting up internet radio can be slightly fiddly. The user manual (available online here) is clearly written and will guide you through all of the Cello’s features.

You can connect the Cello to the internet via WiFi or an ethernet cable, and this allows you to listen to thousands of stations from around the world as well as all the major UK stations.

You can save 20 preset stations on each mode (FM, DAB/DAB+ and internet radio). This means you can quickly access your favourite stations without having to scroll through menus. There are four dedicated buttons on the top of the Cello so you can quickly tune into your most-listened-to stations.

The Cello lets you set two separate alarms, and you can easily select whether you want them to come on daily, just once, on weekdays or weekends. You can set the alarm volume and choose to wake up to a buzzer, FM, DAB/DAB+ or internet radio. The alarm has a snooze function which is easy to access just by pressing the Cello’s navigation dial.

The Cello has very good sound quality given its modest price and small size.

The Cello’s controls are all on the top of the radio and are all the same size except for the large round navigation dial which functions as the on/off button, volume dial and snooze button. You don’t need to rely on the controls on the radio itself, as there’s also a useful remote control.

The Cello has very good sound quality given its modest price and small size. The sound is warm yet clear, and the EQ can be adjusted if you’re not happy with the default bass and treble levels. It also has plenty of volume.

One nice addition is the USB port, which you can use to play MP3 files from a USB drive. This, when combined with the CD player, Bluetooth and internet radio, makes the Cello a very versatile product. It’s also a good-looking product that feels well-made and is available in either a Walnut or Black Ash finish.

Pros

  • Very good sound quality for the size and price
  • Good value when compared to similar products
  • Easy to use
  • Useful remote control
  • Stylish design
  • Plenty of volume

Cons

  • Some find the internet radio feature fiddly to set up

Verdict

There’s very little to fault with the John Lewis & Partners Cello, especially at this price point. It compares well with similar products over twice the price.

The Cello is a very versatile sound system with all the features most people could want in a radio or Hi-Fi. It’s also reasonably priced, and comes with a generous 2-year guarantee when bought new.

 

Similar radios

One of the most similar radios on the market is the Ruark R4 Mk3, which arguably has better sound quality than the Cello but is much more expensive (over three times as expensive at the time of writing!) The Ruark R4 Mk3 has a similar design and similar features to the Cello, though it doesn’t have internet radio despite being much more expensive.

Another option is the Pure Evoke C-F6, which offers a CD player, DAB/DAB+/internet radio and Bluetooth. The Evoke C-F6 is more expensive than the Cello, but not as expensive as the Ruark R4 Mk3. It also comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s guarantee.

If you want something budget-priced, check out the Majority Oakington, which is cheaper than the John Lewis Cello and has similar features except for the lack of internet radio.

For some more options, see our roundups of the best DAB radio CD players and the best internet radios.

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