Roberts solarDAB radio
Here comes the sun, little darlin'
Review Undeterred by the unpredictable nature of the great British summer, Roberts has released a radio that it can power itself purely by the light of the sun.
Firstly, let's look at the other functions on the radio, which are pretty good. There's the detachable aerial, for instance. This can be clipped into a recess on the back of the radio to fully protect it. It's a nice feature, but we couldn't help thinking that if the radio was frequently used outside, the aerial could very easily get mislaid. However, once clipped into its little hidey-hole, the aerial is hard to dislodge. So as long as you remember to stow it away, you should be fine.
Roberts' solarDAB: powered by sunlight
Once installed, the aerial is a good size and, although not directional, provides the first link in what is a pretty robust signal-to-output path.
Indeed, the sound quality is better than we'd have expected for a single, small 80mm speaker with just 1W of power to call upon. Clarity of speech for talk radio is good, and any type of music played through the device is delivered in a well-balanced manner. The unit can also maintain clarity at high volume and the volume itself can be turned up quite loud, a useful quality in a product that is destined to spend a lot of its time outside.
A minute of Mozart followed by a snippet of Slipknot revealed that the radio can handle 'subtle' and 'downright brutal' in equal measure. We decided to really give the radio a challenge and tuned it to a birdsong channel - yes, there is one. The broadcast sounds of the woodland birds and beasties going about their business were delivered in a pleasingly natural way.
Great for the bathroom
I bought this to put in the bathroom. My current battery operated radio is ok until the batteries start to get low, when it strays from the channel - annoying if you're in the bath, The great thing about dab is that you get a spot on channel or no channel at all.
Pity it looks like it was designed for someone that thought it was FisherPrice ? Tomy?
Detachable like a Security Radio "Rubber Duck"! Why not retractable. Stupid.
If it's for the outdoors, is there a shoulder strap? (Too big for a belt clip). Is it shower proof?
Solar power a lot of the time for a bedside / kitchen / indoor radio makes not much sense.
Poor Ergonomics and Package Design.
Stick a solar panel using foam sticky pads on a non-Solar one.
There are better value, better styled radios. Roberts used to do nice solid table top radios. But this isn't one of them.
I'd go for one with MP3, SD card Recording, DRM (the Radio system, not the Rights) and DAB with Analogue. Amazinly Alba does one.
Do they own Roberts now as Marque to sell higher priced stuff?
I've just put it on on my Genus DAB radio that's plugged in to the line-in on my PC. The birdsong channel is called 'Birdsong'. There's a pigeon on there at the moment. Where's my 12-bore?
Paris, 'cos she can chirp in my ear any time she likes...
DAB+ Consumes More Power
It'll be a while before this radio is firmware upgradeable; the DAB+ chips consume more power than DAB by quite a margin.
Could be useful ...
... when the oil runs out and the electricity stops. A week next Wednesday?