Roberts Ecologic 1 portable DAB radio
A darn good little tuner
Review The downfall of portable DAB radios have always been their lack of battery life. Few models have really been able to sustain themselves long enough to deliver a truly out-and-about experience.
Enter the Ecologic 1, part of a six-strong line-up each of which offers extended battery life and, in the case of the Ecologic 1 and its brother the Ecologic 2, a built-in battery charger.
Roberts' Ecologic 1: comes with a built-in battery charger
Battery waste is still a big problem in the UK, with only a very small percentage of non-rechargeable batteries being recycled. In fact, EU legislation now requires the UK to recycle 25 per cent of all its disposable batteries, a target which looks unlikely to be met.
Roberts is doing its bit by supporting a free take-back scheme which operates through independent retailers in 21 UK towns and cities where the public can dispose of dead batteries.
But it really hopes consumers will adopt rechargeables, and the Ecologic's on-board charger is one way it'll use to encourage them to do so.
Not that the Ecologic 1 is perfect. Charging the four NiMH rechargeable batteries the radio is designed to be powered by takes seven hours, which seems rather long, especially when standalone chargers can do it much more quickly. The batteries don't charge while the radio is being used.
However, in the radio’s favour is a small lock on the side of the unit that makes sure that the radio can't be accidentally turned on while being transported, cutting down on wasted power consumption. It also comes with an energy efficient mains adaptor and a switch that cuts off the charger if you are using disposable batteries.
Does not support DAB+ - no roberts radios do
I was bored, so I asked Roberts:
Thank you for your email enquiry.
None of our DAB systems are DAB+ compatible.
At Roberts Radio we pride ourselves in following the trends of
development in radio broadcasting. For many years now we have supported
the DAB MPEG2 standard, as used in the UK and in other smaller market
areas in Europe.
However as it stands at this time, the UK is the prime market for DAB
products, there are currently no other countries which have the
infrastructure for this model of modulation.
It cannot be deemed as an outdated model of transmission and as new
developments are still coming on line, such as EPG (Electronic Program
Guide), there is still plenty of scope for further enhancements of the
The 'World DAB' the governing body for DAB broadcasts, have ratified the
new DAB+ standard and certain countries have shown a willingness to
adopt this new standard; however at this time there is no market to
develop radios to sell in. All the countries that have shown an
interest in this are still in the development stage or at best test
World DAB are aware of this and are therefore sensitive to the current
situation in the UK. This is why they have taken the stance that the
new transmission mode is to be held off in the UK.
The 'new' generation of radios that are capable of decoding the DAB+
transmission will, due to the technology involved be priced in the high
end of the market, due to the extra technology required to decode these
As it has taken the order of nearly 15 years for DAB radio to take off
in the UK, I do not think the new standard will occur overnight and
especially for the reasons outlined, not in the UK.
Why no sleep mode?
Again and again firms lose out to Sony who, on their £50 DAB radio, have a sleep function which turns the radio off automatically after a predetermined number of minutes. A simple piece of chippery which has forced me to buy Sony when I prefer other products.
I've got one!
This radio is identical to the Roberts Gemini 59 DAB tranny I got at Comet on special offer for £18 a couple of months ago, except for the rechargeable batteries. It's a lovely wee wireless and it's as good as the reviewer says but no way is it worth £50.