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Roberts Classic

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The Roberts Classic is a minimalist option that you could hang on a hook in the kitchen. A petite portable device that brings DAB to any environment, powered either by the mains or six AA batteries.

Controls are quite fiddly at first and changing stations should be easier, but it soon becomes familiar and things start to get quicker. Text is all calculator-like, jumping across the LCD display in robotic fashion, but info blurb aside, reading stations was easy enough.

It's surprising the 3in speaker has just 0.7W of output power. Although unstated, presumably this is an RMS wattage measurement, rather than peak, as it is rather loud. And while it doesn't have the desired bass, it still feels balanced with no obvious trace of distortion. There's also the standard headphone socket and a USB port for software upgrades.

I was handed a similar analogue-only Roberts radio for free once at a festival, in promotion for Diesel U Music - a station I busted some raps on last year. And that Roberts still gets used today as a kitchen radio gets takes regular trips to the park. This Roberts Classic is a much better radio in the same mould. While its not without a certain fiddle factor, it is great value at £40 and definitely worth a consideration.

Roberts Classic

Reg Rating 80%
Price £40
Services DAB, FM
More info Roberts

Sony XDR-S100CD

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"Woah, it's huge. Too big for a kitchen?" I thought as I pulled this one out. On reflection, it would sit nicely on my fridge and I'd bust out my CDs from back in the days. But this is about the DAB tech, which is also on offer, along with alarms and timer settings. Handy for committed chefs.

The controls take a bit of getting used to, but there's a pleasant selection of features to grasp, including the ability to pause and rewind DAB broadcasts. The front panel station dial feels like it needs a button in the middle to make selection when scanning, as you actually hear the DAB stations as you flick through them, grrr. The display is large and clear to read. On the back there's a line out, audio in and a headphone socket.

With two 3W speakers, there are no worries the extractor fan will drown them out. The bass could be stronger, though – I had to adjust the EQ settings and max it out to give those tunes that needed boom. There was slight trouble getting a decent signal on a few stations, which could prove an issue in some reception areas.

For some bonkers reason, Sony sent us a product that is now discontinued. It isn't just the company's database security that's leaves room for improvement. However, end of line tech is always light on the wallet, so hunt around and you might be surprised. If you have the space, and a sizeable collection of CDs, the XDR-S100CD could be what you're looking for. It comes with a remote and can also be taken to the streets like an old school boombox, should you fit it out with six size-C batteries.

Sony XDR-S100CD

Reg Rating 70%
Price £180
Services DAB, FM
More info Sony

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