Magicbox Touch Kitchen
Sticky hands make for sticky buttons that can eventually get too gunky to operate. It's an issue Magicbox tackles by introducing a DAB radio with touch sensitive controls. Marketed on-line as the Magicbox Touch Kitchen, you'd expect it to be more suited for kitchen use, though.
The 3W stereo speaker grille is a fabric covering, which means keeping things clean could rapidly become an issue. The glossy plastic finish is no stranger to fingerprints either and without those clunky size-C batteries inside, the body is way too lightweight. If this falls off your fridge, you can probably kiss goodbye to it.
There are 20 presets are spread over five panels, selected by finger taps and double-taps. It doesn't take much to work out, but it's far from convenient. The touch sensitivity can be rather unresponsive too, even without dough-covered hands.
Luckily, the Magicbox Touch is thrown a thin rope through its warm and strapping sound. Whack it up to max volume, though, and just like the Logik, the Touch gets a tad distorted. Superb bass helps the output sound reasonable, though, so a cranky dishwasher won't be too much of a distraction with this on full blast – as long as you find a decent signal, that is. Reception was quite a let down, struggling to pick up several stations other models had no issue with at all.
If you have a problem with real buttons, or can't stand dials, then this could be for you. It's comes at a fairly friendly price too.
Reg Rating 65%
Services DAB, FM
More info MagicBox
Nevada Sinfonie II
Communication specialist Nevada returns to its Sinfonie range here with a complete redesign. It's fugly compared to the previous model, but has a more portable feel and much-improved features.
While it's a compact size, the Sinfonie II is let down by a flimsy build and an awful glossy black finish. Therefore it's a breeze to clean, but even easier to get dirty. Does anyone actually like glossy plastic finishes on audio tech? What world am I living in?
Controls are simple enough, but lack practicality, especially with setting presets, which are limited to single-button and dial control. As with the Logik, it's an unnecessary fiddle and, for kitchen use especially, a range of dedicated buttons is always useful.
Sonically, I have mixed impressions. There is practically no distortion when turned right up, but the volume isn't as high as I'd like and the lower frequencies are lacking. The Sinfonie II may pump out enough through its mono speaker to overpower the spitting fat of bacon frying in the morning, but a loud washing machine will take centre stage.
The Nevada Sinfonie II claims to be ahead of the game. It can handle DAB+ and DMB-A, which is certainly a bonus, but the £60 price tag still seems pricey given its sonic performance.
Reg Rating 65%
Services DAB, DAB+, DMB-A, FM
More info Nevada Radio
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Has someone in reg hardware been smoking crack?
I'm usually the first one in the queue to spend on a gadget but £180 for a radio that has to compete with the magimix, extractor fan, oven and microwave noises? A kitchen radio should take 4 double AA's, cost no more than £25, be stuck on 1 station for years on end and sit on the windowsill in full view of burglars without them being in the least bit interested in smash and grabbing it through the window for THEIR next crack fix.
FM is perfectly adequate and unless you work for ofcom or the BBC you need take no interest in the marketing/technical fail that is DAB.
DAB misses again.
It's a kitchen radio: an AM/FM radio will do, doesn't run the batteries flat in 30 mins when hiked out to the garden and costs about £15.
Less of a problem - but still a problem for most people - and the environment if that's your thing?
The lack of those stations is not due to any lack in FM capability - it's due to the unrelenting push towards DAB replacing FM/AM.
surely time to upgrade from that grease-gunged FM box?
Don't bloody think so. My kitchen-based FM set is about 30 years old, and I'm very nearly used to it now.
Controls on top in a kitchen?
Why haven't you marked down all the radios with top surface controls?
The top of anything in the kitchen is the bit that gets stickiest, so surely top surface controls is the last thing you need in a kitchen, especially if you're putting the radio on a shelf where you'll be unlikely to see the controls and display, let alone work the radio without picking it up.
I'd say this misfeature is worth a 10% penalty at least.