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.
Reg Rating 80%
Services DAB, FM
More info Roberts
"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.
Reg Rating 70%
Services DAB, FM
More info Sony
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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.