Top positive review
33 people found this helpful
Looks, feels and sounds good but tricky to use advanced features
on 8 August 2014
First impressions of this item were very good, it is sturdy, tactile and definitely has the wow factor with the faux leather and shiny gold/brass logo and fittings. It looks much better than the pictures and you can imagine this being lovingly crafted by a pair of old boys in brown coats in a workshop in the Cotswolds. Probably not but it's nice to dream and the finished article with its royal crest would not look out of place in Kensington Palace or the library at Chartwell. Opening the case to insert 4 x D batteries spoils the illusion slightly with the MDF type material on show but it's still a bit of theatre with the blingy brass clasp seemingly inviting you in to have a good look around.
Setup was fairly straight forward - being of the bloke variety the substantial (and all English) manual was put to one side and I went into full DAB-ble mode. Left dial is on/off and volume, the right dial for navigating menus and selecting items. DAB was the easiest; the station scan being very quick and pre-setting 10 favourites is nice and easy. Internet radio next was also ok - if your wi-fi router is WPS enabled as most now are pairing them up was quick and much more preferable to entering the code using the dials. However it does have a tendency to forget the wi-fi setting and so you may find yourself having to repeat the process which can be irritating
Sound is crisp and clear on both, very good in fact and I love all the info provided such as song title/artist etc on the easy to read LCD. There are plenty of settings to play with including preset equalizer modes for pop/jazz etc but like me you will probably leave it on normal. All bases are covered with DAB+ compatibility and FM included too but I'm yet to bother with that as my DAB signal is good enough.
This was the good but the much vaunted Spotify feature is not as good as it sounds. For a start you need a device (phone/tablet) running Spotify with a paid-for premium account (£9.99 per month) to enable connection from your phone or tablet. Managing your playlists from thereon in is a bit of a nightmare though the excellent manual does help. To be honest a tablet/phone and a portable (and rechargeable) Bluetooth speaker is a far more simple and elegant way of using the excellent Spotify on the move. Using this is like going back to DOS (ask your dad) after years of Windows. It seems like the company was determined to shoe-horn in new features but into an old style interface and the result leaves a lot to be desired unfortunately.
The USB slot on top works fine however - it played my MP3s but note is does not support an external hard disk. Media streaming works fine with Windows 7 and 8. For Vista and older versions you will need extra DNLA software.
Ultimately it is a beautiful radio that sounds and looks very nice and if it was £100 for the DAB/internet radio alone I would recommend it however, at twice that for additional features that are quite clumsy to use I would balk at that price.
Internet radio built in
Spotify requires an external device and a premium account
Awkward interface for advanced features
Doesn't always remember wi-fi connection
Boot up from power-off is slow
No built in battery charger unlike a lot of other Roberts radios