Best DAB radio: which should you buy?
17th Jan 2014 | 14:50
Let us help you pick out the best DAB radios
DAB radios have slowly grown in popularity since they were first launched in the UK. Sound quality that's improving along with a huge network of stations with an enormous range of content means that digital radio scales heights that previously couldn't be reached by analogue radio.
The Government recently put its weight behind the evolution of radio to DAB, with Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey stating: "I absolutely believe that the future of radio in this country is digital. We cannot go backwards. The radio listener will get a much better service, and better functionality".
On that note, we've put together a list of some of the best DAB radios to buy in 2014.
Roberts Radio Revival Blutune
Roberts' iconic Revival radio has received several makeovers in recent years, firstly with the addition of DAB and now throwing Bluetooth connectivity into the mix. The fifties styling is combined with a contemporary all-black finish and there's also a input for hooking up an external output as an alternative to wirelessly streaming over Bluetooth. You'll also get slinky black chrome-plated fittings along with one-touch instant access to your favourite station.
Pure Evoke D4 with Bluetooth
The latest version of Pure's Evoke DAB radio, also sports Bluetooth for wirelessly hooking up to your mobile device. Available in sleek "domino black" or "glacier white", the radio's body is crafted from a wood and offers 30 presets plus four quick access buttons. There's also an alarm clock function with the touch control SnoozeHandle for when you want a lie-in and a remote control if you can't be bothered to get up.
Revo AXiS X3
Revo's third-gen AXiS is about as well connected as it's possible to be. As well as being a digital radio, it also includes an iPod/iPhone dock plus Bluetooth and DLNA for wireless streaming from compatible devices. Plus, it functions as an internet radio as well. The minimalist design includes a big, friendly 3.5-inch colour LCD screen with a touch interface. It's also got an 8W amp for powerful sound.
Pure Evoke D2
At less than 85 quid, this stylish radio is an absolute bargain. Sporting a distinctive real walnut veneer casing, this neat little DAB has a tiny footprint so it's great if you don't have a lot of room to spare. It also means that it's easy to move around the house (add a battery pack and you can take it outside). The sound quality is excellent and it's also packed with features such as sleep timers, 20 presets and a scrolling display.
Geneva Sound System Model XS DAB+
It may be a little on the pricey side, but this clever folding DAB radio packs up into a hard case, like an old-fashioned travel clock, making it great for your holidays. Available in the brand's familiar colour choices of red, white or black, the radio also includes Bluetooth connectivity, but the real selling point is the sound quality. The audio packs a surprising punch, considering the size of the unit.
Ruark Audio R1 MkII
First introduced in 2006, originally under the Vita Audio brand, this compact radio has been one of the true DAB success stories. With its elegantly understated design, it's looks superb and is available in a wide range of finishes, with limited edition versions popping up from time to time. The audio quality is superb, while the top-mounted RotoDial control system is easy to use and also gives the R1 an unmistakable look.
Pure Evoke F4
This stylish radio from Pure is packed to the rafters with features. Not only does it have DAB, it's also an internet radio, enabling access to over 20,000 international stations. You can also stream music wirelessly over Bluetooth from your mobile device and what's more, the F4 is compatible with Pure's Jongo family of speakers meaning that you can create a multiroom music system for your house.
A compact, no-nonsense offering from Sony, the S60 features a slightly retro design and comes in red, white or black. Boasting Sony's heritage in quality audio, it can be powered by battery or mains and includes a four-line LCD screen and a host of simple controls. You'll also get 10 station presets and a sleep timer plus a headphone jack for when you don't want to disturb anyone.
Tivoli Audio PAL+
The PAL – or Portable Audio Laboratory – has been around for over ten years, but it took Tivoli a while to add DAB to the mix. Now fully capable of receiving digital radio, the PAL+ comes in a range of bright colours and the water resistant design means that it's good for using outdoors, as does the rechargeable battery. It also functions as an alarm and there's an input for hooking up your mobile.
Naim UnitiQute 2
The price tag may be rather steep, but by hi-fi standards, it's really rather affordable for an all-in-one player. Along with DAB, the second-gen UnitiQute can also stream audio files up to 24bit/192kHz so that you can listen to music from your computer or NAS drive while the metal casing provides tank-like build quality. It ain't cheap, but this is an ideal choice for audiophiles.
Philips DAB+ Dock for iPod/iPhone Original Radio
Based on the 1950s Philetta radio design, this particular version of Philips' Original Radio includes a DAB tuner. Mixing old design with new technology, the unit includes a central iPhone/iPod dock that enables playback from, and also charges, your iDevice. The Bass Reflex Speaker System means plenty of meaty bass with minimal distortion so it's great for room-filling sound.
Pure One Mi Series 2
This hand-sized model is Pure's most affordable DAB radio yet and is available in black or white. The pared down design has all the features you'd expect including a scrolling LCD screen along with 16 presets and the option of adding Pure's additional battery pack. The audio isn't exactly room-filling but it's perfect for small spaces or if you simply haven't got much cash to spare.
Roberts Radio Sovereign
Launched in 2013 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation, the Sovereign is based on the old T500 which was first released in 1964. The leather-look finish is available in three regal colours – Windsor Green, Sandringham Burgundy and Balmoral Blue – and features an amber-backlit display along with gold-plated fittings, a large loudspeaker and one-touch access to your favourite station.
Pure Move 2500
This is a great buy if you want digital radio on the go. Popular with sports fans – largely because of digital-only station BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra – the radio's rechargeable battery offers up to 15 hours listening time from a single charge and can be topped up using the USB charger. The Move 2500 also comes with noise-isolating in-ear headphones and offers separate bass and treble controls for you to get the ideal audio mix.
Ruark Audio R7
Inspired by 1960s design, the R7 takes the idea of an old radiogram and brings DAB to the table (literally). The beautifully designed digital radio also brings wireless streaming over Bluetooth, internet radio with it to form a 2.1 all-in-one audio system. It's even got an old school CD player for those that are still clinging onto their disc collection.