Anyway, I like a radio in the bathroom. Not to look at but, having said that, not really to listen to. I just find the silence in a bathroom whilst getting ready in the morning a bit too, well, silent. So I stick the radio on. My little portable Sony FM radio has done me a great service for many years but, after much battering, it’s time for retirement (probably to my shed). With the switch-off of analogue radio potentially only a few years away it doesn’t make sense to buy anything but DAB. However, DAB radios are power hungry and, those that do come with battery options often require expensive specialist battery packs (yes, I’m looking at you Pure!) or needs lots of C size batteries.
After a bit of a search, I came across the Roberts ecologic 1. It’s a compact portable DAB radio which runs on just 4 x AA batteries. “ecologic” is in the name because it will also charge rechargable batteries – simply use NiMH batteries and plug in the mains when you need to recharge them – so need need for an extra charger.
The one I bought is white (black is also available). It’s a glossy plastic and the silver buttons are a soft plastic with the silver painted onto them (I can imagine this will wear off over time). There are 5 presets on the front for easy station access and a button lock switch on the side. The screen is relatively small but has a back-light. On the other side you have the mains and headphone sockets. It measures just 160(w) x 105(h) x 35(d) (mm) and weighs only 365g.
As well as DAB you also get RDS FM, which is a nice extra to have.
Switching it on for the first time, the ecologic 1 will automatically search and store all the available stations – within a matter of minutes you’re ready to go.
The box contains the radio, mains charger and manual and not much else. None-the-less, there’s quite a lot of packaging – most of it recyclable I’ll admit.
And there’s not a huge amount else to say.
So, let’s get the bad points out of the way…
- The speaker is quite small and the volume doesn’t go up very high. I would have preferred a little more bulk to the radio to have fitted in a larger speaker. However, sound quality is still good.
- There’s no easy way to see signal quality – you have to scroll around the display options to find it. On other DAB radios that I have there’s a permanent display at the top.
- The underside feet are moulded in the same hard plastic as the rest of the radio – some softer and more “non-slip” would have been preferable
- I had problems with the built-in charging facility. A flashing light becomes solid once the batteries are charged – I put in a set of flat rechargeable batteries and the light flashed for only a few minutes before displaying solidly. They certainly weren’t charged and the radio turned itself off after only a minute or so of use. In the end, I used my separate battery charger – it may be that they were charging but merely that the lights were indicating incorrectly.
However, let’s lighten this by pointing out this is a compact, good quality DAB radio at a good price. And it runs on rechargable AA batteries which is a real bonus.[review]Compact, rechargeable, uses AA batteries, good quality and a good price. Just a few bug-bears reduces the score.[/review]