Christmas Radio Roundup

If you’re a busy individual, or just don’t like reading reams of reviews then here’s our quick and dirty radio round-up to help you choose the right DAB/Internet radio for that special someone (yourself, obviously).

This year we’ve got a reasonably good line-up of DAB, FM, Internet and Network aware radios from a handful of manufacturers from Arcam to PURE. Without further ado, here’s the list:

Arcam Solo Mini with Muso Speakers

The Arcam Solo Mini is a strictly audiophiles only product. It’s an odly shaped sound system, taking on the form of a shrunken Hi-Fi separate with a considerable amount of depth that makes it utterly unsuitable for squeezing upon almost any shelf you might have handy. I’ll come right out and say that Arcam would have been a lot better off making it taller and far less deep to increase placement options.

The Solo Mini is distilled from technology used in its bigger brothers, this may go some way towards explaining its depth. Its size, weight, clean good looks and build quality certainly give it much more in common with a Hi-Fi separate than anything else, but it comes in a greatly reduced, single box package that houses CD player, amplifier and DAB tuner amongst other features. Avid Hi-Fi separates fans currently frothing at the mouth will be pleased to learn that it does not have an integrated iPod dock. For iPod owners, however, there is the option of the separate rDock which will hook right up to the RS232 port on the Solo so everything can be controlled neatly with one remote. The rDock is a lovely, solid chunk of aluminum so it wont look out of place alongside the Solo.

The largely uncompromised size of the “mini” leads to uncompromised audio quality and it certainly blows the rest of the radio line-up away. Then again, they’re not even in the league next to the league that overlooks the league that the Solo Mini is in. Hardcore audiophiles need look no further.

PURE Evoke Flow

If it’s a pretty face you want, then the PURE Evoke Flow goes to great lengths to deliver it. Everything from the piano black glossy finish to the machined aluminium volume and tuning dials screams style and places the PURE Evoke Flow head and shoulders above the rest in terms of style.

Performance wise it’s no kitten, either, boasting integrated WIFI for delivering internet radio, podcasts and network-served audio to your kitchen in addition to a standard DAB/FM tuner for the more traditional home.

The PURE Evoke Flow uses a portal dubbed “The Lounge” to grant access to internet radio stations, podcasts and seasonal music delivered by PURE themselves. This means you can easily set up favourites on-line for a quick tune in whilst you do those pesky kitchen chores.

Every Evoke Flow comes with a license for FlowServer which, once you actually download and install it, you quickly find out is actually Twonky Media Server. This is not a bad thing, PURE have left the network audio serving up to people who know what they’re doing. The result is that, if you’ve set up the server to stream to your Evoke Flow, you’ll be able to serve audio over the network to your PS3, Xbox 360 and other capable devices too. Oh and they can boast Windows, Mac and Linux compatibility, which is an impressive feat that cements the Evoke Flow as my favourite radio of the bunch.

You can buy the PURE Evoke Flow for £134.99 delivered at

Tangent Quattro MK2

Tangent may not have got it entirely right with the styling of the Quattro MK2, it’s in desperate need of some aluminium finished buttons to round off the otherwise exemplary design aesthetic. What it lacks in visual polish, however, it more than makes up with sheer choice. Available in an array of gloss colours and wood finishes, the Quattro MK2 is pretty much bound to have a look that will fit right in to your home. Gloss black, red or maple veneer would be my personal preferences.

The Quattro MK2 takes a very different direction from its competition and includes only an FM radio alongside the network/internet streaming capabilities. The reason for this? DAB reception isn’t great in every home, so FM still has its place. Oh and it’s fair to say that, in the face of internet radio, DAB is already obsolete anyway.

The Quattro MK2, Arcam Solo Mini aside for a moment, is the best sounding and most powerful of all the radios. It effortlessly fills a kitchen with its single, base ported speaker, making it the obvious choice for any style concious audiophile with a WIFI network handy.

Like the other internet enabled radios it uses a portal which means you can leave it unplugged from mains and still resume playing the last internet radio station you were tuned into in mere seconds. This not only makes it great for brief, musically accompanied, stints in the kitchen but turning it off at the mains makes for the most efficient energy saving you could want.

You can buy the Tangent Quattro MK II in a variety of colours for £170.95 delivered.

Roberts MP-43

This glossy, black, touch-sensitive-button adorned and compact little DAB radio cum CD player will be at home beside an extensive collection of esoteric music CDs in your lounge, dining room, bedroom or kitchen. It’s a great compact mini system that’s aimed more at people who want a little easy listening in a room. It has an iPod dock which is a bonus if you own one and need to charge it or listen to your music collection without digging through CDs, but putting an iPhone in there with airplane mode on would be an ear-bleeding experience.

The MP-43 is one of the more expensive models in our recent coverage but doesn’t boast any network streaming capabilities. It’s a good radio for the more traditional music listener who doesn’t want to put a ghastly, modern mini system in their home.

You can buy the Roberts SOUND MP43 for £199.99 delivered.

Roberts SolarDAB

The Roberts SolarDAB is innovative, well built, truly and highly portable and, if the name didn’t give you a clue, solar powered.

The solar power panel in the top will also charge up a built-in rechargeable battery for some easy listening through those long winter nights.

If you can’t get enough sun to keep it running, though, there’s always an environmentally unfriendly mains adaptor to fall back on.

On the downside, the SolarDAB is also quite expensive. But if you stock up a similarly specified PURE One with a battery you’ll find the cost for that solar panel can be less than a tenner.

The SolarDAB is available in all 5 colours for £79.99 delivered.

PURE One Elite

The One Elite is a good all-round DAB radio with ReVu, functionality that lets you pause for up to 15 minutes, or rewind into the constantly maintained 15 minute buffer on the station you’re currently listening too. This is great if you’re very big on your music or whatever else it is people listen to on the radio. You can pause to take a phone call and resume right where you left off.

It’s way behind the Evoke Flow in terms of looks, but still manages to be aesthetically pleasing.

A full review of the PURE One Elite will be linked above soon, watch this space!

You can buy the PURE One Elite for £73.99 delivered.


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