While I still don’t fully appreciate radio, with the likes of Spotify providing most of my daily audio entertainment, I’ve always appreciated having one around. It helps to fill in the silence when I’m not quite in the mood for trawling through my curated playlists. I’m very much a fan of Classic FM for this purpose, as my limited knowledge of classical music makes it difficult to find my way past Hungarian Rhapsody or Bedrich Smetana’s “The Moldau”.
My mainstay used to be the Pure Evoke Flow. It’s quite different to the Mio, offering internet connectivity and access to more esoteric channels such as my guilty pleasure; Slay Radio ( 24/7 Commodore 64 remixes ). The Evoke Mio offers no such functionality, and is simply a basic DAB Radio in a premium-styled shell with an appropriately premium price.
The Orla Kiely Evoke Mio brings the retro patterns of Irish designer Orla Kiely to yet another line of products. I feel the need to point out that since testing the Mio, I’ve started seeing her signature patterns everywhere. From stationery to cookware, towels, aprons and now consumer electronics. This is not without good cause, however. The crisp, clean floral patterns, evocative of late 1960s wallpaper ( in fact, you can even buy them as wallpaper ), are very in-keeping with modern design trends. The in-vogue “Metro” GUI style favours bold, contrasting colours, however, and those of Orla’s designs are somewhat more muted. I prefer the latter.
The Evoke Mio’s classically clean, crisp, minimalist look lends itself well to showcasing these designs, and the contrasting wood surround evokes the exterior of a similarly dated 1960s television set, making for a perfect match. What I’m trying to say is that Orla Kiely’s patterns have not been shoe-horned into the Evoke Mio. The two simply fit so well that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Orla specifically chose the Evoke Mio, or that it was designed with attracting her in mind.
Style aside, the Evoke Mio is a well-rounded DAB radio that performs exactly as I would expect from a top-tier manufacturer such as PURE. It’s solidly built, the OLED screen is crisp and clear, the knobs feel right and the digitally-broadcast sound is crisp and clear.
It also has AUX input for your MP3 player and a headphone output for private listening.
It’s not without its downsides however. The coating onto which the Orla Kiely design is applied lacks in durability, and is relatively easy to nick or rip. This isn’t great when the appearance makes up for a great deal of the radio’s appeal.
Then, there is the choice of battery. You can’t simply open up the Evoke Mio and pop in a handful of D cells if you want to listen on the go. PURE have made a staunch environmentalist choice on your behalf and opted to make the Evoke Mio compatible only with their rechargeable batteries. I’d have preferred support for standard batteries, with a standard battery shaped rechargeable add-on as an option. Keep in mind that if you plan to use this outdoors, you’re going to need a PURE “ChargePAK E1” which will set you back an astonishing Â£30 to Â£35 on top of the Â£150 for the radio itself. That’s pretty steep, but still a good deal less than the Â£200 Clarke and Clarke Robert’s Revival.
Overall the Evoke Mio is a beautiful object adorned with a beautiful choice of designs, but it’s not quite rugged enough for something you’d expect to take on a picnic or sling in the kitchen. Forego the battery pack, and give it a safe shelf in the living room, however, and you’ll have a decorative hint of 1960s style, plus a damned good radio to enjoy.