Roberts Revival RD50 Review Old Style New Sound

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best looking radio from the Roberts camp is the Revival. Whether you dig classic styling or not, the good looks of the revival compared to the rest of the Roberts range are unquestionable. This may be indicative more of the garish, unrefined and bland designs of its cousins. Simply put, Roberts are clearly not good at making things look pretty, at least historically.

The Revival marks a new chapter in Roberts radio design, created by borrowing a chapter from the distant past, a classic design which, as simple as it is, can’t help but be endearing. Joining the plain Revival are also a couple of Kath Kidston (I won’t claim to know a thing about it) styled models, the electric flowers one of which I would not be altogether unhappy about having in my kitchen.

Anyway, I looked at the classic, proper stainless steel version of the Revival. It’s everything I believe a classic radio should be and, whilst it sports FM, DAB, line output and a large LCD display, it meticulously recreates a classic feel down to the leather coated handle, piano style hinge, and classic manual latch that reveals a completely opening rear into which you can stuff a handful of D cell batteries.

The Revival is, in fact, so classic in design that it even looks the part from the inside. The door reveals a well finished interior that shows off wires, the wooden construction, the rather meaty rear of the single mono speaker and a sizable bass port to really round off the sound.

If it weren’t for the generously sized LCD, orange pause button and DAB logo you would be forgiven for being fooled into thinking the revival were decades old.

The Roberts Revival doesn’t just have the looks of a classic radio, however, it has the “feel” of one two. The knobs on top have a superb resistance, with the volume knob feeling almost perfect and the tuning knob having an assuring “click” to it as it’s turned, to ensure you don’t go blazing past those DAB stations when changing.

The buttons are similarly robust, with a good solid click to them, although the power button is something I’d sooner see gone in favour of power on the volume knob- that said, most people favour a “set and forget” approach to volume.

The stainless steel and black finish should be at home alongside any quality stainless steel kitchen equipment, and the Roberts Revival really feels like a kitchen radio despite its ability to function perfectly well outdoors on 4 D cell batteries for up to a ridiculous but to be expected 120 hours.

This radio is robust, weighty, hewn from wood and steel and is certainly not for the minimalist or modernist. Even the back is decked out in steel, making it a thoroughly high quality piece of kit into which Roberts have clearly poured a lot of thought, love and attention.

And it seems the Revival is just that, a labour of love, a gift from Roberts to those still clinging onto an ancient, worn FM radio in the hope it might bring them into the 21st century without blemishing their home with a garish plastic monstrosity.

But the price tag, £199, may put a few off. Although it can be had for a marginally more reasonable £165 from Play.com the revival really is a radio to be kept around for another 20 years, and is clearly aimed at those of us who cling to the past or simply those of us who can’t resist the beauty of a classically styled appliance.

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