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DAB digital radio and wi-fi internet radio Buyer's Guide


Which portable DAB digital radio do we recommend?

If you want a reliable radio, we'd go for the Sony XDR-S40 DAB & DAB+ radio with FM tuning - a popular choice that takes standard or rechargeable AA batteries. You can take this radio out and about and - when national DAB+ services start next year, you have a future-proofed radio, with DAB+ capability out-of-the-box. It's available in red and white variations, too - just check the link. Oh - and there's a headphone socket on the side.
Sony XDR S40 DAB radio
Sony XDR S40 DAB, DAB+ and FM portable battery/mains operated radio

If you want a smart kitchen or living room radio, the Pure Evoke D2 or Pure Evoke D2 Rob Ryan design is an award-winning radio wrapped in either an oak, walnut or special edition artwork. Pure radios are good at picking up a signal even in poor reception areas.
Pure Evoke D2 DAB and FM radio in Walnut finish
Pure Evoke D2 award-winning DAB and FM tabletop radio

For another DAB radio at the cheaper end of the market, but with good sound, look no further than the Pure ONE Mini Series II, a single-speaker DAB radio (with stereo sound if you plug in headphones and FM reception to boot) featuring a 3.5mm input to play your MP3 player or iPod through the Mini II's speaker. You can read more about the Pure One Mini Series II. There is a downside in that you need to purchase a specific battery pack in order to use most Pure portables out and about.
Pure One Mini Series II
Pure ONE Mini Series II DAB/FM radios


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The Pure ONE Classic DAB digital radio with FM offers pause, rewind and a 45 minute recording facility and does a great job at searching out even weak DAB signals; you can read about its features here.
Pure One Classic Series II DAB/FM radio in black
Pure ONE Classic Series II DAB/FM radio

If you want reliability and performance in weaker signal areas, we recommend Pure and Roberts DAB digital radios. Listeners do have a small complaint in that the AC adaptor (which plugs into the mains and has a low-voltage lead that plugs into the back of the radio) can be a bit chunky on these radios, but in reality it means that the power supply is isolated from the unit itself, thus reducing any problems with mains hum.

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Which DAB portable CD player do we recommend?

The Roberts Zoombox is about the only truly portable DAB radio featuring CD player. Taking 6 "C" cells, the Zoombox offers CD player and DAB/FM tuner in a portable radio. It can be found here. Roberts Radio ZoomBox DAB/FM CD portable stereo
Roberts Radio ZoomBox DAB/FM CD portable stereo


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Which DAB or internet radio with iPod/iPhone dock do we recommend?

If you want a modern-looking iPod/iPhone dock with both DAB and wi-fi internet radio then Revo AXiS X3 is a popular choice. The Roberts Radio Stream64i DAB/DAB+/FM stereo system with iPod dock also features a CD player, and is another popular system, kitted out with SD card slot and USB port for playing music files from memory stick. There's also access to live internet radio streams.
Revo AXiS X3
Revo AXiS X3 combined DAB/DAB+/wi-fi internet tabletop radio with iPod/iPhone dock
Roberts Stream 64i
Roberts Stream 64i music system with combined FM/DAB/DAB+/wi-fi radio with and CD player



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Which combined DAB and wi-fi internet radio do we recommend?

If you don't need an iPod dock built-in, the award-winning Pure One Flow with its connection to the Pure Connect portal for internet radio favouries and no-nonsense design offers lots of features for your money. It also offers access to the BBC's high-quality streams and all listen again & podcast content, available from February 2015. It's available here. We also recommend the Pure Evoke F4, which is a little more expensive, but just as popular. Again, both these and the Pure Sensia 200D Connect can handle the BBC's HLS streaming for on-demand/catch-up and live radio, giving you access to the BBC's 30-day listen again service within the UK.

Pure One Flow DAB/wi-fi internet radio

The Pure One Flow offers DAB, FM and wi-fi internet radio access via context-sensitive buttons
Pure Evoke F4 DAB/wi-fi internet radio
Pure Evoke F4 combines DAB, FM and wi-fi internet radio access, including on-demand, podcasts & catchup services.


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Which handheld or palmtop DAB digital radio should I buy?

The best handhelds are manufactured by Pure or Roberts, so we'd go for either the award-winning Pure Move 1500 DAB/FM handheld or the Pure Move 400D palmtop radio. Both feature built-in rechargeable batteries. Another reliable choice is the Roberts SportsDAB II handheld DAB/FM radio; with both telescopic and headphone aerials the SportsDAB II is good for seeking out a DAB signal.
Pure Move 400D palmtop DAB & FM radio
Pure Move 400D offers a palmtop-format radio with DAB and FM reception and a telescopic aerial
Roberts SportsDAB 2 DAB and FM handheld radio
Roberts SportsDAB 2 with DAB and FM, plus a telescopic aerial


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Which in-car DAB radio or in-car DAB adaptor should I buy?

The C2 AutoDAB Go DAB in-car DAB adaptor uses Bluetooth or a standard 3.5mm audio cable to connect to your existing in-car stereo, and has received good reviews.


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Which DAB radio with record should I buy? Roberts RecordR DAB/FM radio recorder with 4 timers and 4 separate alarms
Roberts RecordR DAB/FM radio recorder with SD card slot and 4 separate timers and alarms

Roberts RecordR offers 4 separate, fully programmable timers alongside 4 alarms. It has a high-capacity combined SDHC and SD card slot. This is the only widely-available DAB radio with recording facility. Other receivers are available, but they do not offer scheduled recordings at a time when you are out of the house.

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Which splashproof / water-resistant DAB digital radio should I buy?

The Roberts Splash! is a battery operated all-weather radio that you can use outside or in the bathroom or shower room. It uses standard "D"-size batteries that can also be swapped for rechargables if you wish. This radio receives DAB and FM broadcasts.
Roberts Splash DAB/FM radio
Roberts Splash! water-resistant and splashproof DAB and FM shower radio
It's a compact portable with a carrying handle, shower hook and mounting plate included

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Which alarm clock DAB radio should I buy?

Our recommendation for a simple DAB alarm clock radio would be either the Pure Siesta Mi II DAB alarm clock radio, or the Roberts Dreamtime II. If you want an iPod-dock alarm clock, try the Roberts Dreamdock II. Be aware that many users consider the display brightness of DAB clock alarm radios to be too high when trying to sleep, however, those listed here have dimmer controls, adjusting the display brightness depending on the ambient light levels within the room (in the case of the Siesta Mi II) or, as with the Dreamdock, a four-stage dimmer. This seems to have solved previous concerns thst listeners have had with older (and cheaper) models of DAB alarm clocks.
Roberts Dreamtime 2
Roberts Dreamtime 2 DAB and FM alarm clock radio
Pure Siesta Mi 2 DAB and FM alarm clock radio
Pure Siesta Mi 2 alarm clock DAB radio with FM reception

Roberts Dreamdock 2 DAB radio with iPod dock
Roberts Dreamdock DAB alarm clock radio with iPod/iPhone dock


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Which DAB hi-fi system should I buy?

If it's a micro system you're looking for, the Denon DM38 DAB digital micro hi-fi system, combining an FM/AM/DAB receiver and CD player into one neat, compact unit is an award-winner. It offers excellent sound-for-pound. You can buy the Denon DM38 DAB digital micro hi-fi system here.
Denon DM-38 DAB
Denon DM38 DAB digital micro hi-fi system with direct iPod connection

Using an external aerial to improve coverage.

James writes about his DAB digital radio external aerial: " What a difference a rooftop DAB aerial makes (single dipole rod) ! I recently had a DAB aeiral put on my roof because I've moved from Cardiff to Dinas Powis (which is just outside of Cardiff) and had no signal at all for any of our four DAB multiplexes. I wasn't really sure weather it would make that much difference but as well as our four multiplexes (giving a total of thirty-six stations), I'm also receiving Bristol's local multiplex (really good signal), and Swansea's EMAP multiplex, only just about listenable due to a poor signal, taking the count up to fifty-one stations. All these pop stations all play the same music! I also have two XFMs, which is amusing! So those of you wondering whether or not to get a rooftop aerial I'd say go for it! "

DAB digital radio external aerials do make a significant difference to signal levels when installed correctly, though it's debatable whether they would offer any improvement where it is not possible to pick up a signal with a standard telescopic aerial. The two XFMs should soon offer different local news and travel, so it's no problem to pick up both stations.

 


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Related links:
a complete selection of DAB, wi-fi and ethernet internet radios
DAB digital radio FAQs

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