DAB plus unofficial logo


Chunky styling and simplicity abound in this old-timer from Goodmans, which is also DAB and DAB+ compatible

Our rating

four stars out of five

It's a wee bit simple, but the Goodmans Pebble will get you up and listening to DAB, DAB+ and FM stations in no time. While the sound isn't groundbreaking, as a second radio for the bathroom or shed, it's not a bad deal.

Where to buy

The Goodmans Pebble DAB is available from Amazon in slate grey or concrete. Other colours may also be available.

Goodmans Pebble inexpensive DAB portable radio review - it is up to much?
Saturday, 5th November 2016

What's this? A relatively cheap, no-frills DAB and DAB+ digital radio with FM, capable of picking up three additional stations in the UK broadcasting in DAB+, alongside a fourth, Union Jack? There's much to like, but a few significant niggles that may put you off this handy, mains and battery powered digital radio.
Goodmans Pebble DAB digital radio
Goodmans GMR1888DAB Pebble - a no-frills digital radio at under £25

With its fuss-free design, the Goodmans GMR1888DAB Pebble has been around for a few years, but its forward-thinking receiver module is DAB and DAB+ ready - meaning you'll also get Magic Chilled, Jazz FM, Fun Kids children's radio and Union Jack if you're in the coverage area. It may not sport an official 'digital tick', but this Goodmans Pebble will handle DAB+ stations - such as the aforementioned four, meaning you'll be able to listen to jazz, rhymes, chilled and all-Brit music broadcasts, instead of the sound-of-silence you'd get from older radios that are not DAB+ compatible. And with more and more local DAB+ stations launching, this is a good thing. So far, extra points for the Pebble.

The Goodmans Pebble works best when out and about with freshly-charged rechargeable "AA" batteries - you'll notice the radio misbehaves once the power level starts to drop; the three memory preset buttons fail to respond and the display starts to flicker with the volume cranked up. So, always keep a spare set charged up and ready to go.Goodmans Pebble display
Goodmans Pebble - a no-frills digital radio at under £25

Stations are selected using a large rotary dial, with a push-to-select action. A smaller dial turns the radio on and off, and adjusts the volume. The sound is a little biased towards the midrange and treble for music stations, somewhat lacking depth, but is okay for speech stations. However, there's too big a jump between the lowest volume setting (too quiet) and the next one up (significantly louder), meaning that you'll find it very difficult to use as a bedside radio where fine adjustment of volume is desirable. Oh, and anyway there's no headphone socket or alarm function. Three preset memories let you choose your favoured stations for quick recall - a long-press on a preset button stores a station in memory

The display is also tiny, though backlit, it's located on the top of the radio. Dual-line, it can show the full 16-character DAB station name and scrolling text, however its other features are severely lacking - although it does show signal strength for stations.

Despite all this, its portability, weight and chunky styling mean that it's easy to carry around and put down in the garden. It also goes fairly loud and a full set of rechargeables will last a good few hours. Having owned it for a year, it's a radio that I find myself going back to again and again, even though its tiny display means I perhaps shouldn't. It has three direct-access preset buttons and does a decent job of grabbing radio stations from the airwaves, picking up just as many stations as a Pure or Sony, with the aerial fully extended. Soundwise, it's a little lacking in bass, but not too tinny thanks to the radio's reasonably-sized speaker enclosure (casing) - arguably better than the Sony XDR-S40, but perhaps less user-friendly a radio. Be ready to swap-out the batteries for fresh ones, and the Pebble also works well in the bathroom or kitchen and even goes quite loud.
Goodmans Pebble DAB radio buttons
Goodmans Pebble - three direct-access presets, battery or mains radio at under £25

The Goodmans isn't going to win any major awards for sonic prowess, but its simplicity (albeit with a lack of headphone socket) scores in its favour.

The Goodmans Pebble portable DAB is available from Amazon.

More information and related links:
see our DAB Buyers' Guide for more advice and suggestions
recommended wi-fi and wired internet radio suggestions

news index | home