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Anyone that has bought one of Dualit's iconic toasters will be quick to tell you how brilliant they are. Simple, intuitive controls, timeless design, and build quality that could last a lifetime makes these admittedly expensive utensils the essential addition to anyone's kitchen. However, while the quality of Dualit's kichen paraphernalia is undeniable, toasters and kettles can hardly be considered sophisticated pieces of electronics. So, the engineers at Dualit turning their hands to designing a DAB radio is not a prospect that fills me with hope.
Still, we're not ones to prejudge so let's find out if the Dualit Lite Radio is any cop.
First and foremost Dualit's eye for elegant retro design certainly seems to be on the ball with the same art deco lines that adorn all the company's products once again being employed. The model we're looking at is finished in a fetching cream colour but Chrome is available if you want something with a bit more bling and black is also an option.
Build quality also seems decent enough with a strong moulded plastic chassis that includes some neat little touches like a handle on the back and a neat, crumb catcher recess for stowing the aerial. The controls are also responsive and relatively robust. However, the overall feel isn't really one of quality.
It's understandable that plastic would be used for a construction material as it's lightweight but we can't really see it being all that scratch resistant. Likewise, it would've been nice to see aluminium controls rather than the silver painted plastic ones and the plastic speaker grille really does look a bit tacky - surely a simple metal mesh could've been added for little expense? Ok, at £85 the Lite Radio isn't exactly a luxury item, so these cost cutting measures are understandable, but considering Dualit's pedigree, and the fact its toasters cost nearly £200, you can't escape the feeling that the Lite Radio is letting the side down a bit.
On the plus side, the device can be both mains and battery powered, though there's no built-in battery. Instead it actually requires six AA batteries - either alkaline or rechargeable. Fortunately these can be charged using the mains adapter so there's no need to constantly swap the batteries in and out when they run out of juice. If you do need to use disposables, though, there's a little switch on the back that lets you turn off the charging function so you don't cause any damage.
Without batteries the radio is amazingly light, at 1.1kg, and even with batteries it still weighs only 1.3kg, so it certainly has the portability stakes wrapped up.