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Fairly or not, my first reaction to the Tangent Trio is that it looks very similar to the Vita Audio range of DAB radios. They're by no means identical but they're obviously cut from the same cloth. Not that this is a bad thing, though.
As the 9/10, 8/10, and 7/10 scores I've given Vita's desktop radios have proven, they're a good choice of device to be associated with. And besides, Tangent actually beat Vita Audio to the punch - the Trio is about a year older than the any of the Vita range. Or at least the original Tangent DAB Table Radio is that old. The one we have here is the renamed, but otherwise identical, Trio Desktop DAB Radio which is obviously newer. Anyway, enough of this preamble. Let's finds out if the Trio still stacks up.
Starting with those looks, there's one other thing that immediately strikes you about the Trio; the speaker's on the top. While undoubtedly peculiar there's actually a great deal of logic to this. For a start, it leaves the front free to be occupied by the controls and display, allowing the radio to be shorter and slimmer than otherwise possible. Secondly, with only one speaker, you're getting no stereo effect anyway so projecting the sound upwards helps to spread the sound out, filling the whole room with sound, rather than it just emanating from one corner.
It seems to be quite effective as well, though we'd hesitate to say it's markedly better than a conventional forward facing speaker. Also, while moving the speaker to the top does enable the Trio to be shorter and narrower than it otherwise might have been, it's not significantly smaller than much of its competition. Indeed, we'd argue the taller stance but smaller footprint of devices like the Boston Acoustics Solo XT and the Vita Audio R1 makes more sense for a bedside/tabletop radio.
We do, however, like the overall styling and finish. The curved wooden sides are wonderfully tactile and beautifully finished and the various controls and connections are all built and fitted to a high standard. There's also a multitude of luscious high-gloss colours to choose from, as well as the two Oak and Walnut finishes, the latter of which we're looking at today.
Our only other complaint on the aesthetics front would be the rather cluttered face. While the exacting symmetry is welcome, the whole effect is ruined by the superfluous model name and DAB labels. They frankly look a mess and turn this otherwise stylish 'lifestyle' accessory into, well, something less desirable.
Round the back, there's the same attention to detail and quality finish that the rest of the device displays. When stowed, the antenna is neatly clasped by a retaining clip and when extended, it's firmly held in place by the strong joint at the bottom. The reason I mention this fairly mundane fact is that many fancy radio antennas can fall down (literally) on these simple details.
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