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Auxiliary connections are kept to a minimum with just line-out and line-in jacks and a headphone socket. We're glad to see these all kept round the back so cable clutter is kept to a minimum when devices are plugged in. Though with the front already being a mess the aesthetic advantages of this decision is largely moot.
Furthermore, the line-in is poorly implemented. When nothing is plugged in, you can't select it but when you plug something in it auto-switches to it. Seems fine, right? Well, yes, except you can't then switch back to the radio without unplugging the auxiliary input. So if you want to use a dock with your mp3 player you have to unplug not just your mp3 player from its dock but the dock from the radio, every time you want to listen to the radio.
Turn the radio on and the first thing you notice is the mediocre screen. This seems to be another area where Tangent and Vita Audio have drawn from the same well of inspiration, as the displays seem to be identical, which is no good thing. Up close and straight on it's fine but viewing angles are very narrow and the double line of information is poor compared to the multi-line displays of some competitors. Most of all, though, what it lacks is a decent clock readout that can be easily read from a distance. This ruins its potential as a true all-in-one bedside clock radio.
Ergonomics aren't one of the Trio's strong points either. While the majority of the buttons and other controls are intuitive and work perfectly well, the way the alarm and sleep menus operate is just odd. For a start, you have to hold down the sleep or alarm button for a few seconds to enter the menu. You then adjust the highlighted setting (on/off) with the tuning knob and press the enter button to move to the next highlighted setting (time in minutes). This process is repeated until you've adjusted all the settings you require. Now that may sound fairly reasonable but, trust me, it's a very crude way of achieving such a simple task.
Thankfully the Trio did well when it came to the basics of finding and tuning to radio stations - after all, even the best looking/sounding radio is useless unless it can find a signal. Even in our office, which receives next to no DAB signal, the Trio was able to pick out a few stations.
So, while the Trio does the basics, I think we can safely say it's not the perfect tabletop DAB radio when it comes to layout and ergonomics, but if it sounds great we could largely forgive most of these foibles - as we have done in the past with radios like the Vita Audio R1. Unfortunately, while the Tangent Trio does sound very good it isn't outstanding.
Volume, clarity, and warmth are all there in abundance but the bass is just a little over-egged, which can lead to the single speaker becoming overwhelmed, making things sound muffled.
The Tangent Trio has all the makings of a worthy contender to the high-end desktop DAB radio title. However, it's let down by too many little niggles that ultimately push it into the realms of mediocrity.
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