Nowadays, nobody wants just a DAB radio. The View Quest Hepburn name and look may be retro, but it offers a few modern features beyond DAB, including Bluetooth streaming and USB charging for your phone.
The design won’t be for everyone, but nor will the £149.99 price. However, does its array of features make it an attractive alternative to rivals like the Pure Evoke F4?
The View Quest Hepburn has a retro-look design that has long been popular among DAB radio makers. It’s offered in a range of colours, including red, yellow, blue and black.
The metal speaker grille is bordered by a fake leather surround, adding to the Hepburn’s retro feel. This effect continues on the back panel and the sides. Although it looks fairly nice on a shelf, up close the faux leather feels cheap and the frame creaks when you apply a bit of pressure – disappointing for £150.
All the buttons, knobs and the display of the View Quest Hepburn sit on the top, underneath a pivoting metal handle. There's a snooze button, but it's nowehere near as handy as the snooze handle used by some other radios.
We regularly use a DAB radio as a morning alarm, but the Hepburn's snooze button is hard to find in the dark with a fumbling, dozy finger. This is not the perfect bedside radio.
However, the display light automatically dims after a short period, meaning it won’t illuminate your room too much at night. You can adjust the screen's brightness level, and customise how long it will stay lit-up for as well.
The Hepburn is more than just a DAB radio. There’s an FM tuner and Bluetooth to let you stream audio from a phone - or almost anything with Bluetooth connectivity.
It is simple to use too. To control the radio you only need to worry about the two main knobs, and the other control buttons are sensibly laid-out. They let you access the menu, alarm settings, snooze, EQ, station info and the presets, and control playback of music streamed from your mobile.
Having these buttons to hand means there's little need to delve into potentially confusing menus.
Around the back of the View Quest Hepburn is a 3.5mm audio input jack, the power socket and a 5V/1000mA USB port. The latter is only used to charge your smart device - it is not an audio input.
However, we plugged an iPhone 5C and iPad mini into Hepburn via USB and couldn’t get either to charge. An iPod Classic charged immediately, so obviously the Hepburn has some Apple compatibility issues in this area.
You can power the radio with batteries rather than the adapter, but you'll need four D-size batteries. A rechargeable battery would be more convenient, and lighter.
Despite the imperfect build quality, View Quest hasn't skimped too much on the insides. The Hepburn has two 58mm full-range drivers that provide fairly clean and clear sound.
Sound quality at lower volumes is good, which is perfect for when you’re using the Hepburn as your bedside DAB. Unfortunately, as with many radios of this size, there are issues at top volume.
There is substantial distortion when you crank up the volume beyond half-way. The View Quest Hepburn sound is overly bassy too, which was even evident when we played with the EQ settings.
The View Quest Hepburn is a good-looking radio with a great set of features, but is let down by poor build quality and a steep price.
If you’re really hankering after a vintage feel DAB radio system, the Roberts Revival is still hard to beat. The Pure Evoke F4 is a fantastic, newer alternative, but costs around £30 more. It has a front-facing display and a snooze handle that make it perfect as a bedside radio, while its ability to skip between acting as a traditional DAB radio and a streaming speaker make it worth the extra money.
The ViewQuest Hepburn offers a fantastic range of features, but build quality, strange design quirks and its price may leave you looking elsewhere.
Next, read our best portable speakers round-up