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Best DAB radios 2021: Which digital radio should you buy?

Looking for the best DAB radios? We’ve tested the the most popular sets on the market to help you find the perfect frequency-locking audio companion.

Radio isn’t dead, and these days you can get a pretty decent DAB set for less than the price of a small Bluetooth speaker. There’s a good deal more than DAB to consider, too. Bluetooth streaming, NFC and Wi-Fi internet radio are no strangers to DAB sets, even ones that cost under £100.

So, which radio is right for you? We’ve tested sets from the biggest radio-makers out there, including legends of the radio scene Pure and Roberts, as well as luxury brands such as Ruark and Como to find out what’s best for you.

How we test

How we test radios

We play a lot of music, and we play it loud. But we don’t just listen to the speakers; if there are special features then we make sure we fiddle with them until we’re satisfied.

Of course, it always comes back to the music. Radios are tested by reviewers who have a knowledge of sound quality, as well as a context of the market. We’ll listen to radios alongside similarly priced rivals, so when we recommend a particular model, it’s among the best you can buy for the money.

Roberts Stream 94i

A great DAB radio and audio streamer for the modern user
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Pros

  • Loud and powerful for a DAB radio
  • Much-improved visual design
  • Wide set of wireless features

Cons

  • Sound is slightly too treble-focused
  • Battery add-on is a little clunky-looking

The design isn’t as striking as that of the Roberts Revival series, but it’s a tasteful effort with a wood-laminated enclosure anad a glossy fascia. Tuning and volume are controlled with two easy-to-use dials and below them you’ll find buttons for playback, presets and the on/off button.

As well as DAB and FM, the Stream 94i also brings Bluetooth, Spotify Connect and internet radio to the party, as well as DLNA streaming via the My Music feature. Files can be played off a USB stick if you choose. If you want portability, a battery is available – at extra cost.

Despite the £200 price, don’t expect Sonos One levels of audio performance here. Nonetheless, this is a loud and powerful performer, with lots of clarity and bass power. The Stream 94i is a great advert for what the modern radio can be.

Reviewer: Andrew Williams
Full Review: Roberts Stream 94i

Geneva Touring S

Old-school radio meets Bluetooth speaker in this gorgeous little set
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Pros

  • Looks gorgeously retro
  • Built-in radio
  • Good battery life
  • Removable rechargeable battery
  • Relatively compact

Cons

  • Thin sound
  • Harsh at high volume

The retro styling of the Geneva Touring S is a cross between the look of portable radios of yesteryear and the style of a rangefinder camera. The top plate, with its large combined on/off switch and volume knob, is very camera-esque, as is the faux leather – available in black, tan or red – that wraps around the body. The telescopic antenna, cross-slotted grille and red LED display are all vintage radio, though. It’s very nicely done.

Thanks to a rechargeable battery you get up to 20 hrs of on-the-go use. The battery can be removed so you can have a spare in readiness for those weekend festivals or glamping trips.

Sound quality is not too bad considering the Geneva’s size, but it’s more akin to a Bluetooth speaker than the sound of the other radios on this list. Don’t expect much bass, but the treble is clean and clear. Radio reception is excellent, and you get six presets each for DAB and FM.

Reviewer: Simon-Osborne Walker
Full Review: Geneva Touring S

FAQs

Do radios support smart features?

If you’re wondering whether radios support the likes Alexa and Google Assistant, then no, we’ve not reviewed a radio that can do that yet. Flip it the other way and Alexa can play radio stations on compatible smart devices.

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