Vita Audio’s signature RotoDial control system sits centre-stage on top of the radio and it looks and feels as good as ever. The volume knob is tactile and accurate, the buttons are responsive, and the layout is simple and intuitive. However, we still maintain that it could be infinitely better if the dial was used for multiple context sensitive functions like manually tuning the radio, scrolling through programme information, or adjusting the alarm time (think iPod interface) rather than it simply being a volume dial and snooze button. The layout looks like that’s what it should do so why not embrace it? That said, knowing how many companies can mess up the simplest of controls, we’d probably rather see an overly simple interface that works rather than a clever one that doesn’t.
We do have one particular gripe with the controls though, they really should be backlit. When using the radio at night it’s impossible to see which button you’re pressing and with them all being the same shape you can’t tell just by feel alone.
Conversely, we also had a problem with the fact the display and blue ring around the volume dial never actually turn off fully, even when in standby. What’s worse, though, is when set to sleep mode, these lights don’t even dim to their standby levels so they positively light up an otherwise dark room. If you’re a light sleeper this will be an insurmountable problem.
The five buttons numbered 1 to 5 are for switching between and setting station presets. Each button can hold one FM and one DAB favourite and recalling the station requires just a short press. To set the station, you tune to the station you want, hold down the preset button and wait for the confirmation message – it really couldn’t be simpler.
The R2 includes alarm and sleep functions though there’s only one time setting for the alarm – so you’ll need to remember to change the time or turn it off at the weekends. Also the choice of alarm sounds is limited to just Buzz or Radio so there’s no soothing natural sounds like on the Pure DAB Tempus-1 S. For sleeping you can choose from 15 to 90 minutes at fifteen intervals.
The Info and Source buttons both work in similar fashions; tapping them will cycle through the list of options and, once you’ve found the one you want, you simply stop tapping. The information options are comprehensive including date and time, programme information, data rate, and signal strength among others, which is good but par for the course on a modern DAB. The Source button scrolls through the various audio options, namely DAB, FM, Aux1, and Aux2.