- Created on 07 March 2011
If you feel ready to make the move to DAB radio as opposed to the original FM radios, the choice of DAB radios available on the market has now exploded, leaving you with a massive number to choose from. With DAB radios varying in price from around the £20 mark up well in to the £100s for top end DAB units, the challenge is finding one suitable for your own needs, whether that includes an iPod/iPhone dock, powerful speakers or is simply a portable battery powered unit for use in the garden.
The latest addition to the View Quest portfolio that we have been lucky enough to review is the Retro1 DAB radio, a mid to high-priced unit (currently it retails for between £90-£120). In addition to the DAB radio, the View Quest Retro1 still supports standard FM with a standard tuner (at least until the FM signal is switched off, which could be for a number of years yet!), has a built in Apple iPod or iPhone dock and an AUX IN port for any other devices that you may want to connect.
The Retro1, with a red leather surround and handle with chrome detail (which actually looks far better than it sounds) and a black retro style grill on the face, really fits the name. Built in to the fascia is a simple 2 line 16 dot matrix negative LCD screen and an eleven button control panel that provides a basic set of controls to allow DAB or FM radio navigation, volume control and alarm settings. Additionally there is a cool spring-loaded drawer that houses an ipod dock at the base of the fascia that allows docking and charging of iPods or iPhones. At the rear of the device are the AUX IN port, the power switch and the DC IN port. Importantly, the Retro1 does not have to be run on mains power alone, it can also be run on batteries (although it doesn't charge your docked iPod/iPhone in this case). On battery power it apparently can last up to 15 hours of continuous use, pretty good for a relatively powerful little system running on only four C size batteries.
The View Quest Retro1 required little setup, with both DAB and FM presets easy to save (10 preset slots are available for both) and the iPod function is simple to use with docking instantly recognised by the device, with navigation controlled form the docked Apple iPod. The Retro1 also has two alarms that can be set to wake you up with either the DAB radio, FM radio, docked iPod or alternatively there is the choice of two different beep tones, any of which ring at half the maximum volume of the device (pretty loud given the two 10W speakers). When in standby mode the in built LCD displays the current time, whilst in DAB information about the program station etc are displayed.
Music quality is really quite good since this is supposed to be able to be used as both a portable or mains powered device. The two 10W speakers kick out a good reproduction of any music played, and although there is obviously a slight lack of bass frequency the overall sound quality is excellent for a device of this size and specification. Even at maximum volume there was no vibration from the unit indicating a good build quality.
In summary, the View Quest Retro1 lives up to the name with a stylish, yet simple retro design and incorporates both DAB and FM tuners, an Apple iPod/iPhone dock and a basic alarm system. The design allows it to be used on mains power or it can even be run on batteries for up to 15 hours with no loss in performance. Both the build quality and, more importantly, the sound quality are excellent and for the price we would definitely recommend it.