I bought this DAB clock radio a few years ago for my partner who has to be up for work at a ridiculously early time some mornings. I can't remember now why I chose this one, probably due to the low price as Acoustic Solutions products are never as expensive as other more well known brands.
When I say the clock radio is still in use now, some five years later, don't let that give a false impression as while the 'kicking Mark out of bed' aspect is perfectly fine the DAB radio part is totally rubbish and has been since the day we bought it.
The main issue for Mark was that the channel selection didn't work well, and when he saved and radio channel to 'favourites' it would only stay saved until he switched the radio off and then all saved channels were lost. Not only that but the radio has to fully scan for channels each and every time it's switched on, meaning you can never just decide to listen to something and have audio immediately as the scanning takes a strangely long amount of time.
Forget the techie DAB stuff, as a clock radio this works well - it goes off exactly when it's supposed to, the display isn't crazily bright to disturb your sleep, the alarm volume is perfect and the back up battery ensures you'll be woken up in time for work even if the electricity goes down during the night.
I can't recommend this product at all, the selling point is surely the DAB capability and sadly here it fails big time - if you want a decent clock radio but aren't fussed about digital radio you can pick up a cheap non-DAB one from any of the supermarkets, or shell out a few more pounds for a quality DAB system.
do not waste your hard earned money on this pile of junk. for a start it has to re scan every time its switched on to pick up a signal, then it will not switch over to fm.
I was reminded recently by an observant friend that I did not own a clock radio alarm since the last cheap DAB radio I had bought ended up with my mum who fell for the Alba/Bush's organic looks and general ease of use. Even though it sits proudly on her desk at home, I've been on the lookout for a cheap DAB radio to replace the one I had and at £15-99 at the time it had to be as cheap as the one I had looked for initially.
I have never really heard of Acoustic Solutions making a radio before, only knowing that they have a small and limited range of audio equipment such as headphones or PC accessories. But imagine my surprise and delight when at £12-99 at Argos this DAB radio looked promising.
** Design and Look **
For a start the Acoustic Solutions DAB radio doesn't look anything special even though it is dripping in an obvious silver paint, which does very little other than try to blend in with bedroom styles or surroundings. It is a pity that whoever Acoustic Solutions really are, they don't try and hide the cheap plastic even though it is easy to see the bends and seams in the plastic accompanied by cheap feeling buttons, which sometimes don't activate on contact.
So in the last month this has now been the second model I have owned; the first one decided to stop working, failing to deliver its rather annoying buzzer alarm despite the fact that it had originally worked for a month and then suddenly gave up. I realised that perhaps I had bought a dud model and upon returning to Argos, there was no other question but to swap it for a new model.
Its quite a wide affair this radio on terms of its sweeping shape rather like an upturned shovel with a curved part sweeping down and if you don't like complicated controls then you wont like the Acoustic radio. And that's a shame because on paper the spec isn't particularly appealing and its not until you get it out of the box and plugged in that its features are quite vast for all that it is essentially a clock radio alarm box.
** Features **
But be warned; if it takes a buyer to have to read the manual first then there is something seriously up, because on contact without reading the manual, setting the clock is all very well and easy but you will need to read the manual to set the alarms as well as activating the time, day and date which this clock product also offers. What is then revealed is a lot of two fingers on two buttons and then some. The radio's main problem is that you need a lot of time and patience to get used to how this radio works, never mind the alarm settings.
No less than three alarm type wake up calls are available from this radio set. The first buzzer which just annoys people by being the fact that it is very loud; another alarm which starts off silent and gradually a la crescendo, begins to get a little louder each time even though you're in no clear state at some ungodly hour to be able to reach over and put the clock radio off. The third alarm isn't an alarm at all, but simply the radio functions where either the DAB radio or the preset AM radio which this radio also offers can be selected. The radio also allows pre-selected days to be chosen where the alarm should sound; either 5 days a week, one day a week or a whole week where the alarm can be sounded - now that is a particularly nice and thoughtful feature and one I'm not used to at all but rather like the idea of.
The LCD screen is a calming blue quality with white decals/LED's numbers which show a very calming quality whenever the clock has to be viewed. So it's a pity that the LED's numerical numbers are very thin and it is near difficult to see the display unless you site yourself close to the radio rather than try and look away from it. Press the volume buttons up or down to change the dimmer facility which allows for no screen at all to the brightest blue which is additionally another great advantage. The lack of a build quality however is obvious and the size of the radio is a smidge bulky thanks to its low set shape and off set angled screen. In all cases, the buttons move with a cheap feeling and click out loud too loudly to be ignored.
The DAB quality however is disappointing. Although I have had DAB radio equipment before sited at the same position, the Acoustic Solutions DAB radio had trouble picking up any station and at the price I paid even though I had a duff model the first time around, the second model still failed to pick up any DAB radio station even though my other DAB personal radio can! This presented initial questions as to whether it is actually worth the bother. AM radio however was no problem and most stations were picked up really well.
One of the more plausible reasons to consider the AS radio isn't the fact that the controls are cheap, or that the DAB radio signal may be weak; the sound quality of the radio present doesn't sound too tinny and that is a welcome surprise to counter act anything else which may get in the way.
So despite the fact that radio number 2 provided a longer term experience - i.e. more than a month it was no surprise that one day without warning, the clock radio failed to sound its alarm and then with no hesitation, its LCD screen went blank. Back to Argos and once and for all to get a refund through a lot of bother, instead of putting up with the crap experience again.
One thing that I must point out that however much the AS disappointed, it was not the kind of alarm clock which manages to work in cold temperature rooms. I noticed this the first time when radio number 1 decided to freeze up its screen and then defrost itself as soon as the room heated up. In this respect with both models I owned in such a short time, I can only fathom that the unit will not work in cold rooms and is therefore not the kind of radio clock alarm unit which can be wholly trusted.
Tie in the whole experience and you're left wondering why on earth you bothered, even though it did appear to have the cheapest price going for it and has some particular nifty features. Argos now show it on their website as being double the price! So by the time this review appears on Dooyoo I may have been given a much nicer radio clock alarm to wake up to. What a pity the Acoustic Solutions DAB radio has been such a let down. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007