**What is it, and Why Buy?**
I am a regular reader of Hot UK Deals, and when I saw a post on there stating that Aldi would be selling a DAB radio for £16.99, I decided to treat myself. I'd wanted a DAB radio for the kitchen for a while but I didn't want anything expensive - under £20 is great for a DAB radio in my book.
A DAB radio is a digital radio receiver (DAB stands for Digital Access Broadcasting) which gives easier tuning, superior quality and more features than a standard analogue radio. I was sick of having my old radio needing to be tuned in to every channel and having no presets, and it varying in quality depending on if I was near the aerial or whether a lorry went past!
The Envivo DAB & FM Radio has the following specifications:
6 Preset Channels
Backlit LCD display
Built-in front facing speaker
Extendable silver aerial
Ability to run on mains power or 4 x AA Batteries (Not supplied, though it runs fine on cheap Kodaks from the pound shop)
Analogue FM tuning for non DAB areas or channels
I think for £16.99 the Envivo DAB & FM Radio is pretty well packed with features, in fact there really isn't anything missing from this model which you might get on a high end DAB radio which actually I'd need. So 5 / 5 for features especially for the price.
**What's in the Box**
In the box, you get:
The Envivo DAB & FM Radio
2 Year Warranty
The box itself is a nice full colour box and the overall presentation of it is of a high quality, meaning the Envivo DAB & FM Radio would make a nice gift (not like some supermarket value items which you might not want to wrap up in their basics packaging!)
The Envivo DAB & FM Radio is available in a matte black or a matte white finish. The finish is undoubtedly plastic and can feel slightly on the cheaper side but for a budget DAB radio it's absolutely fine and the build quality doesn't feel flimsy at all.
The unit has a curved front with a flat back, meaning it's great to use against a wall, on a windowsill or as a bedside unit. It has a silver extendable aerial, and the buttons (tuning, volume and presets) are all on the angled top of the unit along with the backlit LCD screen. For a sub £20 DAB radio I think it looks good (I went for the white version as it's for use in my kitchen).
I tend to use my radio with batteries and I find that I only need to change them every three months or so, and I use the radio for at least 20 minutes most days whilst I prepare meals. Tuning it was a breeze (the screen tells you what radio station you've tuned to) and I've got my six favourite channels as presets, so it's as easy as switching it on and going to which channel I want. No more fiddly tuning or static sounds!
The sound quality for me is excellent through the little built in front facing speaker. No tinny sound, no distortion - I'm really pleased with it. Voices are easy to hear and bass is sufficiently deep. For most people it will suit them down to the ground.
The clock feature is handy as it has an alarm on it, which I can hear better than my oven timer so I actually use it quite often if I have something in the oven, again another handy little feature.
It's wipe-clean, which is a bonus, for use in the kitchen. Overall I am really happy with it, never had a moment's trouble with it and it has the added bonus of a 2 year manufacturer's warranty for peace of mind.
For the money I think any downsides I could state (such as a rechargeable battery or a USB input for playing mp3s etc) would defeat the object of this being a budget DAB radio.
Overall I am very happy indeed with my purchase of the Envivo DAB & FM Radio and I'm glad I waited it out for DAB radios to get to a reasonable and affordable price which competes with that of analogue technology.
Since I purchased my white one I've bought a black one as a gift and it was very gratefully received. I can't fault it in terms of price, looks, quality and sheer ease of use. I'm really happy with it and if you're looking for a little DAB radio for use as an alarm clock, for in the kitchen, garage or just around the house, then you can't go far wrong with the Envivo DAB & FM Radio.
I'm going to give it 5 stars out of 5 because I can't really find any fault with it personally. Highly recommended. Keep an eye out in your local Aldi, because these can and do sell out especially around Christmas time.
The fact that I was the last person in the world to own a DAB radio was not down to being a technophobe. Much as I like to savour the nostalgia for steam radio, magic lanterns and the abacus, I think I've been fairly good at embracing technological change and celebrating the new opportunities it brings. No, it's not that. I'm just mean.
DAB radios have seemed rather expensive up to now, and I didn't feel I could justify the expense when I had several, perfectly good analogue radios around the house. However, when shopping in Aldi one time I noticed that the Envivo DAB/FM radio was selling for £16.99 and having been quite pleased with the Envivo range of products in the past I thought this was a well-priced opportunity to find out what DAB had to offer.
The Envivo DAB/FM Portable Radio comes in black and white and at 180 x 78 x 41.5 mm is slim and sleek to look at, but the plastic casing goes with a plastic feel, so that you know you're handling a low-end product. A cheap feel doesn't always mean a cheap performance, of course. I don't buy a radio to look at it, but to listen to it. With other Envivo products I have found that the performance has been better than the build.
It comes with a mains lead and plug, but also takes 4 x AA batteries, which are not supplied. The on/off switch is at the back and there is an extendable, fold-down aerial. On the top, there is an array of buttons for switching between DAB and FM, for pre-setting stations and recalling them, raising and lowering volume, and for moving backwards and forwards between stations. There is also a standby button and a headphone socket.
A potentially useful feature of this radio is an alarm clock facility, along with a backlit LCD display, making it a possibility for the bedside.
While that lightweight, plastic feel might not be everything, I have found it difficult to get away from; and even setting that aside, I have not been completely happy, I have to say.
When I set it up and put it on automatic search it "found" 63 stations, but many of them were unclear and they took some sifting through before I was able to pre-set the ten of them that this radio allows. There were still some that I couldn't find. Recalling them seemed a bit of a nuisance as well. You have to press the pre-set button for a couple of seconds and then press the forward and backward buttons to find the station you want. I have an old car radio that Noah didn't want and I find it easier to find stations on that while I'm driving than I do on this thing.
Once you've found a station with a good signal, the sound is clear, but not very loud. This is not a radio for the hard of hearing, unless you're going to use the headphone socket, either for an earpiece or to connect to an amp, but if you have to do the latter, you're largely defeating the object of having a small, portable radio in the first place. I don't find the tone very robust, either. Somehow that "plasticky" feel seems to extend to the sound as well.
Looking at the market now, I have to say that I made an unwise impulse buy. I'm sure that if I'd looked around a little, then for the same money, or perhaps a little bit more, I could have found something better. I can't honestly say that this is any better than the battered old analogues I've got around the place. In fact, I think it's worse. If this were pink and had big buttons, I might have considered giving my very first DAB radio to my six year old granddaughter.
I shall probably end up using this as a radio alarm by the bed. The difficulty there is that the present incumbent is over thirty years old and still going strong. I think I got it with Green Shield stamps!
If there are just one or two stations you listen to all the time, you want a clear signal, you don't want to spend much money and you don't have a hearing problem .....this could be for you.