* Prices may differ from that shown
Set up to this radio is really simple (I didn't even need to read the instructions) the radio automatically searches for all local digital radio stations when you switch it on.
This product is portable, and unlike other portable radios has a decent battery life. The radio is quite large which is a minor disadvantage; however it is reasonably lightweight and would be perfect for a camping trip etc. Alternatively this product can also be plugged in, which is how I use it most of the time as a bedside radio- it is Eco friendly- in terms of power consumption. I have the radio in black; it looks sleek and modern and would suit most home environments. The display screen lights up in quite a bright blue when switched on, this is un- noticeable during the day, but may be quite distracting at night time.
My favourite feature to this radio is that the song playing can be displayed on the screen. The main disadvantage I have found is the lack of radio alarm, there doesn't seem to be an option to set an alarm, which seems a basic yet useful feature. Overall although this radio has some minor downsides, it is reliable, versatile and plays good quality sound.
I bought this radio about 8 months ago as a gift for an 'older' person. I was looking for one that was easy to use and environmentally friendly in terms of power consumption. Having had some rather disappointing previous experience using DAB radios I took considerable time in making this purchase. I have to say that I was well impressed with the Roberts ECO4W Ecologic 4 and wish I'd bought one for myself. I used it for about three days before somewhat reluctantly handing it over. This really is a superb radio.
The design and finish of the radio is stylish but simple. The buttons are easy to access and I like the two big silver knobs for changing volume and switching stations. The only awkward aspect is the headphone socket which is tucked away at the back if the radio.
Setting up isn't too much of a problem. The only chore is to set up your 10 pre-set stations (On Amazon it is incorrectly stated that there are 20) which is fairly easy to do by following the instruction manual. The radio automatically searches for all your local digital radio stations when you switch it on. There are five buttons below the display panel to which you can assign 5 stations. A further five stations can be set to these same buttons and accessed by simultaneously pressing another button. You change stations via one of the large silver knobs (the other is for volume) or there are 2 buttons you can press to go "up" or "down" through the programmes stored on the radio. There is an FM facility but this radio was bought for DAB use so the FM remains unused.
When switched on the radio has a strong blue luminous glow emitted from the display panel and the buttons. I quite like it as it's almost like a bedside lamp. I've read other reviewers who have complained that it is too bright so I guess it all comes down to personal taste.
The quality of the digital sound is excellent no doubt helped by the stereo speakers as well as separate bass and treble controls. I've often been disappointed with the music stations on previous DAB radios I've used. This was mainly due to the poor tinny digital sound quality. The Roberts ECO4W Ecologic however, seems to have got the balance right without overcompensating with too much bass. As for reception quality, there has been no problems at all in the suburban 'just outside the city centre area' in which the radio us used.
According to the manufacturer the Ecologic 4 offers 150 hours battery life, five times more than other DAB radios on the market, so they say. Unfortunately we've never had the chance to test this as given that the radio is on for at least 12 hours a day, I recommended that it should only be used plugged in. Also, when operated via the mains the radio is supposed to have a reduced level of power consumption.
Although classed as portable, it is quite a big radio to haul around and I would imagine it would be quite heavy once loaded with six D size alkaline batteries. I would say it makes an ideal bedside radio because standing upright the controls are all on the top panel so it's easy to operate when you're reaching over from a lying down position to change stations etc. With many radios you have to use two hands in order to do this - one to steady the radio whilst you change the settings with the other.
The radio (white version) cost a hefty £85 when purchased. A month or so ago however, I saw it on Amazon for £65. Perhaps that's why at the time of writing there are presently none available.
Update 10th Feb 2014 - Radio still works, use it nearly every day and is as good as new!