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Roberts R 250 LI

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      26.09.2010 19:10
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      A classically styled retro radio

      There seems to be somewhat of a surge in old style radios at the moment, with these Roberts Revival Radios really coming to the fore.

      Now they're not cheap at around £170 for what effectively is a portable radio. But what you are getting for that price is a very special radio. Rather than your modern day digital display things that are the size of a matchbox, these radios are retro styled from the 1950s with turnable knobs for tuning and volume, a real speaker grill, a sticky up aerial bit and a leather outer casing.

      Looking at the particulars, the leather casing over the standard box for the radio comes in a variety of colours to enable you to colour co-ordinate the radio to your kitchen (or whatever other room you want to put it in) furnishings. Personally, when we bought one, the wife went for the pastel pink option. To complement it, the fittings are finished in brass, from the catch to open the back panel, through the hand strap end fittings and onto the speaker grill and metalled Roberts badge on the front. So just looking at it with the mixture of brass fittings and pastel pink leather casing around a standard box radio casing, it looks classy and well finished.

      Size wise it is quite chunky, at 24 cm wide, by 15 cm high and 10 cm deep. The top has an inset gold/brass panel with the various radio tuning decals on it. On the left is the turnable volume button and on the right is the tuning dial, both sitting either side of the centre frequency dialler. There are also 4 buttons located here for Tone, FM, MW and LW. You also have an additional headphone socket on the top and the whole lot is finished off with the Roberts Revival logo and the royal crest showing royal approval for the Roberts brand (high level endorsement!!). You also have the option of running the radio off the mains (adaptor supplied) or via a battery (PP9 version) for portability.

      In use, I was quite surprised at the sound quality this radio produces. If you open the back panel, you are basically faced with a wooden board across the inside of the back with a little hole cut out for a large battery to be fitted. But looking through the hole, there really isn't that much to this radio - just a small circuit board, a little speaker at the front and a lot of free space within the box. So it was surprising that it does produce a nice rich sound - no nauseating tinny noise - and you can have it quite loud in the garden with no distortion at all. You can tune it into a radio station (it is not a digital radio) and it stays locked on and crystal clear.

      The only niggle we have found in use is that the leather cover can get dirty over time, especially with a light colour such as the pastel pink that we have. The leather obviously has some graining to it and hence the dirt just grinds into the grain, where the best way we've found to clean it is to use an old tooth brush or nail brush and scrub at it to clean out the grain. Another little niggle seems to be that the front speaker grill seems to be a really brilliant dirt catcher. Again, just scrub it with an old toothbrush and it seems to bring it back to new again.

      But overall, even though it is a very expensive radio, it is a sort of retro piece of 'furniture' in your home that does have that certain charm, look and appeal about it and will probably last you for years to come. So a worthwhile investment and definitely worth a 5 star recommendation from me.

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