I was given this Roberts DAB Sports Radio as a gift from friends and wouldn't be without it.
Having always used portable FM/MW Radios to keep me company when gardening, or dog walking, when my last radio died, I needed a suitable replacement.
This was it and I couldn't be happier with it.
Very easy to use and to tune in to any Digital Station, this has a good-sized screen which shows you the signal strength, time, battery life remaining and the station that you are tuned to.
This works well either with earpieces in, or listening to it as a normal radio.
The only downside to this generally neat little radio, is that it doesn't feel like it is a quality product - it is just a bit plasticky. I guess this helps to keep the costs down, but I think they might have come up with something a bit more substantial.
That said, still well worthwhile.
During May 2006 with the anticipation of the 2006 FIFA World Cup building, my partner decided in order to maximise his watching and listening of every game played he would buy himself a Sports Digital Radio in order to listen to the BBC 5 Live Sports Extra channel for those times when he was unable to watch the action on telly.
So we decided to purchase a Roberts RD-14 Sports DAB from Curry's for a reasonable £99.99. I say reasonable because my partner wanted to purchase the more expensive DAB at £170, but I managed to persuade him otherwise. Basically it's a good idea I did, as the radio has become redundant by him since to games started, and has fallen into my possession.
At a glance, the Roberts RD-14 is marketed as a FM RDS/DAB digital radio ideal for using with BBC 5 Live Sports but obviously is ideal for any personal stereo listening.
Packed in its own nice little box, the silver DAB comes complete with an AC Adapter, White in ear headphones (with additional soft covers), and two AA Size batteries - convenient since so many products fail to come with batteries.
The Radio whilst looking a little chunky is actually very light,and measures approximately 65mm x 90mm x 20mm, so it isn't cumbersome to carry around.
Also included are a handy manual, covering the important topics such as first time usage, searching for stations, manual and automatic tuning and favourite's mode.
The Roberts RD-14 has to be one of the simplest radios to operate - possible because of the price, but maybe the answer is behind the name, as Roberts hold three Royal Warrants and have been making radios since 1932.
In summary, it's as easy as installing the batteries, plugging in your headphones, turning the radio one, clicking to enter the find services, and the radio will scan for all available stations. The display also shows a scanning message and progress bar.
Once the auto find has completed, just click to select the station you want to listen to, and adjust the volume so you don't deafen yourself.
The radio has 5 preset graphical icons representing the areas that can be selected on the radio. These are:
1. Favourites - this section is one of my favourites as it allows you to add or remove stations from your favourites list. This can save you time searching for the station when the DAB picks up signals from a large number as they will appear at the top of your list with a small heart next to them. You can store a maximum of 128 entries in the favourites list.
2. Switch to FM waveband
3. Find Services - this is the section that allows you to auto tune or manually tune your radio. I tend to let this auto tune as it is far easier to do so. Under the Find Services is a section called Auto tune Band III - DAB. This is used if you are operating your DAB outside of the UK.
4. Settings - Display, Frequency tuning etc
It's a simple click to enter any of these options, and further detail instructions can be found where applicable.
The display itself is clear and easy to read, and comes in two predefined settings:
1. Station name, time/date, signal and battery level and a single line of scrolling text
2. Station name and full text, without scrolling along the screen allowing you to read the text easier.
I personally prefer the simplified version, as I'm not really that bothered about reading the text item.
There are other areas on the DAB that people might be interested in, such as service information on the stations, or channel and frequency tuning.
Alongside the on/off button the DAB has a key lock function to prevent unintentional changes of the station you are listening to which can be switched, this comes in very handy when your storing your DAB in your pocket, as the movement can cause the stations to switch.
The backlight on the DAB highlights for approximately 12 seconds when any button is pressed, so handy for those night time listening sessions before you drop off to sleep - which brings to the next handy button - the Auto Power off. Basically you can set the auto power off to switch the DAB off after a preset time has elapsed. This can be handy if you want the music to lull you to sleep, but you don't want to waste 8 hours worth of battery.
You can restore all settings to default at any time as well just by selecting it.
Well buttons and settings are all well and good on a new toy, but what I really wanted was a vast choice of stations to listen to, at good quality.
Well I haven't been disappointed. Whenever I have reset the search, and ran an auto tune I've been able to find at least 15 different radio stations ranging from:
BBC 5 Live Sport Extra, alongside 10 other BBC Stations
The majority of these stations have a crystal clear sound and excellent signal, but there are a few - Planet Rock included - that sometimes have difficulty connecting properly and you can hear a slight hissing in the background due to the weak signal. You can lessen this by changing the audio mode to mono, but it doesn't make that much difference.
Well would I pay close to £100 for a DAB radio again? Probably, but maybe next time I'd go for one with a few more gadgets, buttons and accessories for the price, especially considering there and many adequate competitors out on the market for a much lower price.
The Roberts RD-14 does come with a years guarantee like most products, but this doesn't cover intentional damage from incorrect usage.
The manual provided is extremely helpful and provides a contact number for technical support through the guide, as well as guidelines about using the radio when wet.
In conclusion, it never really fulfilled the purpose behind our purchase, but that's because we never gave it chance. Instead it's become handy and ideal to listen to the radio, without disturbing others whilst reading, cleaning, and generally lounging around. With near perfect quality and signal I would recommend the Roberts RD-14 Sports DAB to prospective purchasers.