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The Roberts Robi DAB Radio is a strange one as it's not actually a portable DAB device in itself, it's an inline DAB radio which works with your iPod.
It's pretty small and the controls work as inline controls for the mp3 features on your ipod, and fits into the dock connector to the bottom of the iPod. I've used it with a Classic but it works with most other models of larger iPod (ie, not the Nano / Shuffle). I bought mine for £55 however you can now pick it up more around the £50 mark - pricey if you're not a radio fan but it adds that much needed DAB radio functionality to your iPod.
The unit itself is small as you'd expect for an inline device. It has a 1 line backlit blue screen with LCD display which shows the name of the station you're tuned to (and when changing volume / settings or when in use with the iPod for track names and so on). It's small, black and has a five button control in silver (volume up and down, next and last track / fast forward and rewind, and play/pause). It's pretty smart looking and very very light in weight, which it needs to be as the iPod bud style earphones fit right into it and therefore you 'carry' the DAB radio when the iPod itself is in your pocket.
Ease of use is excellent. A skim of the instructions and I was away - and picking up stations is a doddle. As it's DAB the quality of the channels is excellent - crystal clear - and the volume went to a high level with no loss or distortion. It's very easy to use in general and the quality is excellent all round - build quality, too. It does come with a warranty but not one I've needed to use as it has lasted me six months and counting. It might not be for the occasional iPod user or radio listener - I can't see anyone wanting to fork out £50 (on top of the price of the iPod and music) in order to listen to the radio for five minutes a day. But if you use the iPod to commute, or do sports and want a reliable clear quality radio signal to your music device, then you cannot go wrong with this Roberts Robi model. I do recommend it but only if you have the need for it due to the price, which is almost the cost of a bigger stand alone DAB radio (ie, one that doesn't need an iPod in order to work).
Overall I do like the unit, I'd have liked it much more at say the £30 - £35 mark but it does work well and will last me, and I've had no problems with it. So I will award it a four out of five for being maybe not essential, and certainly a little overpriced, but good at what it does.
Do you enjoy listening to the radio on the go? Before purchasing the Robi I was tired of listening to poor quality FM radio which hisses and crackles all the time. When I found out that the Robi could be also used as an iPod remote I couldn't turn it down.
- Usage -
The device has very simple controls with I find very easy to use. When you use the Robi for the first time you can do an autoscan and find all the available DAB stations in your area - Bear in mind that this will change as you move from place to place.
The Robi has a clear display with blue backlight and the mode button on the top allows use to change between DAB mode, remote mode and FM mode.
Another great feature is the favourites button on the top which allows you to select your favourite stations at the push of a button.
- Problems -
The Robi is by no means perfect and these are a few of the problems that I have discovered whilst using the Robi:
1) Due to the fact that the Robi is powered from your iPod/iPhone be prepared for it to eat your battery.
2) The antenna in the Robi doesn't seem to be that great. For this reason I find that there can be times when the DAB radio becomes quite glitchy. This may be different if you are using the radio in a town or city where more antennas are available.
I have read many negative reviews on the Robi but I personally have none of the major problems except the fact that it drains your battery. I do feel that this product could be significantly improved with a better antenna however as I would really like to use the radio on train journeys without the glitching.
- Verdict -
Since the birth of the Robi there are now many more portable DAB radios on the market which probably have better a better battery life. I am not sure how much the Robi costs but its advantage is that it costs a lot less than these other portable DAB radios on the market.
My opinion - Shop around first, the Robi is a great product but I am sure there are better radios out there. Regarding your remote, there are a lot of remotes on the market for far less money.