The Aves Air is that rarest of breeds, a pocket-sized DAB radio. The technology may offer crystal clear reception and instant tuning, but DAB has always lent itself more readily to chunky desktop radios rather than units you slip into your coat pocket on the way home from work. The Air is light and smaller than the average mobile phone (102mm x 58mm x 16mm to be precise), and will set you back a penny under £50 if you’re looking to make the switch from your old analogue model. It’s both pocket and wallet-friendly then, and quickly scanned through all the available DAB channels once we’d got it up and running. After a few days’ worth of use, we were impressed with the portability and functionality of the unit.
You won’t find Jonny Ive levels of polish and finish on the Aves Air, but it’s decently designed and put together, especially when you take the price into consideration. Sound is clear and sharp on both DAB and FM, though serious audiophiles will want to invest in a better set of headphones to replace the rather basic pair you get with the radio (which don’t feature in-line remote controls). We had no problems operating the unit and worked out most of its features without recourse to the instruction leaflet — you can configure up to 10 preset channels for both DAB and FM, and there’s a useful sleep function included too, which will automatically switch off the Aves Air after 10-120 minutes of inactivity. Volume rockers are positioned on the right of the unit for making quick adjustments.
Power comes from two supplied AAA batteries which should see you right for 8 hours’ worth of listening (which seemed about right from our experiments) The 128 x 64 pixel LCD screen is functional without being spectacular, managing to squeeze in the time and date alongside details of the station you’re listening to, but it’s the unit’s diminutive size that’s the real selling point here. Miniature DAB radios are often either poorly constructed or a touch on the expensive side, but the Aves Air is neither. While it doesn’t offer a bundle of bells and whistles, and is probably too low-end for serious music lovers, it’s a great choice if you simply want DAB radio access on the go without spending too much.