Robert’s Radio have been around for 80 years and over time have become a staple of well to do kitchens and living rooms across the land. Unlike some traditional brands however, they haven’t hidden behind their classic status as a reason to stagnate and they invited us down to have a hands on with some of their latest innovations in radio.
The most eye-catching radio on offer (with the possible exception of the Union Jack Revival radio) was the Messenger DAB/FM, affectionately dubbed the “egg timer radio” by everyone in the room. Asides from the basic DAB and FM radio functionality, the Messenger packed a host of kitchen-based innovations. There’s a little button on the top that allows you to record simple voice memos – “dinner’s in the oven”, “microwave this for 5 minutes” etc. It’s a neat touch to a sleek unit that is clearly designed to blend in with a modern kitchen. There is of course also an egg timer. RRP £100.
Ever been in the middle of listening to a fascinating debate on the wireless and had to answer the doorbell (or the call of nature)? The Robert’s Record R brings PVR like functionality to DAB and FM radio and enables you to pause or rewind live radio (for up to 60 minutes, after which you can head to the iPlayer). As the name suggests you can also record DAB and FM radio onto an SD card, which records in DRM-free mp3 format that you can playback on any compatible device without restrictions. RRP£100
The ubiquity of iDevices has not escaped Robert’s and they continue to develop their range of dock offerings, fanciest of which was the Fusion, a DAB/FM which has a hidden iPod dock that, at the press of a button, flips out and holds your iPod in either portrait or landscape. Nifty.
Father’s Day is on June 21, and the good news is that gone are the days when you poor dads had to look delighted when you unwrapped yet another tie, pair of socks or cufflinks. In these high-tech times, there are loads of ideas for dads, whatever your budget. So, if you’re looking for your own dad, or are a dad hoping to drop a few heavy hints, we hope we have something for everyone.
Feature packed and compact, the X-HM50 Micro Hi-Fi system from Pioneer has a CD slot, if Dad has not managed to upgrade to digital music just yet, but if he’s a bit more ‘down with the kids’, the built-in iPod Dock will let him listen to his tunes from his iPod or iPhone and control them from the comfort of his sofa with the remote control. The system also has two powerful 50-watt speakers and a DAB/FM radio tuner for listening to the football. The price? £299. More at http://www.pioneer.eu/uk/products/42/202/227/X-HM50-K/index.html
If he loves his car and his iPhone, Oxygen Audio is offering a chance to integrate the phone with the car stereo with its O-Car, which makes the phone the central control unit for the stereo system. The integrated head unit lets you control functions through the iPhone’s touch-screen. The iPhone fits directly into the system and offers four 55W amp links to the car’s speakers so that you can listen to music via the phone’s iPod, and make and receive hands-free calls or pair with a Bluetooth headset. Find out more at www.oxygenaudio.com.
If you think dad should start taking care of his appearance, perhaps he’ll be persuaded by this latest techno-beauty product, which comes from Germany. SQOOM is a skin treatment system that is being sold online at Harrods and claims to make the skin look, brighter, tighter and more radiant. The handheld sonic device delivers specially developed gels into the skin, using a mixture of ultrasound and ionisation to massage deep into the skin. A number of gels are available to treat problems such as sports injuries, acnes, dry flaky skin, and scars. The device comesi n black or silver and costs a rather eye-watering £529 for a set including two gels. But hey, surely your dad is worth it? Buy online at www.harrods.com
For anyone who has an iPad a chance to turn it into an 80s arcade machine must be tempting. Step up the iCade, which lets you choose from 200 original Atari games – nostalgia-tastic! The price? £79.99 from www.firebox.com. Another goodie from the same site is Vertical Vinyl. It will play all of dad’s old records, and this record player will also save valuable space in the living room. Again, it comes in at £79.99.
If you’ve got considerably more to spend – just short of four grand to be exact – how about treating a cycle-mad dad to the latest in bike technology? Just released is the a new range of high performance electric bikes, including a special model called the Storck Cosworth EFV – the result of an ongoing partnership between Cosworth and the German bike manufacturer. This carbon-fibre bicycle sports a Shimano Deore XT groupset and hydraulic disc brakes alongside a high performance 250W motor, which produces 60Nm of torque, powered by a 25.5V Lithium polymer battery. Ian Hughes, UK distributor for Storck Bicycle said the product launch was hugely exciting for Britain’s bicycle industry. “The timing is perfect for this innovative product to be launched to the market. There has been enormous growth in the use of electric bikes in mainland Europe, and the time is right for the product to take off in the UK,” he said. Find out more at www.cosworth.com
Cycling is always fun, but the good thing is that some big boys’ toys can make rather tedious jobs more enjoyable too. That’s why Karcher has come up with The Beast, its most powerful pressure washer to date, which will have dad itching to clean the car, the patio, anything at all in fact – don’t stand still too long, that’s all we can say! The K6 features Karcher’s famed “Plug ‘n’ Clean” system with in-built regulation for the quickest and most practical way to apply detergents. Simply select the right detergent for the job, slot it in and get cleaning. “The Beast” can deliver a huge 150 Bar maximum pressure, which is approximately 40 times as powerful as a garden hose, and costs £499. See www.karcher.co.uk for more
Anything that advertises itself as being “too hot to handle” whips up a certain degree of intrigue and interest. When, therefore, an email titled, ‘a DAB that is too hot to handle’ arrives in your inbox, you feel compelled to take a further look. At a first glimpse at a picture of Magicbox’s Parabola, this DAB Radio looks unquestionably modern and stylish, although it has to be said, its spec remains comparatively mediocre, a far cry from being “too hot to handle”.
Having said this, if you are after a portable, stylish and affordable radio, you are reading the write review, as with the Parabola portability, affordability and being ‘pleasing to the eye’, is at its core. Its most remarkable feature is its unique rounded shape which cleverly doubles up as a handle. The Parabola’s large and sturdy handle makes it ideal for carrying, which together with its optional battery feature, means Magicbox’s latest radio is tremendously portable.
Simplicity and ‘un-complication’ is also another component of the Parabola, offering a desirable alternative to many of the complicated and ‘too technical’ radios currently littering the DAB radio market. An uncomplicated set up means users can start enjoying a vast choice of national and local DAB/FM stations within seconds, whilst displaying the station’s name rather than frequency supports the Parabola’s notion of being user-friendly.
All the usual features we have grown accustomed to in a modern radio apply with the Parabola, which benefits from a headphone socket, a fully functioning clock and a dual alarm with ‘snooze’ option.
Being available in a range of five colours including silver, gold, green, red and blue, the Parabola DAB radio would make a stylish addition to a number of different rooms within a house, to suit the different tastes of each family member.
But the best thing about the Parabola radio is most definitely its price. Costing just £49.99, radio listeners can enjoy the usual features of a radio, but with a greater sense of style, freedom and uncomplicatedness. Whether it’s ‘too hot to handle’ remains to be seen.
More and more iPod dock alarm clocks seem to be hitting the market. After all it’s a natural fit – you have all that space by your bedside table, an iPod or iPhone (if you’re reading this your chances of owning one are oh so high) and a need to get up early. Whilst some tout an incredibly small form factor or an insanely cool look, magicbox are highlighting the Tower’s room-filling sound.
And fill the room it does. For something so small (it’s smaller than two tins of beans on top of each other or 15 cm if that’s how *you* measure things), the Magicbox Tower has an impressive bass-y sound, far less tinny than other iPod alarm clock docks I’ve come across. I’d happily use the Tower as an speaker without ever troubling the FM radio or alarm clock functions. The Tower is also surprisingly well built and has a nice solid feel to it. I didn’t drop my review unit (honest) but if I did, I’m pretty sure it’d be ok.
This multipurpose unit acts as an alarm, DAB/FM radio, iPod docking station and iPod charger and is compatible with all generations of the iPod and iPhone. The radio is also excellent, coming as it does, with an old fashioned telescopic metal aerial, instead of a wire which I’m used to seeing. Bundling in DAB radio is also a great addition at this price level and a nod towards the more advanced iPod docks on the market that come with amazing streaming capabilities (if you have the cash, look into the £200+ dock market and prepare to be blown away). There are also bundled station presets and you can scan for available stations.
The Magic Box Tower is about £70, placing it at the higher end of the alarm clock dock range. However for the price you get a DAB radio and a pretty amazing sounding iPod dock.
Friends are often keen to hear about the latest gadgets I’m trying out, but all I seemed to get when I told them I was trying out a toaster/radio was a lot of smirks.
But it’s from Breville, and it looks really cool, I proclaimed. They still weren’t convinced. However, my first impressions out of the box were of a very solidly built good-looking piece of kit – with shiny steel body and glossy black sides. There’s a hint of retro about it, with the round speaker in the side and the silver knobs for on/off/volume and store/search.
Turning it on revealed it to be even more stylish than I first thought – the digital display showing the radio stations glows bright green, while the on light when you’re toasting is a cool blue. More reminiscent of a stylish hi-fi than a kitchen gadget.
The toaster itself is well constructed and works well – the two adjustable toaster slots are wide enough to toast muffins (the English kind) and crumpets, as well as your average slide of daily bread. It also offers defrost and reheat settings. Those good looking glossy black sides do get rather warm when toasting though, so be aware if you have smaller children.
So, on to the radio. If you’re still not sure why you could want this multitasking gadget, the idea is to save on the number of plug sockets you use – a good idea when the average kitchen is crammed with electric gadgetry goodness.
So how effective is it? The built-in FM/AM radio has ten preset radio channels: for FM radio you’ll need to pull up the aerial – just make sure it doesn’t sit over the toaster slots then they’re on. You can set your favourite channels by turning the ‘store’ button quickly and it will search for the next strongest signal. Then simply hold in the store button until it beeps. FM stations were easy to find, which is more than I can say for AM stations, and the panel doesn’t tell you which station you’re on, which is a bit of a let down. But as an occasional radio for the kitchen it works okay. If you’d rather have your own tunes you can plug in an MP3 player (no lead supplied).
All in all, anyone who has digital radio might be a bit disappointed with the quality and functions available on the Breville toaster, but as it comes in at about the same price as any other upmarket toaster (£49.99) and looks so good, the radio could be viewed as an added bonus.
The Breville “2 Slice Radio Toaster” is £49.99 from the likes of Argos and Amazon.
In recent years, one of the main advantages of gadgets that the manufacturers promote tends to be due to their super small or super slim size. Laptops, mobile phones and even hair styling utensils are becoming tinier in size it seems by the year. The latest super small gadget to hit the scene is probably the tiniest radio you have ever laid your eyes on and is made by a Korean manufacturer called Motz.
So how small exactly are we talking? The nifty little gadget is a mere 37mm in length, 26 mm in height (150mm when the aerial is up) and 19mm in width. Yes, this radio is tincy and fits nicely in between your finger and thumb.
From an aesthetic perspective, the miniature FM radio is made of light brown wood and has functions including an LED indicator, an aerial, on-off switch and a button which enables you to change the radio station. On the side of the radio there is also a 3.5mm jack in which you can plug in your I-pod or mp3 player. If you sync up two of the radios together you can also create a stereo sound though I would imagine the quality and level of sound that you would achieve wouldn’t be party-suitable. The novelty is pretty cool though!
The radio also has a built-in rechargeable battery which can be charged with the USB cord that is included when you purchase the radio.
I’m not sure if the miniature radio is what we would call a groundbreaking invention or gadget in the tech industry but it certainly is cute, fun and well, something a little bit quirky and different. And if creating huge sound isn’t your thing then it also avoids taking up too much space – just remember where you’ve put it!
At the moment, the radio unfortunately isn’t on sale outside of Korea and in Korean won it works out as 39,800 which equates to approximately £22 plus postage will likely be added.