11th Sep2014

‘View Quest Retro DAB Radio’ Review

by Phil Wheat

View-Quest-Retro-DAB-Radio-GREEN

Whilst there are plenty of luxury ranges of speakers, radios and headphones, there are two main trains of thought when it comes to affordable audio technology: either make your products look as modern (nay futuristic) as possible, or tap in the nostalgia market and produce devices that, whilst packed with modern technology, have a retro-styled look and feel. View Quest’s new DAB radio takes the latter track…

The View Quest Retro DAB Radio has a clean, simple and stylish appearance with a leather effect handle and cover and cream body which, whilst reminiscent of Bakelite radios of old, actually has a cheap plastic feel belying the classy leather cover. However this retro look hides a radio that houses a combination DAB/FM/internet radio and iPod/iPhone dock discreetly hidden in a pop-out tray behind the View Quest logo; and there are various models available to accommodate both the 30-pin and Lightning connectors on various iPhones. There’s also a standard 3.5mm jack on the back for those using a music player that is incompatible with the dock (such as Android phones, no-name mp3 players etc.).

Being that the View Quest Retro DAB Radio is styled like a portable device of old, it can be powered from the mains or from four C cell batteries (with a claimed 15hr battery life). Plugging in the device with the supplied power cable and switching it on for the first time (thankfully there’s a on/off switch on the rear allowing you to save power and/or batteries), the radio scans for DAB radio stations, all viewable on the radios mono LCD display. Once locked in you can use the controls on the front of the radio to switch between stations, FM or DAB signals, or switch inputs to the dock or to the AUX (3.5mm jack)  rather than the radio.

View Quest helpfully allow some customisation features the the LCD display, you can switch views from station name to station location, station type (pop, rock, talk etc.), date, time, and current track playing, etc. Personally I went with the station name/track name combination to save me Shazam-ing tracks I hadn’t heard before. Of course the sound quality of any radio, be it DAB or not, depends on the signal strength and  I did have some issues with the DAB signal indoors and interference from all my electronic devices (outdoors there were no problems whatsoever) - thankfully a well-sited point of the humongous aerial corrected that!

Whilst the look of the View Quest Retro DAB Radio is very retro, the sound quality isn’t. Pumping out 10 watts from each speaker, the radio sounds much better than the cheap plastic front would suggest. There was the occasional pop and crack at full volume with louder, bass-led tracks but given that the highest volume would probably make your ears bleed after a few minutes (it’s very loud for a mere 20W of audio) that shouldn’t be an issue for most people.

Available in a myriad of colours, including the green version we were sent for review), the View Quest Retro DAB Radio will appeal to those who like their technology but still have one foot in the past. It’s available now from all good retailers and directly from viewquest.co.uk

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