View Quest Retro 1 review

DAB/FM/iPod radio with old-fashioned styling.
Photo of View Quest Retro 1
£99.99

What is it with DAB radio manufacturers and their love of nostalgia? For some reason, they all hark back to the days of the old Roberts kitchen radios – solid rectangular boxes with booming sound – rather than choosing high-tech exteriors for the new digital science.

View Quest’s Retro 1 squarely follows this fad, complete with smooth red leather casing and carry strap. At the recent Gadget Show Live exhibition, the manufacturers announced further black, chalky blue, baby pink, purple and cream colours – presumably to match your kitchen walls.

Efficient though small controls
Unfortunately the lovely leather is offset by the drab grey plastic panel at the front, containing a backlit 2-line, 16-character LCD screen and two rows of rather small control buttons for setting up options for DAB, FM radio, iPhone/iPods and AUX for external (i.e. non-Apple) sound systems. The pop-out iPod dock is in the middle and functions very efficiently, charging while it plays.

The Retro 1 gives you the option of battery or mains power (although the mains lead is surprisingly short), so it’s very portable. There’s an extendable aerial at the back. Although the two speakers only produce 1.5W each, we were impressed by the radio’s volume and bass levels. You can arrange up to 10 presets each for DAB and FM channels – although FM scanning required more manual adjustment than DAB – and you have to be very quick to press the buttons when making your selections, or it will re-set.

Company: View Quest

Website: http://Play.com

Contact: 0845 800 1020

Positives
  • Easy tuning abilities.
Negative
  • Control buttons too small.

Verdict

The Retro 1 design is actually half-nostalgia, half-modern - yet despite awkwardly small controls it works well as a kitchen/study DAB/FM/iPod player, with good sound quality and clear signals.