Early DAB (digital audio broadcast) radios tended to be nostalgic in design: wooden surrounds and large tuning knobs seemed de rigueur. They were also less than reliable.
Moving your DAB radio from room to room often resulted in muffled sounds, followed by a loss of signal that could be fixed only by rescanning for stations.
But things have moved on. The digital signals being broadcast have become stronger, while the radios themselves have become smaller and lighter. You can now tune into broadcasts on your Freeview box and via a USB or PCI TV tuner on your PC.
Portable DAB radios are still pretty expensive, but we think this slim, attractive model from Intempo represents value for money. The PP01 taps into two of our nation's loves: radio and photography. The fabric cover on front of the device is detachable, allowing you to switch to the alternative provided with the package or customise the Intempo with a photo of your choosing.
Upload a decent-resolution, letterbox-shaped photo to MyBiggerPhoto.com and, in a week or so, you'll receive a personalised cover for your radio. Costing £15 plus £2.45 p&p, these are of a hardwearing fabric with a tough plastic frame. Intempo lets you know if the image is too small to work with – we sent a 2MB image and were reasonably pleased with the result.
The device itself is pleasingly sleek, with a series of good-sized buttons along its spine and a two-line LCD display showing station, signal status and so on. It would have been nice if this information was visible from afar, but the removable cover arrangement precludes this. There are 12 station presets – six each for DAB and FM. Plus and minus buttons to the display's left enable you to cycle through stations.
The Intempo's 2W slim-line NXT speakers produce a very clear, clean sound. There's a 3.5mm headphone socket for more discreet listening, and the radio operates for up to 20 hours before requiring a recharge.