Top 10 DAB radios of 2006

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2006 has seen a deluge of new DAB radios. The upside of that is lower prices. The downside is trying to select the best 10 of the year. Well, after much deliberation, here’s the pick of the bunch.

1. Pure Legato II DAB/FM/CD/SD micro system with EPG

DAB for the living room. Great design, recording to SD card, EPG for 7 days of programming, an endless number of presets and CD/MP3 playback. All at a price – around £350.

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2. Pure EVOKE-1XT Marshall Edition DAB digital radio

Pure again, this time picking up the novelty award. All the expected DAB functionality, but housed in an authentically-made Marshall casing. And yes, the volume does go up to 11.

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3. Virgin Mobile Lobster 700TV

Ok, this isn’t your standard DAB radio. But the Lobster does offer portable DAB radio (access to up to 50 stations), as well as TV via DAB for free if you sign up for a Virgin contract. And of course, it’s a phone, along with a camera and media player.

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4. Genus Type-R DAB radio

Genus claimed its Type-R was designed to stand out “in a market crowded by amorphous plastic radio”. It did. Natural walnut end caps, an anodised aluminium chassis, hand embossed genuine leather rear panel and touch-sensitive controls that illuminate when a hand approaches. The style over substance choice at £150.

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5. Pure Bug Too

Pipped by the Pure Marshall for the novelty award, the return of Wayne Hemingway’s Bug is still worth a look if you’re after something quirky. It’s certainly got the features – EPG, SD card recording, textSCAN, MP3 playback and MP3 alarms. But still very much a love or hate radio.

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6. Alba TRDAB2822 DAB radio

The budget market is full to burst, but the Alba TRDAB2822 DAB radio just comes out on top. Less than £40, DAB and FM reception plus clock and alarm and power via battery/mains. And looks that defy the £39.99 price tag.

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7. Dualit DAB Kitchen radio

Dualit made a big song and dance about its entry into the DAB market, producing a radio that matches up with your toaster and kettle – at a price. Usual DAB functionality plus MP3 connectivity, kitchen timer, alarm and rechargeable battery in an aluminium/chrome casing. But a bit of a hefty price tag at £200.

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8. Asono DAB1

Award-winning design, the DAB1 also operates as an MP3 player via memory cards, there’s an external speaker for true stereo and the sound itself is impressive, having been tweaked by Norwegian speaker specialists SEAS. You might have to hunt around for it, but it should be worth the hassle.

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9. Perstel DR201 portable DAB radio and MP3 player

Tough call on the portables, but the DR201 won through on price. DAB and FM reception, four-line display and MP3 playback. Memory is limited to just 64MB, but it’s good value for under £70.

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10. Roberts Rambler 76 DAB radio

I can’t do a top 10 without mentioning Roberts. Nothing outstanding this year, but the Rambler 76 sums up what the company does best. Retro looks (very much the 50s-style radio), DAB and FM, large display and a mix of auto and manual controls. Available for less than £100.

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Dave Walker