Keeping your music with you on the go is easier today than ever. You’ve got smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, and so much more to stream content wherever you are. The question is, what happens when you want to share high-quality sound with the people you love?
The Roberts Play digital radio is one of the lesser-known products in the Roberts portfolio. It doesn’t have the same trendy standing as the Roberts Revival or the same retro charm that we’ve come to know and love from Roberts. However, the Play does have an appeal of its own.
Designed for versatility, this FM, DAB and DAB+ radio comes with a built-in battery charger. That means that with careful planning, you never have to worry about losing connection to your favourite stations. Additionally, the Roberts Play is pretty well-priced when you consider some of the higher costs associated with things like the Roberts Stream.
Want to find out more?
Read on for our full Roberts Play radio review.
Roberts Play review: Design and build
More than just a DAB radio with a built-in charger, the Roberts Play radio is an impressive piece of audio technology. Although it doesn’t have the same retro styling as the much-loved Revival, it still has an old-fashioned charm that makes you think back to the history of radio.
The Roberts Play digital radio is about mid-range for price, but it looks like a more expensive device, particularly when you see the Roberts label on it. What’s more, this kit comes in a range of colours to suit your style, just like many of the other devices in the Roberts portfolio.
We’re big fans of the orange and light blue versions of the Roberts Play, but honestly all of the colours look fantastic when you get up close and personal with them. What’s more, beyond the initial visual appeal, you can rest assured that you’re getting a well-made design.
From the moment you set it up, the Play feels robust and durable. The rubberised exterior means that even if you accidentally drop your radio, you’re going to have protection against knocks and scrapes. Additionally, the Roberts is only around 10.5 centimetres high, which is great if you’re limited on space.
Roberts Play review: Features & performance
When it comes to functionality, Roberts usually delivers a great experience. The Play digital radio automatically searches for and discovers DAB radios from the second you turn it on. Finding content to listen to is a breeze, and the reception is excellent too.
Although there is an extendable aerial built into the Roberts Play radio, we didn’t need to use it, and it’s unlikely that you will either. What’s more, the layout of the buttons makes the Roberts Play really easy to use, even if you’ve just got one hand.
Since it’s intended for easy portability, you can use the Play either with mains power or four AA batteries. The radio recharges batteries when plugged in, although the batteries don’t come provided with it. Additionally, it may help you to know that the radio lasts between 10 and 15 hours before it needs a recharge.
FM RDS and DAB/DAB+ wavebands
Headphone jack for personal listening
Automatic DAB searching
Built-in battery charging
10 preset stations and 5 dedicated preset buttons
There isn’t any alarm function or Bluetooth streaming with this particular radio, unfortunately, which might be a bit of a problem for some users.
Roberts Play review: Sound quality
During our time with the Roberts Play digital radio, we found the device to be attractive, well-made and brimming with useful features. However, it definitely could do with a few extra capabilities, like the option to stream content straight from your smartphone. However, since you can do that with almost any other speaker system these days, you might not need streaming on your radio too.
As usual, the Roberts Play also delivers on sound quality. If you’re looking for something that’s going to give you a warm and bold sound wherever you are – this is the device for you. The only downside is that it’s really not designed for very noisy places or large rooms. If you try to turn the volume up all the way, then you’re going to get a level of distortion.
Lower volume settings are where you’ll find the crisp and clear sound that you love.
Roberts Play review: Verdict
So, should you be spending your money on a Roberts Play radio?
Ultimately, even though this device is relatively affordable, it's still pretty expensive for the functionality that you get. The Play is great when it comes to things like ease of use and design quality, but there's something lacking. This radio just doesn't feel as special or impressive as the other options in the Roberts portfolio.
Sure, you can keep your batteries charged, and access a great DAB reception, but that's about it. Plus, the high volume settings really aren't as great as they could be.