Roberts Radio Classic R9954 review: A traditionally-styled portable radio
Looking for an analogue radio that blends classic style with modern functionality? We could have just the product that you’ve been searching for.
Here at Radio Fidelity, we’re huge fans of the vintage style and incredible quality that go into practically everything made by Roberts Radio. That’s why we’ve spent so much of our time reviewing some of their other leading products. When the opportunity arose to give the Roberts Radio Classic R9954 a test run, we jumped at the chance to be wowed by yet another high-quality item.
While the Roberts Radio Classic R99953 3-band portable radio might not have all the bells and whistles of some of the newer radios on the market, we still think it’s worth your consideration if you’re looking for something simple, and robust.
This Roberts portable 3-band radio gives you the high-quality audio that you would expect from the Roberts brand, combined with a low price tag of under £35. Read through the rest of our review to find out more…
Roberts Radio Classic R9954 review: Design and build
One of the things that we love most about Roberts as a brand here at Radio Fidelity, is their commitment to heritage. Although Roberts isn’t afraid of exploring new technology and ideas, the company also brings an element of vintage charm into everything it does. You can see that unique personality in the Roberts Stream 94i with its vintage wood panels, or in the Roberts Revival with its soft leather covering.
The classic appeal of a Roberts Radio is still present in the Roberts R9954, although it is a little more subtle. There’s no obvious retro design here, but the bold front speaker grille and the deep grey colouring still makes this device very attractive to look at. One particularly appealing component of the Roberts Classic radio portfolio is that many devices come with a slight “bowed” shape to them. The little curve towards the top of the radio gives a playful note to these products that we can’t help but fall in love with.
Another great feature of the Roberts Radio Classic R9954 is its strong carry handle. It’s clear that this machine was made for portability, and you’ll feel confident carrying it with you whether you’re simply siting around outside, enjoying the sun, or heading out on a camping trip. The dials and buttons are large enough to find and easy to use, and the classic tuning controls make you feel as though you’re taking a step back in history.
All-in-all, the design of the Roberts R9554 classic successfully reminds of us what Roberts Radio is all about – the perfect combination of form and function.
Roberts Radio Classic R9954 review: Features
An analogue radio that looks good is great – but you also need something that’s going to deliver the kind of robust functionality you need from a portable radio too. One thing we should note about the Roberts Radio Classic R9954, is that it is quite limited on features.
Like the other items in the Classic portfolio, this system was designed to be basic and easy to use, with very few special capabilities to speak of. You’ll get plenty of listening options in the form of LW/MW/FM wavebands, but you’re not going to be able to access DAB or stream anything from your smartphone. Additionally, there’s a favourite station indicator built-in to help you locate your preferred radio stations, but you can’t save any presets, which is a bit of a pain.
The Roberts R9954, however, is all about keeping you tuned into your favourite stations on the go – and that’s exactly what it does. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for anything more than that, you’re going to be disappointed. Features include:
- Mains or battery-powered options
- 1W speaker output
- Telescopic aerial to help you find a connection
- Favourite station indicator
- LW/MW/FM radio
- Headphone jack
Roberts Radio Classic R9954 review: Performance
Fortunately, while the Roberts Classic radio might be limited in its features, that doesn’t mean that it’s not good at what it does. As always, you can expect a crystal-clear and crisp sound from the music that you listen to through this analogue radio – provided that you have a good connection. Additionally, the 1-watt speaker packs some significant punch for such a small portable radio.
Unlike other radios designed for use on-the-go, the Roberts R9954 doesn’t sound tinny or distorted at higher volumes. The only real problem you’ll have with performance is figuring out how to tune into your preferred stations. The tuning dial isn’t as sensitive as it could be, which makes it hard to find new things to listen to if you don’t stick to the same station all the time. With nothing but markers to help you find the right stations, you could end up getting frustrated.
On the plus side, besides the trouble with tuning, you should find the Roberts Radio Classic R9954 pretty easy to use. You won’t need to worry about navigating through complicated digital menus like you would with most modern portable radios, making this a great choice for older people.
If all you need is FM/LW/MW tuning and a few basic features to keep you happy when you're on the move, then this could be the perfect radio for you.