There are a few good reasons why love Roberts Radio here at Radio Fidelity.
It’s not just that Roberts is a British icon, as synonymous with the country as fish and chips and a nice cup of tea. Roberts radios just tick all of the right boxes too. These innovative devices come with stunning designs, the likes of which you’ll see in the authentic wood paneling of the Blutune 200, for instance. Roberts DAB radios also come with excellent connectivity, a range of fantastic features, and some extra surprises that you just can’t always find easily anywhere else.
For example, did you know that you can get all the beauty and performance of a Roberts radio in an environmentally friendly package? The Roberts Solar DAB 2 radio is a solar powered music station that today’s listeners can use to tune into high-quality digital channels, without relying on mains and battery power.
As perhaps the ultimate accessory for the modern gardener, the Roberts Solar DAB was something we just had to check out.
Roberts Solar DAB 2 radio review: Design & build
Usually, one of the first things you’ll notice about any Roberts radio is its style. Just look at the Revival iStream 3 from Roberts for instance – it’s a masterpiece in retro aesthetics.
The Roberts Solar radio, or “Solar DAB 2”, isn’t nearly as pretty at first glance – but that doesn’t mean that it’s ugly either. The device is just very simple. It’s small, lightweight, and available in a choice of colours (black or white). There’s no wood paneling or cute added extras that would draw the eye in a living room or bedroom – but perhaps that’s because the Roberts Solar DAB 2 digital radio wasn’t designed to be a talking point for the indoors.
This unique solar powered radio is all about outdoor entertainment. It uses the sun as a battery, charging up on rays so that it can deliver ultra-clear music and talk shows wherever you are. The most appealing part of the Solar DAB 2 radio from Roberts isn’t the bells and whistles of its design – but its practicality. The in-built solar panel means that you can potentially save money on batteries or mains charging.
What’s more, for the environmentally conscious among us, the Solar DAB 2 from Roberts gives you the chance to show the world just how committed you can be to saving energy.
The lightweight design also means that you won’t have a problem carrying this little device around with you when you’re pottering around in the garden.
Roberts Solar DAB 2 radio review: Features
Some people see the Roberts Solar DAB 2 radio as a bit of a gimmick. It doesn’t really have a lot of extra features compared to the standard DAB radio. You can’t stream content via Bluetooth, connect to the internet, or do anything with virtual assistants, for instance. Additionally, the volume on this device is pretty limited too, so it’s probably not going to be the ultimate go-to for your next garden party.
The most compelling feature of the Roberts Solar Dab 2 is the fact that it can be powered completely by the sunlight. There is a back-up battery included in the item which powers up during the day, so you can listen to your tunes at night too. However, the system works best when it’s exposed to the continuous sun. Of course – therein lies the problem.
We were testing our Solar DAB radio from Roberts in the less-than-sunny location of London. That meant that, like most people around Britain, we had a really hard time making sure it could constantly be exposed to adequate light for good charging. You can use your own batteries to top the system up, but then you’re paying nearly £100 for a DAB radio that’s pretty much as basic as radios come from Roberts. On the plus side, there is a stereo line-in to play music from your smartphone.
Clearly, this is a device that was designed for people from specific walks of life. The Roberts Solar DAB 2 digital radio is perfect for use in greenhouses, conservatories, and gardens. You could even get some good use out of it if you put it on your kitchen or bedroom windowsill – but only if the sun is shining. Features include:
Unique solar power strip
LED battery and solar level indicators
Rotary tuning and volume controls
Solar, battery or mains power available
Preset station saving
Rubberised controls for durability
Lightweight design for outdoor use
FM/DAB and DAB+ connectivity
Stereo line-in for your smartphone
Roberts Solar DAB 2 radio review: Performance
Setting up your Roberts Solar DAB 2 is simple enough. The design is intuitive enough that if you’ve never used a DAB radio before, you’re not going to get lost or confused. Roberts even offers an online manual to help you out too. What’s more, like many Roberts DAB radios available today, this Roberts Solar radio is fantastic at picking up stations – its connectivity is much better than many average radios.
Created for those who love to listen to their favourite tunes and shows in the great outdoors, the Roberts Solar DAB 2 digital radio is an excellent choice for anyone who wants performance, style, and durability in one. However, the notorious British weather really makes it difficult to see what’s really possible from this solar powered tech.
In the few weeks of summer that we get each year, you might be able to sit outdoors and charge your radio as you listen to it and deal with a few weeds. You could also potentially take this radio with you on hikes and outdoor camping trips – but we’d recommend taking an extra source of power, just in case.
The sound quality is excellent for speech programs, and it’s decent enough for music too, although some of the members of our team found it to be a bit bassy for their liking. On the plus side, the sound isn’t tinny – which is a common problem for some smaller DAB radios. However, the sound quality can distort a little when you turn the volume up full.
Roberts Solar DAB 2 review: Verdict
We hate to say anything bad about a radio from one of our favourite brands, but it's our responsibility to be honest with our reviews here at Radio Fidelity. While the Roberts Solar DAB 2 definitely isn't a bad piece of technology – it's just not worth its current price tag.
We'd expect to pay about half of the price for a kit like this from any other vendor, so we can only assume that you're paying over the odds for the Roberts label. While you might be willing to do that for something that looks amazing, like the Roberts Revival, the Solar DAB 2 just doesn't pay off – particularly in the UK where sun is limited. It’s a nice idea, just not perfectly executed.
Solar charging is available
Excellent connectivity for DAB stations
Lightweight and portable
Easy to use
Volume and sound are limited
Solar charging only works when you have a lot of strong light