There’s nothing quite like a little retro styling to remind you of everything you love about radio.
Unfortunately, as many budget shoppers know, it’s not always easy to get your hands on the state-of-the-art retro radio products from companies like Roberts and Pure when you’re low on cash.
While the Roberts Revival might be a vintage delight, it’s also less affordable for anyone who’s not a true audiophile.
The good news?
There’s an alternative option from VQ radio.
VQ, one of the more affordable options for those in search of the perfect blend of style and performance, created the VQ Hepburn Mk II to give customers something with the aesthetic appeal of a Roberts radio, without the price tag.
Here’s your complete VQ Hepburn Mk II review.
VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB radio review: Design and build
The VQ Hepburn Mk II is the latest iteration of the Hepburn radio from VQ. The Hepburn was originally designed to balance stunning retro looks with portability and modern capabilities.
That’s exactly what you get with the latest model too. The vintage style radio is wrapped in a leatherette finish, with a range of colours and prints to choose from.
Thanks to collaborations with leading designers like Emma Bridgewater and Laura Ashley, you can even get designs that are completely unique to the VQ brand.
According to the designers behind the VQ Hepburn Mk II portable digital radio, when the company decided to upgrade the original Hepburn, they wanted to make sure that the classic styling remained the same.
That means that you won’t see much of a difference between this radio and its predecessor when it comes to looks. What is different, is the functionality.
The sound quality of the VQ Hepburn Mk II has been improved, and you also have access to a full spectrum of DAB and DAB+ channels now, alongside FM radio broadcasts.
To adhere with the demands of the modern consumer, there’s also Bluetooth streaming included in the DAB Mk II, and enhanced cable connections too.
As well as a traditional headphone socket and 3.4mm aux-in line, you also get a USB port where you can charge your phone or tablet while you’re listening to your music.
VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB radio review: Features
While aesthetic appeal is an important consideration for the VQ Hepburn Mk II, it’s not the only thing that the VQ team has considered.
As we were playing around with this DAB portable digital radio, we noticed a host of extra features that weren’t available on older models, such as Bluetooth connections to tools like Spotify and Apple Music.
Accessing high-level DAB radio has never been easier, thanks to the stations being listed alphabetically on the VQ Hepburn tuner.
Additionally, you get 60 presets built-in too. So you can easily save the channels that you love most too.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade to this VQ radio, now selling at around £70, comes in the design of the premium British speakers. The dual ultra-wide full-range speakers offer 20 watts of power output, for exceptional sound quality on the move.
- 60 radio presets
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Dual 10 Watt speakers
- DAB, DAB+ and FM radio
- Multiple equaliser options
- Mains or battery charger options
- Tactile leatherette finish
- Dual alarm clock with weekend and week settings
- Headphone and USB charge port
The addition of a dual digital radio alarm clock built into the VQ Hepburn Mk II makes this an excellent radio to have on your bedside table.
We love the fact that you can set a different alarm for weekend days and weekdays, which means that you’re less likely to be woken up ahead of schedule after a big Friday night.
VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB radio review: Performance
From a performance standard, this portable digital radio ticks a lot of boxes.
The VQ Hepburn Mk II is as easy to use as all of the products from VQ, with plenty of preset options to explore, tactile buttons, and a convenient range of extra features.
For instance, the ability to charge your phone from your radio means that you don’t need to find an extra outlet if you’re using this device as a bedside alarm clock.
The Hepburn Mk II also helped VQ to ear a shortlist position for the sound and vision brand of the year in 2019 by Which.
The upgraded sound quality from the dual ultra-wide stereo speakers means that just because you’re paying less for this device than you would for something like the Pure Pop Maxi, doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on sound.
The VQ Mk II even goes above and beyond the functionality of some of the other DAB radio options on the market today by giving users the option to tailor the sound to their needs.
The comprehensive MyEQ equaliser technology means that you can adjust bass and treble to suit your needs. There are even 6 preset modes to get you started.
VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB radio review: Verdict
Ultimately, the VQ Hepburn Mk II is an excellent follow up to the original Hepburn.
This portable digital radio is affordable, easy to use, and brimming with functionality for people who can’t afford some of the pricier retro radios on the market.
If you’re looking for the stunning appeal of a retro radio, but you can’t afford to break the bank, the Hepburn Mk II will allow you to choose a radio and digital alarm clock that suits your personal sense of style.
On top of that, you get adjustable audio quality too. Not bad for less than £70.
On the downside, the FM tuning can be a little fiddly at times, and the batteries for this device can drain quite rapidly if you’re using it as a portable radio.
Still, for the price, it’s a great bargain.
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