Looking for a retro radio that satisfies your need for nostalgia and gives you some of the latest voice-activated technology at the same time?
We’ve got you covered.
Surprisingly, we’re not looking at some supped-up version of the Roberts Revival in this review.
Instead, we’re exploring a less expensive, but equally attractive option from VQ radio, one of the innovators in the digital radio marketplace.
The VQ Hepburn voice is a smart radio alternative to the original VQ Hepburn, a vintage-style radio capable of delivering high-performance DAB radio sound.
The main difference between the VQ Hepburn Voice and its predecessor is that you can combine all the Bluetooth-ready performance of your digital radio with the voice functionality of Amazon Alexa.
Let’s take a look at VQ’s latest smart radio.
VQ Hepburn Voice smart radio review: Design and build
Since the VQ Hepburn Voice was inspired by the original Hepburn, it makes sense that the styling would be very similar.
The Hepburn voice comes with the same retro radio aesthetic, including a convenient carry handle, a bold faceplate, and a range of designs to choose from. You can even choose the same Emma Bridgewater designs that were available from the older Hepburn too.
Of course, there are a few differences between this smart radio and the device that inspired it.For instance, the Hepburn Voice comes with exclusive designs from Cath Kidston.
Additionally, this product also comes with dual wi-fi antennas built-in, so you can use it to ask Amazon Alexa questions about the weather, or even just ask it to play your favourite tunes.
Other updated features include a 3.5mm aux input, a Bluetooth connector, a USB port for charging your smartphones and tablets, and an optional battery pack, in case you need a portable digital radio.
Clearly, with the design of this smart radio, the VQ brand didn’t want to move too far away from the vintage appeal that Hepburn lovers had come to know.
However, they did want to give the whole experience a slightly more modern flare, to remind you that you’re getting more than just a digital radio here – you’re getting a full smart experience.
VQ Hepburn Voice smart radio review: Features
The Hepburn digital radio range from VQ is already award-winning. The addition of a smart radio alternative simply means that VQ can appeal to a wider range of customers.
If you’ve always loved the style and sophistication of the Hepburn range, then the VQ Hepburn Voice gives you all of that aesthetic appeal, combined with portable Bluetooth and Amazon Alexa.
If you’re low on budget, but you don’t want to compromise on a digital radio, then this could be just the product for you.
Amazon Alexa built-in
Dual ultra-wide 10-watt speakers
Innovative digital sound technology
Bluetooth connectivity and aux-in
Premium speaker drivers
Mains power or battery power option
3 years manufacturer’s warranty
Premium PU leather finish
Built-in rechargeable battery
Fully-adjustable EQ for your acoustics
DAB and DAB+ radio
With the VQ Hepburn Voice smart radio, you get the benefit of features like seamless Bluetooth streaming through Spotify and Apple Music, as well as DAB radio, combined with all the benefits of Amazon Alexa.
Since you can simply ask Alexa to load your favourite digital radio station, you don’t even need presets to help you track down your music.
The only real downside to this smart radio feature-wise is that it lacks the option to set alarms like you could with the VQ Hepburn Mk II. Although you can always ask Alexa to wake you up at specific times.
VQ Hepburn Voice smart radio review: Performance
Performance-wise, the Hepburn Voice smart radio from VQ is incredibly easy to use.
We found it to be even simpler than using the previous Hepburn Mk II, simply because you don’t really need to fiddle around with any buttons or presets to get the music you want. Alexa can do everything for you.
While it does take a little while to get everything set up, the same could be said of virtually any smart speaker.
At the same time, you have the freedom to take your digital radio with you wherever you go, thanks to the option to power the device with batteries instead of a mains charge. Battery power can last up to 8 hours – which is more than enough for most people.
In terms of sound quality, the Hepburn Voice is pretty impressive overall. Although you might not get the same quality as a radio system from Pure, you do get robust sound from dual 10-watt speakers.
The Voice also comes with fully adjustable EQ features built-in, so you can enjoy personalised acoustics that are perfect for your listening style.
VQ Hepburn Voice smart radio review: Verdict
If you love the retro radio style of the VQ Hepburn, but you wish the radio itself was a little smarter, then the Voice could be perfect for you.
Features like a built-in rechargeable battery, 3 year manufacturer’s warranty and fully adjustable EQ make this a compelling choice for music lovers.
We also note that the digital sound processing technology makes most tunes sound impressive.
Access to Amazon Alexa within your radio system also means that finding the tunes that you love and playing your own music is easier than ever. With the smart radio from VQ, you don’t have to compromise on style to get the performance and simplicity that you want.
However, this device isn’t perfect. It takes a while to set up, and the sound quality does suffer a little at high volumes.
However, if you’re looking for intelligence on a budget, this could be the perfect choice.