I grew up with radio, and love radio, listening to the radio every day, but these days I don’t own a radio. Well that’s not quite true. The one-size-fits-all nature of integrated modern living means I own several radios crammed into laptops, tablets and phones. But it’s rare for me to plug in a device, crank a dial and tune into the World Service.
However the Hepburn a new DAB from View Quest surprised me in many ways – including how much I wanted to use it. There’s been a resurgence of “vintage” style in recent years (apparently Downton Abbey has helped) most of which leaves me cold but Hepburn have not allowed style to get in the way of substance.
The Hepburn not only features 30 DAB/DAB+ stations and FM radio but also has bluetooth inputs, so you can connect a smartphone or tablet and stream podcasts or music – making it a much more flexible device. There’s in an AUX input around the back so you can have anything you want playing through the back. Confusingly there’s a USB port around the back, that doesn’t appear to support playback and was a little bit inconsistent with regards to which devices it would or wouldn’t charge.
The styling is pretty swanky, with faux leather and a classic style frame. There’s an LCD panel at the top and a couple of large shiny metal dials that make the magic happen. It’s definitely been a talking point for everyone who has been by my coffee table this week.
The speaker drives are pretty decent for a radio – it’s not a boombox and you’re unlikely to put the Today Programme on blast, but the sound easily fills a room without having to crank it to full volume. If you are primarily looking to have loud bass tunes playing, this is not the radio for you – things tend to distort at full volume, even when you fiddle with the EQ settings. But (and maybe I’m stereotyping) you’re unlikely to have purchased a vintage radio called “Hepburn”.
The Hepburn can be controlled via an app (iOS and Android) that doesn’t quite look as polished as the actual radio but is perfectly functional – you can tune the radios, set alarms and control the bluetooth playback. The built in alarm and timer functionality is handy both for waking up and as a kitchen timer. You can run for up to 25 hours continuous playback on batteries, although you have to use standard batteries – no USB magic.
For £150 it’s a little bit on the pricier side and would be easier to recommend if the speakers were slightly beefier – making it a better all round device. Still, if’s stylish, multi-function and fun to use.
Out now from View Quest