Cheapest and Best Value Digital Radios 2019 | The Sun UK
FOR anyone not tuned into what’s making waves in the radio world, the old analogue channels are being replaced by digital channels.
The ultimate plan being to flick off the switch on FM in the near future to shift listeners to the industry standard DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting).
While many of the better-known radio stations still broadcast on analogue radio, they are all moving onto DAB. BBC Radio 4 Extra and LBC, for instance, can be accessed on the FM channel in London, but only via DAB beyond it.
Reasons for going DAB are clear (and not just in terms of crackle-free sound): there’s a far wider selection of channels to choose from, the screen often provides you with details such as name of show, presenter, song and artist, plus there are heaps of other features like pausing live radio, recording shows and streaming music through your smart device.
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When they first hit the market, most radio fans baulked at the prices of the initial models that hit the market. Luckily, now you can get hold of a perfectly decent DAB radio for a fraction of their original price.
Digital radios are typically defined by their ability to pick up digital audio broadcasting (DAB) channels (old analogue were restricted to FM and AM channels – although you can tune into them on many DAB radios).
Note a lot of radios, especially on the lower end, call themselves digital radios, take this Mini Digital model for £4.52 – it’s a radio, it’s digital, but it only picks up FM channels and prone to cracking signal – which defeats the objective of a digital radio.
To be on the safe side, check the model specifies it picks up DAB channels. Here is a selection of budget DAB radios that cover the basics and then some.
1. Cheap portable digital radio
- 1byone Portable Digital DAB/FM Radio, £16.99 at Amazon – buy here
A DAB radio (featuring its newest incarnation DAB+) with FM reception opens up the channels to a wealth of radio stations, both mainstream and niche.
With a large memory, long battery life, headphone jack and wrist strap, the 1byone Portable Digital is a great little radio to take with you on trips.
The LCD info screen that doubles up as clock and alarm makes this particularly handy to have around when you’re out and about.
2. Best value pocket digital radio
- Logik LHDAB17 Portable DAB/FM Pocket Radio, £19.97 at Curry’s – buy here
Key things you need in a pocket radio: compact size, headphone jack, long battery life.
With the capacity to preset 10 DAB and 20 FM stations, the slim and lightweight Logik LHDAB17 Portable has a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 10 hours.
The OLED display is a nice touch, but can be dim in the sunlight.
The reception can be iffy at times, but picks up the main stations loud and clear enough.
3. Cheap digital radio for bedrooms
- Majority Abbey BT DAB/DAB+/FM Battery Portable Radio, £24.95 at Amazon – buy here
The bedroom radio needs to be easy to function with good volume control, plus come equipped a good alarm and a display that’s not too bright.
With a choice of weekday and weekend alarm settings, snooze and sleep function, the Majority Abbey makes the listening experience easier by having dual USB charging ports and wireless Bluetooth connectivity.
4. Best value digital radio for the kitchen
- Groov-e Venice Compact DAB/FB Digital Radio, £24.99 at Amazon – buy here
You’ll want a radio that’s easily operated with wet hands and compact enough to not get in the way of cooking.
The Groov-e Venice is simple, easy to tune and navigate with food-caked fingers thanks to the knob and press functions, and can hold 20 preset stations (10 DAB and 10 FM) with autoscan tuning for efficient tuning.
The LCD display and alarm clock functions also helps make it a valuable kitchen asset.
5. Cheap digital radio for internet
- Ocean Digital WiFi/DAB/FM Internet Radio, £64.99 at Amazon – buy here
You can get can access internet stations through internet only players that don’t have a DAB tuner, and a good budget DAB radio with internet access isn’t always cheap.
The Ocean Digital features DAB/DAB/FM tuning, 26,000 radio stations to choose from and 250 presents.
Plus the Bluetooth speaker allows you to connect your music, from the MP3s stored on your phone to streaming stations like Spotify.
Looking for more tech recommendations? We've got a dedicated section you can check out.
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