Smart looks and a good list of features, but the Carbon’s sound lets it down
Apple product docking
Lack of focus and tonal shortcomings make for an underwhelming listen
With its compact, chunky looks and great big display, the John Lewis Carbon is less just a radio and more like a pricey bedside alarm clock.
But with a spec-list that includes DAB and FM radio reception along with a dock for iPod or iPhone, it’s an authentic and usefully priced alternative to established products.
The Carbon’s speakers are sited at either end of the cabinet and fire in 180˚ opposition to each other. This makes for a remarkably open but ultimately ill-focused sound that’s rather fuzzy and indistinct around the edges.
No single area of performance is fatally flawed, but a combination of rather splashy high frequencies, a shortage of outright detail in the midrange, and overly forward bass makes for a frustrating listening experience.
On the whole, we can’t help thinking the Carbon looks more appealing than it sounds.