Just before we pop down the pub for a Friday night drink, we thought we'd bring you an exclusive online review of Intempo's cunning Rebel radio that allows you to convert radio broadcasts into individual tracks ready for your MP3 player.

It's an ingenious idea, but how effectively does it work? You're about to find out.

Intempo Rebel £70

4 stars

For

Ingenious idea, which works fairly painlessly; endless supply of MP3 music; balanced sound; inoffensive styling

Against

Limited sound quality, both as a radio and an MP3 recorder; incomplete tracks; takes time to learn stations

Verdict

The idea is brilliant and the execution is simple – if it appeals, then go for it, but don't expect mind-blowing sound

Here's some genuine invention in the radio market. The Intempo Rebel is the first device to incorporate the 'Popcatcher' software, which allows you to convert radio broadcasts in to individual tracks ready for your MP3 player. And they're all completely free of DJ chatter and adverts. So an endless supply of new, free, legal music; clever, huh?

It's not all good, though. For starters we're talking FM radio, not DAB. Also, your tunes can only be recorded in MP3 format at a claimed 192kbps. Lastly, the Rebel takes 12 hours to 'learn' a station, before you can start recording.

After the Rebel has learnt the station it catches up to 40 tracks to its internal memory. To get them to your portable, there's a USB input and an SD/MMC card slot. To put your new music on your iPod it's a bit trickier, involving loading replaceable 'blank' to your iPod from a supplied CD, but it gets there in the end.

Saved tracks are indeed free of chatter and ads, but as a result tend to be less than 3 minutes long, though that's not the Intempo's fault. Fading in and out, you get a decent rendition of the latest music for sure, and it's all free.

Sound quality isn't the last word, that's for sure, and the build and design is fairly run of the mill. While there's not a lot of bass or dynamism here, it does at least veer away from the usual harshness favoured cheaper radios.

That said, if you just want a cheap radio, something like the Pure Digital Siesta – which includes DAB – will serve you better.

It's all about the USP – there's simply nothing else like it. If you listen to the radio to get your new music fix, and you can live with average quality MP3s and radio sound, this is a genius way of keeping on top of the pops.

Also consider

Pure Digital Siesta £50

January 2008

5 stars

If you want a cheap and cheerful radio, look no further than this effort from Pure, which boasts FM and DAB tuners

Intempo KT-01 £60

January 2007

5 stars

A previous award-winner, this radio is pretty in pink and again offers twin tuners for DAB and FM as well as solid sound.

Tech specs

DAB No

DAB + No

FM Yes

MW No

LW No

SW No

Presets 0

Autotune No

RDS No

Alarm Clock No

Remote No

Battery No

Battery life (hours) N/A

Finishes 1 black

Dimensions (hwd) 20 x 8 x 8cm

Weight 1000g

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