I bought a Revo Axis XS instead of a Pure Sensia 220d largely on the basis of What HiFi's reviews and awards but was left amazed that the Revo had been given 5 stars and an award. The Revo was returned and I bought the Sensia instead and have been delighted with that. The Revo works well as a radio but the music streaming part of this "multi-format digital radio" (to quote Revo) is poor and contains a number of software bugs. I am disappointed that What HiFi's testing was not thorough enough to pick up some fairly basic streaming bugs.
I bought this radio so we could have a unit that streamed music from my PC as well as having a DAB and internet radio. The radio was easy to setup and use and looks good with it's small, neat and conservative appearance. Sound is also surprisingly good with good detail, balance and bass. It won't fill a room but I wouldn't expect that from a mono unit of this size. The DAB and Internet radio also both work well, so if that sums up your requirements and the price is right then this radio may be for you. However, the radio is let down by its music streaming and user interface and I returned the radio because music streaming is a key feature for us and at £199 this is too expensive to keep just for the radio.
These are the downsides for my use of the radio:
1. The radio randomly crashes and restarts when I select a music track to be streamed. This happens at least 25% of the time but is not consistent, i.e. a track that caused a crash will later play fine. Music streaming is one of the features that differentiates this radio and justifies the price tag so this is a major issue.
2. Scrolling long lists, e.g. album artists or radio stations, is cumbersome and slow. The scrollbars really don't work well with the touch screen interface. An up/down "swipe" on the touchscreen or even just being able to use the volume button to scroll lists would be much better.
3. DAB reception is poor, e.g. it is less good than on our 4+ year old Ferguson DAB radio and we had to keep the Axis right by the window to work. I mentioned this to Revo support when I reported the music streaming issue and they said "Its fair to say that the DAB does suffer a little form both Internet Radio and Apple certification, these do unfortunately compromise outright DAB sensitivity.".
4. The screen design is poor. For much of the time you could be forgiven for thinking it has a black and white display. More color, better graphics and larger album art, etc, should be standard these days.
5. Album art with a high pixel count, regardless of file size, causes the the unit to crash and restart.
6. Album art won't display if the file size is larger than approx. 400kb, and while this isn't unreasonable it isn't documented and Revo support could tell me the maximum supported album art file size & resolution.
7. Playback of FLAC format files is jittery. I would think this is our wireless network, and it might be, but this doesn't happen on any other devices and the Axis is the closest to our wireless router.
A further irritation is that the screen layout is poor when a network track is playing and the track information and art is too small. This is compounded by the Axis XS being very bad at re-sizing artwork, so the quality of the album art is often badly degraded.
On re-reading WHF's review I was really surprised is their findijng that "The touchscreen interface, meanwhile, is cracking. It’s logical and provides plenty of info." Yes, it's logical but it is underwhelming and the user interface looks dated and ineffective next to a smart phone or the Sensia 200d.
As a high quality internet & DAB radio this unit is great (notwithstanding the poor DAB reception) but the user interface and network streaming feel under-developed and need more work. I reported the music streaming issues to Revo support and mentioned that I felt it needs improvements and they said:
"With regards to the media player itself we do appreciate that you feel it is under developed but in all honesty we had never intended for it to be used to access thousands of tracks. Our radios are designed primarily to be radios and the media player is an extra feature which may feel a bit spartan for some users who have a very large library or experience with more dedicated players."
I'm not trying to play thousands of tracks, in fact only about 70 albums are on my music server so far.
This would be a better product if Revo either left out the under developed features such as music streaming - and reduced the price tag accordingly - or made these work properly. As a radio this is a fine unit (notwithstanding the user interface) and I suppose it did win WHF's radio award, but it is hard to ignore the issues and I'm disappointed a unit with these issues can get 5 stars and an award.
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