There’s no getting around this: the Roberts Revival iStream 2 is a lovely thing. Sure, you can get slicker, shinier devices, but if you want a radio with good looks and handful of neat features, you can’t go wrong here.
As ‘Revival’ suggests, this is one of Roberts’ retro models, drawing on the styling of the company’s 1950s radios. There’s a large grille and black, cream or Duck Egg leather-like material all over - including the carrying handle.
On one side, you’ll find a metal clasp. Undo this and you can open the full-width back panel. This is where you can insert four ‘D’ batteries (if you’re not near the mains) while marvelling at the radio’s innards. There’s an emphasis on the tactile aspect of radios, which undoubtedly makes it a more gratifying experience.
More after the break
There's no Bluetooth, but you do get Spotify Connect
Now to get a little more modern. Look to the top of the unit and you’ll find this isn’t the relic it pretends to be (well, if you can ignore the Royal appointment warrants). It can handle DAB, DAB+ and internet radio as well as FM.
You can add your own content with a USB stick or via the 3.5mm input, but the real surprise is Spotify Connect compatibility. The LCD screen is small and monochrome, but it is clear and easily read from above. You’ll have no problems scrolling through menus and channels.
As for the sound, we’re very satisfied. It’s clear but full-bodied and not tinny. Tonally, the sound is well balanced. It could conceivably do with a little more bass weight, but it’s perfectly convincing.
Detail levels are good too, with enough insight and nuance in speech and music alike. Reception was good and stable – we experienced no dropouts and crackling.
We really like the Roberts Revival iStream 2. We like the design and we’re frankly surprised at what it can do. If you’re looking for a retro look and don’t want to sacrifice on features, you need to give this a go.