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Roberts Revival iStream 2 review

Great looks, great sound; this is fit for kings Tested at £200

Our Verdict

Great looks, great sound; this is fit for kings

For

  • Balanced, full-bodied sound
  • Good looks
  • Strong build

Against

  • Could conceivably do with a bit more bass

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Great looks, great sound; this is fit for kings

Pros

  • + Balanced, full-bodied sound
  • + Good looks
  • + Strong build

Cons

  • - Could conceivably do with a bit more bass

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.

Design

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.

There's no Bluetooth, but you do get Spotify Connect

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.

Performance

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.

Verdict

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.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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