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.