At first glance, the Philips AE8000 looks like a sleek clock radio. The £120 internet radio’s black and white design and blue display make a nice contrast.
However, when you realise that the black wood effect is actually plastic, it’s quite disappointing. Especially when the Pure Evoke D2 shows you can build good quality real-wood radios for less than £100.
The buttons are well made, and though they feel a bit knobbly, they have a nice, strong resistance.
MORE: Pure Evoke D2 review
While you can use the front panel’s button to go through the menus for network set-up, software updates and tuning, it’s much easier using the included remote – also plastic.
The LCD display is easy to read, with enough space to see the name of the artist and track playing below the station name when you’re in DAB and internet radio mode.
MORE: Best DAB Radios 2016
More after the break
Internet radio is the AE8000’s top feature, giving you access to hundreds of stations on top of the standard FM and DAB stations. You get two antennae at the back of the radio: one for radio, one for connecting to the internet.
Network connection is swift and strong and the DAB/FM reception is decent, but does depend on finding the best signal strength in your home.
There’s also an auxiliary input and a 3.5mm headphones port. You can save 20 presets (10 each for FM and DAB).
In terms of price, the AE8000 slots in between two Award-winning radios: the Pure Evoke D2 (which does DAB and FM only) and the Roberts Stream 93i – which offers everything the Philips does, but with added wireless streaming to play songs from your NAS, laptop or smartphone – for just £20 more.
All the AE8000 has to do is perform equal to or better than the Pure to justify being recommendable. And it does exactly that. The Pure D2 is undoubtedly subtler and more engaging, but that lovely rich low-end can sound too boomy at times.
The Philips doesn’t have that problem, although its main focus is shifted towards the mid-to-top frequency range. It is bass-light and treble-heavy.
Green Day’s Minority is snappy and biting over internet radio. That lean edge means you get a clean sound and a punchy sense of rhythm, and there’s enough detail to keep us listening.
The sound is stronger and fuller as you turn the volume up, but that can make the top end just a tad too insistent.
We do want more detail and warmth from the Philips, especially at this money. But despite the finish, there’s plenty to like about its compact design and features set.
Get past the plastic build, and the Philips AE8000 is a decent radio that’s easy to use and sounds enjoyable. It’s worth splashing out the extra cash for the internet radio feature.
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