Roberts SolarDAB review

Perhaps the perfect out-and-about radio – but if you can live without solar power you can buy the same sound for less Tested at £80.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Perhaps the perfect out-and-about radio, but if you can live without solar power you can buy the same sound for less


  • +

    Good looks and solid build

  • +

    solar power genuinely works

  • +

    built-in battery so you can use it on cloudy days

  • +

    very decent sound


  • -

    Solar power feature comes at a price

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Between the credit crunch and global warming, we've got a fair amount to worry about these days. However, Roberts wants to put your mind a little at ease on both counts with its solar-powered, affordable solarDAB.

The concept is very simple: the fairly pretty and solid case contains a NiMH battery pack that can be charged using the mains or the power of the big yellow thing in the sky.

There's an easy-to-read bar on the display, which indicates how much useful sunlight the solarDAB is receiving – if it's less than half-full you're simply extending the battery's 27 hour life, more than half and you can run the radio without the battery, and if it's full you can play the radio at a higher volume while also charging the battery.

A sunny sound, too
The extra good news is that it actually sounds pretty good, too. Talkie stations like Radio 5 Live are recreated with plenty of detail and clarity, while music from XFM is rhythmic and exciting.

There's a headphone output for when you want to listen in peace, and if you get bored of the radio, you can also plug an MP3 player into the socket on the back.

The only problem for the solarDAB is the extra cost the solar power feature adds – Pure's One Mini sounds as good as this, but for £30 less.

Still, if you're prepared to pay a little extra for extended battery life and a feeling that you've made a tiny step towards saving the world, this Roberts is an excellent choice.

What Hi-Fi?

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