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Intempo RDI review

This smart-looking system packs DAB and FM radio, but sadly its sonic performance doesn't fully live up to its spec Tested at £130.00

Our Verdict

Well specified and looks good, but performance lets it down

For

  • Smart styling
  • cleverly concealed iPod dock
  • DAB/FM tuner
  • great remote control
  • detailed delivery

Against

  • Can sound harsh and lightweight
  • DAB receiver doesn’t seem to be the strongest

While Intempo have us believe this iPod dock and DAB/FM radio is an industry first, the existence of the Pure Chronos and Technika DAB407 suggests otherwise. Still, being much more iPod dock than clock radio, the RDI is well worth a look.

As we slide this eagerly awaited product out of the box, we start to think Intempo might be on to a winner. The glossy black finish is smart, with the slide-out dock only adding to the RDI's élan. We can't help thinking the description of the speakers as ‘2.1' is a touch cheeky, but it does boast two 30w speakers and a ‘subwoofer' at the rear, so who are we to argue?

Responsive controls on the unit or the chunky remote give access to the RDI's myriad functions. Clock, alarm, sleep and snooze functions allude to a clock radio. Thankfully, the Intempo's styling means this is far more than a multi-talented iPod dock.

Sound quality doesn't impress
So we head for the DAB, FM and iPod modes… and that's where our enthusiasm wanes.
First, the RDI doesn't seem to find as many DAB stations as others tested in the same spot.

More importantly, the sound quality ain't great. We don't expect miracles, but at a decent volume this sounds hard and thin. Speech-only stations are clear, and music at low volume is clear and detailed, but at something approaching normal listening volume, voices and guitars grate.

Switch to an iPod and it's more of the same; a 192kbps version of Led Zep's Immigrant Song is scratchy, while a lossless file of PJ Harvey's dainty Dear Darkness, though easier on the ears, still struggles to hold our attention and really engage.

If you live on a diet of talk radio and folk, and desire the functions the sharp-looking Intempo offers, you might well be happy. But attempt to introduce a hint of rock and it doesn't cut it – industry first or not.

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, New York 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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