A tiny pocket radio for just £50? The VQ Blighty is the stocking filler you never knew you wanted.
For such a budget portable radio, the little Blighty (made by radio specialists View Quest) is rather well-featured.
It has FM and DAB tuners on board (and DAB+ for the countries that support it), ten presets to save your favourite stations, and a battery life of ten hours.
Mostly, we just really like the design. It’s small and light, with the curved back and edges letting it fit snugly in the palm of your hand. You can easily stash it in your pocket or a bag. The finish is nice, with the Blighty available in two colour schemes: red and cream, and black and grey.
The display is a 1.6in LCD that manages to pack in plenty of information, from time, battery status, tuner, station name and more. It’s clear to read, and doesn’t look too cramped.
Elsewhere, there's a micro USB port for charging, a small on/off switch at the top, and a 3.5mm headphone port. Inside, the 800mAh battery will last you a good ten hours – decent enough to last a few days depending on how much you use the Blighty.
Navigating your way around the small control pad is easy, although you may need to use your nails to press the small buttons.
Left and right tabs get you tuning or skipping to the next station, and the volume buttons react swiftly as well.
The mode button lets you switch between DAB and FM stations, and you get five presets for each tuner. Long pressing the OK button sends you to the preset menu, where saving and recalling presets are just another click away.
Under the main station name, you’ll see a snippet of the programme info, or the name of the song and artist playing. Keep pressing the menu button to see that scrolling display change to show the time, date, station frequency, sampling rate and – most usefully – the signal strength.
As with all FM/DAB radios, getting the best signal is tricky, and is dependant on the reception wherever you are. The VQ Blighty, however, seemed to have more trouble than we’d expect in locking onto a stable signal.
We ended up holding the Blighty out like a Geiger counter and walking around until we reached anywhere between 60 and 100 per cent for the most stable sound quality.
Once you hit the right signal strength, the VQ Blighty sounds solid and detailed, going up fairly loud as well. Voices are heard loud and clear, with enough detail to convey the emotion and inflections in talk radio and comedy programmes.
It has a lively presentation, which breezes through BBC 6 Music’s breakfast programme with snappy timing and a decent level of dynamics. It’s a bit top heavy, which can make certain songs sound a little bit thin and bright.
A smoother and weightier presentation would’ve made the Blighty a more comfortable listen, but it’s a great effort for such an affordable radio.
We would recommend investing in a good pair of headphones to get the best out of the Blighty. Just don’t use the ones that come bundled with the radio. They sound hollow, unsubtle and don’t show off the full potential of the Blighty.
You only get one pair of tips, too, so it won’t fit everyone. In-ears such as the Beyerdynamic DX 120 iE would be ideal. Just make sure that you use the Blighty with headphones that don’t have in-line mic controls, otherwise the plug won’t make the right connection.
There are some caveats with using the Blighty, and you might question if there’s a need for a portable radio when you can simply use your smartphone instead. But while the BBC Radio player app exists, most phones aren’t equipped with tuners.
The VQ Blighty bridges that gap, letting you listen to your favourite radio shows when you’re on the move. It’s a lovely design too, but for its decent sound and budget price we think it’s worth a listen.
See all our View Quest reviews
See all our DAB radio reviews