The Roberts Revival RD70 is a supremely stylish DAB radio and Bluetooth speaker from one of Britain’s most iconic brands. But is this a case of all style and no substance? We put the RD70 to the test in another of our rigorous reviews. Read on to find out what our experts make of it.
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Design & Build
For many people, the main attraction of the Roberts Revival series will be its signature look. Originally drawn up by company founder Harry Roberts in 1956 based on his wife's handbag, the Revival has remained popular over the years thanks to its timeless class and high-end build quality. Despite its vintage appeal, the Revival RD70 never feels dated.
It starts with a real wood body for superior acoustics, which is then wrapped in leather casing for a gorgeous premium finish. The Revival RD70 is available in a choice of six colours: black, dove grey, duck egg blue, leaf green, pastel cream, and red. It feels very robust and well-made, and there's even a carry handle for when you're on the go- more on that later.
On the top, there's a full-colour display screen, and you can even change the background colour to suit your tastes. We found the radio very easy to use, with one dial controlling the volume and another used to flick through stations. All the other controls you need are set out on clearly-labelled buttons either side of the screen. It may take a day or two to get to grips with everything the RD70 can do, but before long it becomes second nature. One tiny detail that we love: the dials give a satisfyingly tactile click as you turn them.
There's no doubt that the Roberts Revival RD70 is a lovely-looking radio. But at this sort of price, it needs to have more than just decorative value. Thankfully, it also delivers when it comes to sound performance. Roberts don't state the output of their radios' speaker drivers, but we found the RD70 did a solid job of filling a medium-sized room. In terms of tone, the RD70 is warm and punchy, with a richness that less expensive DAB radios often lack. In particular, the RD70 is great for speech content, with voices coming through clear and crisp. If talk radio and podcasts are your thing, then this is certainly one of the best choices out there.
Admittedly, if sound is all that matters to you, then you can get slightly better at this price point. However, these other speakers don’t come with DAB functionality, and of course they lack Roberts' signature vintage charm.
As well as looking and sounding great, the Revival RD70 also comes loaded with extra features. What sets it apart from other Revival models is the addition of built-in Bluetooth connectivity. That makes it more than just a DAB radio; you can also use it to listen to your own choice of music, whether that’s podcasts or your favourite Spotify playlists. In practise, this is very easy to set up, and the RD70 held a steady connection during our testing. And for devices without Bluetooth, there’s also a 3.5mm aux port to plug into as well.
If you want to take your Revival RD70 out and about with you, then it can also be powered by batteries. There’s no power pack option here, which would have been nice, but four rechargeable AA batteries do the job just fine. It’s nice that it has a low battery light, as most battery-powered DAB radios will just fizzle out without warning when they run out of juice.
Finally, the Revival RD70 also functions as an alarm clock. It has dual alarm modes, to set different alarms for weekdays and weekends. It also includes a sleep timer mode, so you can drift off to the sound of the radio before the RD70 automatically switches itself off. Note, though, that the clock face appears on the screen, so you’ll need to sit up to see it if you’re lying in bed.
Roberts Revival RD70 DAB Radio: The Verdict
While it’s a little on the expensive side, the Roberts Revival RD70 is still fantastic value for money. It’s beautifully made with a stunning design, and has sound quality to match. It also has all the features you could ask for from a DAB radio, barring internet connectivity. Although some wireless speakers give slightly better sound at this price point, none of them have the style and features of the RD70. When it comes to retro DAB radios, this is the gold standard for all other models to live up to.