VQ Dexter DAB radio on white table next to miniature cactus

VQ Dexter DAB Portable Radio Review

The VQ Dexter is a new portable DAB radio from one of our favourite audio brands. It's certainly got the look. But is it good? Our experts put it to the test in another of our in-depth reviews. Read on to find out what we thought of it!

Related: Top 10 Best DAB Radios of 2023

Design & build

VQ may not be as established as the likes of Roberts, having only got started in the last ten years or so. However, they've quickly risen to become one of the top brands in their field, and that's primarily down to their real flair for design. Retro-inspired designs are something of a trademark for VQ. The Dexter fits that mould nicely, with a similar vibe to our Number One Best Buy radio, the VQ Monty. There are two colours of the Dexter available: the black and walnut one pictured here, or a white and oak version.

At around 25cm across, the Dexter is probably a bit too big to be described as "pocket-sized" (unless you've got especially deep pockets). However, it's just the right size for a portable radio. It's small enough that you can easily take it out and about with you, but not so small that VQ have compromised on speaker components.

While it's only small, the controls are still all well spaced-out. That makes the Dexter a real doddle to use, as does the screen. Since this is a fairly stripped-back radio, the screen is only really used for displaying the station name and info. That being said, we found it easy to read from any angle- which is just what you want from a portable radio.

Sound performance

So the VQ Dexter looks the part- and thankfully, it sounds it, too. Given the size of the radio, it's naturally not going to be as loud as larger models. For portable or personal listening, though, it does the job just fine. Considering it's truly pocket-friendly size, we were seriously impressed with the VQ Dexter. It's a little light on bass- which is generally an issue with all smaller radios, even ones three or four times the size of this one.

If you're going to be using the Dexter mainly for listening to speech radio, then you'll likely not even notice any shortcomings with its sound. As for music, it has a really solid grasp of midrange frequencies, and overall the audio sounds nice and well-balanced. VQ's radios and speakers are all hand-tuned for acoustic perfection, and we could tell that a lot of care has been taken over getting the best possible sound from such a small unit.

Features

Most DAB radios nowadays come with Bluetooth connectivity. Unfortunately, the VQ Dexter lacks this feature. This is, we suppose, partly as a way of keeping the price down.

What it does have going for it, though, is portability. Unlike many other radios that claim to be portable, there's no need for an additional battery pack here. Just pop in four AA batteries, and you'll be good to go. Obviously, the amount of listening time you get out of the Dexter depends on the particular batteries and the volume you're listening at. However, we managed to get around ten hours out of our test model before it was time to recharge.

The VQ Dexter also lets you save station presets. You can store one as a one-touch preset for instant access, and a further 30 in a separate menu. And although there's no alarm function, you could still use it as a bedside radio since it comes with a sleep timer mode. This allows you to drift off to the sound of the radio, which will then switch itself off after a predetermined length of time.

VQ Dexter: The Verdict

For a radio of this size, the VQ Dexter is a truly impressive unit. While the lack of Bluetooth connectivity may put some people off, it handles the basics extremely well, and the sound is superb for such a small speaker. And at about half the price of similar models from other brands, we think it's great value for money!