British radio stalwart Roberts has been releasing a steady stream of DAB and FM models and is increasingly combining its options into various categories of music system. The Stream 63i is the latest do-it-all model offering CD player, iPod dock, FM and DAB radio, Internet radio and audio streaming using your home network too. …
But, and I know I'm going to get some abuse for this, AirPlay would seem to be a big miss on this. It's certainly a deal breaker for me...
For the money,
If you could buy a DAB adapter for a PC, then youicould buy a PC. Anyway, you can buy a little netbook with a Freeview TV USB adapter, and play music on that.
Good, here: "The Stream 63i has been tested with a range of USB memory devices of up to 64GB capacity and SD cards up to 2GB and SDHC cards upto 16GB are supported. However, there are many different card variants available and not all cards can be guaranteed to work in the Stream 63i. Memory must use the FAT 32 fi ling system in order to operate in the Stream 63i."
Bad: apparently you can't pre-set a timed recording. And, "Press the Record button. The display will show "Record initial...". Recording will then start with the recording source shown on the display. If only one media type is present, then after a short while recording will start."
That "short while" is telling. I've used and use DAB to SD recording radios before, which have an apparently pointless pause of several seconds before anything is recorded. And the pause appears to be roughly proportional to the size of SD card - about 10 seconds of device thumb twiddling for a 1 GB card. If this machine is still doing that - I believe the other two that I've used were secretly related, maybe this is too - then I expect people to go on saying "What a pity that DAB radio listening has never caught on". Well, I think it's the lousy features on overpriced receivers.
A great bit of kit but,
Is this a DLNA certified device?
What streaming software would be required for a NAS?
It's uPnP which (basically) means the same thing (queue 1000 posts explaining the meaningless differences).
Roberts a sign of quality
I remember Roberts back in the day. They made some awesome portable radios and their speakers are second to none. But £350 for a souped up iPod dock? I don't think so Tim.
Sleep Sheep Sleep
Good luck trying to find that Sleep button on there when you are half awake and want another 10 minutes under the duvet in the morning...
I guess by the time you have located it you will be wide awake anyway, so maybe it was an intentional ploy to get you to wake up and not be lazy......
The Avanti Flow has a fairly big curved Sleep button on top, and a weeny little one on the front, but the top one is a bit recessed so even that is a pain to find when you are not quite with it...
Gimme a big Sleep button that lights up when the alarm is going off...
Looks very nice, shame about the price, but then you get what you pay for. I remember buying Roberts first DAB radio with an SD slot for recording the radio about 6 or 7 years ago, very clunky, would lock up, but beautiful sound from the big speaker on the front. I would hope that in the meantime Roberts have polished all the firmware and controls and ironed out the quirks.
Has anyone still got one of those excellent old red-and-silver Roberts portable radios from the 70s? Love 'em!
"£350 for a souped up iPod dock?"
For that amount of money you could have a touch more than half a Bose Wave thingummy with DAB add on. Far more l33t than a Roberts ever will be. And for another £99 you could have an actual iPlod dock for it as well.
I'm probably being a bit dim here but ...
what is the market for a do-it-all model?
It's hugely overspec'd for an alarm clock. There's a large (possibly 100%) overlap between DAB and internet-accessible radio stations so having both in one device seems pointless. Is it for people who take regular naps in the kitchen and have only got around to ripping half their CDs yet?
I mean ... it's Roberts so it is quite pretty and it probably sounds nice but ... what is it actually _for_?
That's the sound of Roberts running off the end of the dock ... and missing the boat.
£350 for an iPod dock that acts as an internet radio / streamer? Why not just buy an iPod dock, the excellent Tune-In app and save save yourself a couple of hundred quid in the process?
If this device was £99 - £120 (which it should be) then I'd be clicking 'buy' now but £350 would (almost) but me an iPad which would be far more usefull or a decent laptop and speakers. I'd really like a unit like this for my kitchen but not at this price.
It's a little disappointing the Roberts name on otherwise anonymous consumer kit like this. It should be covered in wood and leather, maybe even a little carpet, not chasing the shiny-shiny iPod design zeitgeist.
Generally, I am unsure about streaming. So you have 1 copy of your music that you can play in 3 different places in your home. Instead, I keep 3 copies of the actual music on separate players. All right, keeping them in sync adds a complication, but would setting up a streaming infrastructure and keeping a central storage unit switched on all the time. And with multiple copies, you can take one jogging or in the car.
Living with it is a different matter
I've used Roberts kit for years and there's always problems. The predecessor unit I have in the bedroom is quirky to say the least.
The touch front panel doesn't work; one needs to use the remote to control it. The screen is too bright but when dimmed to minimum can't be read in the dark as there's insufficient contrast. Blue is the wrong colour; red would be better at night. The snooze control works on all functions; adjust the volume and it switches off. The remote control's UI is unintuitive and needs to be learned. IPhones interfere with loud clicks & bangs. The radio alarm doesn't specify the channel; go to sleep listening to Radio3 and go through the channel changing rigmarole (snooze, etc.) to change to Radio4 in the morning. It's a bit unreliable and needs occasional rebooting (disconnecting) to reset.
In short lots of niggles.
On the good side, it's a brilliant high quality sound that belies it's size. Much much much better than anything else on the market. It looks great. It's solidly built. The functionality is great.
Would I buy another? Without hesitation as he positives far outweigh the negatives. But it still doesn't excuse the considerable annoyances.