We’ve taken a first look at the Ortus 2 alarm clock, which is part of a new range of high-end alarm-clock radios from Roberts. We’ve also tested the new Sony XDR-S41D portable radio in our lab, including its usability, features and sound quality. So would we recommend either of these models?
We’re a nation of radio lovers, with roughly 48.2 million adults in the UK tuning into their favourite broadcasts each week. Lots of us like to wake up to the radio, others enjoy listening to it as they cook or garden, and some prefer to fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the radio at the end of the day.
At Which? we test all kinds of digital radios, from personal to portable, tabletop to alarm clock, and have reviewed more than 120 internet, FM and DAB radios. But we’re not always impressed – as well as the very best on offer, we’ve also uncovered the worst.
Best Buy digital radios – jump straight to our most highly rated radios
Roberts Ortus 2 radio
Alarm-clock radios are seldom considered stylish, but the Ortus 2 is one of the sleekest we’ve seen. At £80 it’s certainly not cheap, but it’s a much more pleasant way to wake than by using a shrill smartphone alarm.
The alarm will start off gently and then gradually increase in intensity until you cancel it or press snooze. There are dual alarms, which is ideal if you and your partner need to get up at different times, or if you want to set one alarm for weekdays and another for weekends. It also has a ‘hit any button’ snooze, so it’s easy to give yourself some extra time in bed without having to locate a particular button through sleep-fogged eyes.
Fans of multiple radio stations will appreciate the five direct-access preset buttons on the top of this compact radio, which mean you can easily switch between your favourite FM and DAB stations. There’s also a 3.5mm aux input, which means you can listen to streaming services such as Spotify through your phone, as well as a USB port to charge your smartphone or tablet overnight. This is particularly handy if plug sockets are in short supply.
This radio is on its way to our lab to go through our raft of listening tests and ease-of-use assessments. We’ll be publishing the results next month but, in the meantime, you can read our Roberts Ortus 2 first look review.
Sony XDR-S41D radio
Sony has a reputation for making sleek and robust digital radios. They aren’t extortionately expensive, but some of them do verge on the pricey side. However, the portable Sony XDR-S41D is pretty reasonable at £60, especially as it can receive FM, DAB and DAB+, so it will pick up the radio in some countries abroad.
It’s also an ideal size to pack in a suitcase, and this radio can run on batteries as well as being plugged into the mains. When you’re using it with batteries, you can see the charge level in the top right-hand corner of the screen, meaning you’ll get sufficient warning before the four AA batteries need replacing.
This portable radio is a successor to the Sony XDR-S40DBP, which we previously tested in 2013. These two radios are incredibly similar, but the newer XDR-S41D has a superior LCD screen, a useful alarm function and five direct-access preset buttons for instant access to your favourite FM and DAB stations. And as well as the usual monochrome colours, it’s also available in red or blue.
But while this radio certainly looks appealing, especially if you’re after a portable device to take on holiday, how does it fare in terms of sound quality? To find out what our listening panel of five audio specialists thought, and to see the full rundown on this radio, read our Sony XDR-S41D radio review.