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Two new John Lewis radios tested but only one is a Best Buy

Our testing reveals whether spending more will guarantee you better sound quality

December was a big month in our radios lab, with a new entry in our hall of fame of the best radios we’ve ever tested.

Our comprehensive tests, conducted with the help of an expert listening panel of music industry professionals, have put the latest radios from John Lewis and Tesco through their paces to see whether they can impress even the most discerning ears.

The latest batch includes a high-end internet radio, a no-frills budget radio and one that’s suitable for your bedside. Read on to see which John Lewis radio comes out on top, and which radio you should avoid – even if it’s discounted in the January sales.

Radio reviews – in-depth verdicts on all the models we’ve tested.

John Lewis Aria, £89

The John Lewis Aria is a compact DAB/FM radio with a stylish wooden finish, and John Lewis claims it’s the ideal companion for the bedside. It can even be used as a Bluetooth speaker for streaming music from smartphones and tablets, and supports a wired connection too.

It has dual alarms, sleep and snooze functions and an easy-to-read LCD screen.

But, crucially, how does it sound? All the features in the world mean nothing if there isn’t the sound to match. Find out in our John Lewis Aria review.

John Lewis Octave, £149

John Lewis goes the extra mile with the Octave, featuring not only the ability to use the radio as a Bluetooth speaker, but also full internet radio capability and the functionality to link up to play music from your computer.

It has the same stylish wooden finish as the John Lewis Aria, but with a stereo speaker set-up and a convenient infrared remote control. You can even turn your smartphone into a remote for the radio via the Undok app (iOS and Android).

But at £149, is it worth the extra £60 over the £89 John Lewis Aria? And will the stereo speakers deliver superior sound? We reveal all in our expert John Lewis Octave review.

Tesco DR1703G, £25

Tesco brings us an impulse-buy £25 radio to put in the trolley on our weekly supermarket shop. Could it be the bargain of the century? It has all the features you’d expect from a no-frills radio, with DAB and FM support, a generous 20 presets for storing your favourite radio stations and even a headphone socket for private listening.

It has a rubberised finish and volume knob, a choice of dark grey or black finishes and a quick-access button for scrolling through your presets.

So could it be that this budget radio is all you need to get simple listening pleasure? Visit our comprehensive Tesco DR1703G review to find out.

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