Top 10 digital radios

From stylish retro-looking machines  to sleek ultra-modern designs, Max Wallis tunes in to find the top receivers for our homes

There's something special about having the radio on in the background that sparks the curious mind. In my experience I end up "Shazam'ing" more than ever. I'm not in control of what 80s classic will turn up next and somehow that's more liberating than retreading my own collection - consider it a form of aural exploration. From Roberts' retro-revival to modern visual poetry from Pure, we've tried a range of radios so you don't have to. 

1. Roberts Revival iStream2, £186, amazon

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The Roberts Revival range is all about 1950s-style retro radios with hi-tech insides. The iStream2 is no exception and gives you access to thousands of radio stations around the world at the touch of a button. It also has “Spotify connect” which lets you stream from your phone using the radio as the speaker. 

Buy now

2. Pure Evoke D2 by Rob Ryan, £80, johnlewis

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A tiny little connected brain in the house, this one. The clever machine is easy to use and a striking addition to any living room. Simply flick through the touchscreen display to pick your way between thousands of stations. You can even check up on Facebook, too. 

Buy now

3. Sony XDR-S60, £75, amazon

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Oh, Sony XDR-S60, let me count the ways we love you: you come in black, white, red; you are digital and FM-compatible; and you are as good in the park as you are in the bedroom. 

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4. Geneva WorldRadio, £126, amazon

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The Geneva WorldRadio, designed and made in Switzerland, is a beautiful thing. It can receive both FM and digital radio stations as well as stream personal music libraries from smartphones, tablets and laptops. It’s powered by the mains or by a rechargeable lithium battery, providing up to six hours of playback on the move. 

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5. Sonoro RADIO CD, £289, amazon

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The Sonoro is great for the bedroom as it has 360° pre-programmed “soothing sound options” to send you to sleep. It also offers Bluetooth streaming, FM/internet radio stations and a dimmable display. Plus, the CD slot means you don’t have to rely entirely on your cloud-based music library. 

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6. View Quest ColourGen Retro Radio, £69, amazon 

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This may be at the cheaper end of things, but this radio still packs a punch with its award-winning oomphy sound, internet radio stations and moonlighting as an Apple device dock. It’s available in 11 colours, so will fit in with any room’s décor. 

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7. Ruark R1 DAB, £180, johnlewis

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To the untrained eye, this may look like a refugee from the 1960s, with all the static and crackling that came with the Radio Caroline decade, but in fact, it is a miniature powerhouse which streams, plays internet radio and even acts as your alarm clock. 

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8. John Lewis Spectrum Duo, £60, johnlewis

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DAB/FM Bluetooth NFC Digital Radio This one’s perfect for anyone on a budget. It’s available in 11 different colours, has 10 pre-set options and can tune into digital stations and FM broadcasts, so you can channel-skip until the cows come home. 

Buy now

9. Pure Sensia 200D Connect, £150, amazon

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A tiny little connected brain in the house, this one. The clever machine is easy to use and a striking addition to any living room. Simply flick through the touchscreen display to pick your way between thousands of stations. You can even check up on Facebook, too.

Buy now

10. Revo Axis X3, £200, johnlewis

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Tune into Brazil’s Radio Caraibas, New Orleans’ WWOZ or anything from the BBC World Service at a flick of the touchscreen on this sleek radio. It can connect to any networked PC or Wi-Fi device to stream music, too, so you never need be without your hourly Talking Heads fix. 

Buy now

Verdict:

If you want to splash out on the best, I'd recommend the Pure Sensia Connect or the Ruark R1. Both have excellent sound and great features. But for those on a budget you wouldn't go wrong by the Viewquest Retro or the John Lewis Spectrum Duo.

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