- Great build quality, and materials used
- All styles look very premium
- Sound quality hugely suffers due to poor bass performance
So it looks like our time with retro looking digital radios are coming to an end, and that’s all thanks to the very good looking Rosie-Lee DAB Radio from British manufacturers VQ. And to tell you the truth, this has got to be one of the best looking bedside alarm clock DAB radios ever. Period.
But this does come at a price. The VQ Rosie-Lee retails at £129.99 from the manufacturers website, although looking around the net we found it slightly cheaper than this. But you’re not just getting a DAB radio for the money. The product also has built-in Bluetooth so you can connect your phone or tablet to it, and a 3.5mm aux input for those wired connections.
Having Bluetooth means that you can listen to your favourite streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, as well as a more calming audiobook or podcast while you’re drifting off to sleep. The USB port on the back also means that your phone’s battery will never die as you can charge it directly from this.
The VQ Rosie-Lee DAB radio has been crafted from a single piece of wood and comes in several finishes. We’re taking a look at a model branded Walnut, which has a dark wood fascia and has been covered in a premium leather around the outside. There are little metal feet on the bottom to save any vibration from louder volumes. The leather look is actually quite smart, and has a beautiful stitched trim around the front and back side of the radio.
The 3″ screen on the front has an ultra-wide viewing angle, and can be easily read at a distance thanks to its dynamic contrast. Even the smallest of icons like the alarm prompt and even which day it is can be easily read, and I’m a glasses wearer during the day so my eyesight isn’t perfect.
All buttons are on top with the exception of the power button placed just above the screen. Text on top is white and bold, but I would have liked to have seen some kind of backlight here for when it’s dark in the room. Feeling around the buttons is quite hard as they’re close to eachother and there’s not much of a gap between them. Things like putting your alarm on snooze is a difficult task.
Setting up the radio however is a simple feat, with all DAB radio stations auto-tuning to the signal your location can receive, and managing your way through the menu systems is only made easier with large on-screen prompts as well as the left and right cycle buttons on top.
When listening to DAB, there is some severe distortion that comes through when you set your EQ to anything too bass orientated, making this sound extremely tinny as you have to have your bass EQ settings very low. This works perfectly when listening to something like an audiobook or podcast, but as soon as music is introduced, especially through Bluetooth, you’re going to have a problem.
It isn’t so bad when listening to digital radio though as the EQ almost seems quite flat, so no extra bass thrown into the 10W drivers. You can still manipulate the sound, and if you go too high with the bass, it’ll conk out. But it won’t cause anywhere near as much distortion as a track played through Bluetooth will. Also, avoid the Rock EQ preset at all costs.
However, saying that, music which has been orientated towards a higher treble really shines, and the amount of detail within the higher frequencies is passable. Cymbal crashes as well as vocals all shine through, but only when you have that bass setting set to a low number. I was expecting a lot more from the sound quality here, as the price for this radio is pretty high, but that is probably reflected in it’s premium manufacturing quality.
The VQ Rosie-Lee DAB Radio is something of finesse. It’s incredibly constructed and looks like a real premium piece of kit for the bedside table. The biggest downfall is its audio quality, which really suffers due to poor bass performance. If you would like to find out more about the Rosie-Lee then please check out the VQ website.