It once seemed that the humble radio was on the way out. We now regularly carry around devices that can access more or less any song ever recorded. We can also download smartphone apps for our smartphones, laptops or tablets that allow us to listen to radio stations across the globe. The problem is that most of these ways of accessing music or talk radio rely upon a reliable Wi-Fi or 4G connection and stable software, yet neither of those things are ever guaranteed. There is nothing worse than a favourite song cutting out or a news broadcast buffering the headlines as your device tries desperately to connect.
Many of us are now realising this and turning back to the reliability of a radio that works well and also looks good around the home as a design piece. The radio manufacturers have also caught up with technological advances and now offer up-to-the-minute software that works alongside the more standard DAB, FM and MW options.
Many radios now come with a Bluetooth connection as standard and even Wi-Fi compatibility, allowing you to have the best of both worlds and utilise your new radio as a speaker or a gateway to global internet radio. The sound is often great, the look even greater and you can usually find something that will fit with the design of your home, whether that is contemporary, high-tech period or retro. The more adventurous can even opt for a wired-in system that will connect with sound systems, laptops and other devices. Here is our selection of the best-looking and best-sounding options for listening to the radio in your home.
Roberts Blutune 65
This modern DAB radio comes in a number of colours and also boasts an iPhone and iPad port alongside Bluetooth connectivity. It can also operate on FM and its size means that it looks good on a sideboard and boasts a great stereo sound.
John Lewis Spectrum Duo
Featuring Bluetooth and near-field connectivity, this bargain of a radio also looks great around the home in its range of eye-popping candy colours. Match it with your paintwork, or vice-versa.
This DAB radio is ideal for use in the bathroom or kitchen, being small, portable and able to operate via mains or battery power. DAB radios tend to use more power than the regular FM models, so rechargeable batteries are always recommended.
Roberts Classic Blutune
At £100, this would be our pick for the best solid, no-nonsense, modern DAB/FM radio that does everything you need. The speaker sound is impressive, the wooden look is timeless and you can connect your phone via Bluetooth to enjoy your podcasts or music.
If you like music radio then this model looks good and sounds good. What Hi-Fi? called it their best £200-plus radio and you can see why when it can link up with your laptop, play Spotify or just keep you up to date with the Today Programme of a morning.
This system of wireless speakers that are driven by an app is a different way to access radio, with the systems able to link with your phone, laptop, PC or tablet. A more expensive way of doing things (and one that relies on a Wi-Fi signal for radio), but also an unobtrusive way of having music or talk radio available around the house.