25 Mar, 2015

I recently picked up a Revo SuperConnect DAB/Internet radio, as a replacement for an old clock radio. I couldn't find many useful reviews online while I was browsing, so I thought I'd briefly share my experiences with it so far.

Screen Shot

After a month of daily use, here's my list of pros and cons:

Things that are good

  • It looks great. It's a mix of retro and modern, with a high-quality walnut case.

  • It kicks out excellent sound quality from all sources, despite the single speaker. If mono just isn't enough for you, there are stereo phono outputs and an optical digital output on the rear of the unit, which would happily feed a beefy hi-fi amp powering any speakers you like.

  • The remote control unit is really well built and clearly laid out.

  • The aptX® CD-quality Bluetooth streaming sounds fantastic, and the connection is rock solid. You can stream any audio you like to the radio, from any app on your phone or tablet.

  • Hardware play/pause/skip buttons (on both the unit and the remote) allow direct control of Bluetooth sound sources. So if your phone's charging on the other side of the room, you can still stream music from it and skip tracks using the radio or remote.

  • The menu system is really easy to navigate, both with the remote and with the controls on the unit itself. Even when you're half asleep.

  • The OLED display is sharp and clear under any lighting conditions. As a bonus, the display doesn't spill a lot of excess light, so unlike some clock radios, it won't light up the whole room.

  • You can see what alarm times you have set at a glance and the alarm tones work very well, even for someone like myself who could sleep through a particularly raucous gun battle.

  • Setting up the wireless network connection is quick and easy; even over my terrible, flaky network, the connection seems very solid and streaming internet radio isn't interrupted by dropouts.

  • Internet radio stations are seamlessly integrated. The unit will automatically connect itself to the network when you select an internet station, but if you really don't want to wait for a second or two each time you do this, you can tell it to stay connected all the time.

  • There are plenty of preset station slots: eight for each radio source (FM, DAB and Wifi), each with a dedicated button.

Things that are not as good

  • The volume wheel is on the right hand side of the unit, which will be inconvenient in some situations (like mine, where the position of the bedside table means that the control is pretty much inaccessible when lying in bed).

  • The remote control is pretty bulky and surprisingly heavy. You might actually find this a plus if—like me—you constantly knock lightweight things off of other things with… other things.

  • There are only three options for display brightness, and even the lowest brightness setting is still fairly bright. This doesn't bother me at all, but if you are sensitive to light in the room while trying to sleep, it might be a problem.

  • The companion internet radio portal website is very outdated and quite clunky to use. You don't need to use it, but it's the only way to set up new/favourite stations which are then listed in the radio's menu system. I'm also a little concerned about what happens if that site disappears at some point in the future...

  • Accessing the sleep function takes several button presses in order to navigate the menu system. This is my biggest issue with the unit: as (I'd imagine) one of the most commonly used functions of a bedside radio, why can't there be a dedicated button for this?

Overall though, I wholeheartedly recommend the SuperConnect. It's pricey (at nearly £250), but it's definitely worth the money if you'd like a radio which will make just about any kind of input you throw at it sound great. I bought a refurbished one directly from Revo on Amazon, which knocked about £30 off the price.

If you're the curious type and would like more detail, I'd suggest checking out the manual on the Revo site before you make a purchase.