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Hands on ... View Quest Hepburn

How will it change my life?

Radio hasn't had a significant influence on me since I was a teenager in the pre-internet dark ages. In those simple days my family relied on radio for everything from waking us up to providing the correct time after a power cut and giving us our first taste of the latest music releases.

In an era awash with smartphones and tablets, radio is often deemed a poor relation, which is a tad harsh. The Hepburn gave me the chance to relive part of my childhood and once again experience the heady excitement of spending a Saturday afternoon listening to passionate football commentary, which still beats anything TV can offer.

The science bit Digital audio broadcasting has been around for decades and is now in the mainstream due to advancements in transmitter technology. Digital information is easier to deliver than analogue waves due to the nature of wave degradation, which can happen at any of the undulating states in the wave. A mast trying to retransmit these signals finds it impossible to determine the state the wave was in when it degraded: the result is the garbled effect we all know from traditional radio. Digital signals can be pictured as two steps, one higher than the other, and it's these two states that enable transmission masts easier to determine signal state.

Good points

The Hepburn has a classic appearance, but its clean lines mean it won't look out of place in any home. It provides digital and analogue radio with a minimum of fuss with the auto scanning/tuning feature. It can be used as a speaker for other audio devices via Bluetooth or auxiliary connection and can be controlled remotely via smartphone or tablet applications, which were also simple to obtain and operate. I tested both the Android and iOS versions of the software and was impressed with their slick interfaces.

The radio also has a USB port, which can be used to charge mobile devices. It also includes a countdown timer, making it ideal for kitchen use.

Bad points

The Hepburn requires four type D batteries when removed from the mains, when a rechargeable lithium battery would have been a better idea. The price could also deter many.

Best for

Anyone seeking a versatile, feature-rich alternative to the traditional radio.

Avoid if

You're not fussed by fancy extras.

Score

7/10. The Hepburn is a handsome, British-made audio system with more quirky features than John McCririck's face.

l View Quest Hepburn, £149.99 (viewquest.co.uk)

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