Lightning Review: Kogan Internet DAB+ Radio

There aren't too many people out there who'd want a dedicated DAB+ radio that did nothing other than receive digital radio broadcasts. But a combo device like Kogan's that supports Internet and FM radio, plus has an iPod dock built in and streams your music collection over Wi-Fi? That's a product people might want to buy...

Price: $199

Verdict: Kogan's whole raison d'être is to offer products at a super competitive price by cutting out the middle man. At $199, the Kogan digital internet radio doesn't necessarily have a huge price advantage over other devices on the market, but it is fully featured and sounds pretty damned good.

At first glance, there seems to be way too many buttons on the front of the radio, but after using the speaker for a few weeks I actually used all of them. The DAB+ function are dead easy to set up and choosing a channel is a breeze. Internet radio is just as easy, although entering in your wireless password using only the four way navigation buttons can be a bit painstaking. You can directly access a whole range of podcasts directly from the device, but sadly they seem to only be of an international flavour - at least, my favourite local podcasts seemed to be missing.

With digital radio, FM radio is dead to me, so I didn't even bothe checking it out. Internet radio was a bit hit and miss - some channels played back fine, others refused to load, but that could be a problem with the station rather than the device. Unlike the podcasts, there's a really good selection of Australian Internet radio stations available.

Sound quality was pretty impressive. With two speakers and a front tweeter, you get a really full sound with a good range. Cranking the volume up, there's only a small amount of distortion, which is a pleasant surprise.

The only real problem with the device is that despite the fact Kogan advertises the radio works with iPhone, plugging in an iPhone 4 gives a message that it is not actually designed to work with iPhone. You can still get it to play music my using the iPhone to control your music selection, but track info isn't displayed on the radio's screen. It does charge the iPhone though, which is more than some iPod docks.

For $200, it's definitely an investment. But given the versatility and sound performance, it looks like a worthwhile one.

[Kogan]

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