One of our pet peeves in modern radios is how the gadgets often only serve one purpose, and that’s the playback of radio. We wish more of them had Bluetooth for streaming, allowing us to play our own music when the radio selections just weren’t good. Fortunately, there’s now an option.
If you don’t mind spending around a little more than your traditional radio, British brand Ruark will have a device to do exactly that, providing FM radio as well as DAB and DAB+ — which is what we use in Australia — and a dose of wireless streaming over Bluetooth for when the programme you’re interested in has finished for the day, letting you play back the songs on your smartphone or tablet.
The radio is called the R1, and is more of an evolved and updated version of Ruark’s original R1, with a degree of future proofing applied to help protect it from digital radio transmission upgrades that could disable the radio moving on.
Ruark has also included Bluetooth support over A2DP, a USB charge port for smartphones and tablets, auxiliary input, independent treble and bass settings, and a high contrast OLED screen so you can see what you’re changing.
On top, there’s a control system consisting of a dial to make the radio easier to control, and while there’s a wall adaptor in the box, an optional battery can be plugged in to make the R1 mobile.
And then there’s the look, which will appeal to anyone who likes things that look well built.
For starters, there’s wood — yes, real wood — which Ruark says has been used not just because it looks and feels good, but because it gives the best sound.
If you decide to take it on the go, there’s a small accessory called the “CarryPack” which brings a leather casing and handle to the package, and apparently works with the battery (BackPack) that Ruark makes.
Pricing for this DAB+ radio sits on the upper end of similar products, with Ruark sending word that the new R1 will cost $399 with availability at specialist retailers across the country.