Intempo Digital made a name for itself a year or two ago with some pretty outlandish looking DAB radios that were styled by British fashion designer Matthew Williamson.
This time around it's created the TRS-01 -- a compact and portable set with a cut down range of features and a relatively low asking price of £40.
For a DAB radio, the TRS-01 is surprisingly small and light. It's much closer to the size and shape of traditional FM sets, so it's easy to cart from room to room or take with you when you're heading out. The radio is available in a range of different colours, including black or grey for those with fairly traditional tastes, and red, blue and purple for more adventurous souls.
You'll find a small plug-in power supply in the box for running the radio from the mains, but it can also be powered by four AA batteries. DAB radios generally draw a lot of power, but the TRS-01 will keep running for around 10 hours on batteries, which isn't too bad.
Once you've used the auto-tune button to find all the stations in your area, you can cycle through them via the rotary wheel on the front. To select a station you simply press inwards on the wheel. There's also a row of five preset buttons on the front, but you can actually store ten preset stations at any one time. To access the second set of presets you just hold down the shift button.
We used the radio in east London and the reception was pretty good for such a small set, although as with all DAB radios, you have to be more careful with the placement of the telescopic aerial than you would with a standard FM radio. That said, the radio does have a built-in FM tuner as well, which has very good reception. So if the DAB reception in your area isn't first rate, you can always switch across to analogue mode instead.
The radio's case feels solid enough, but the finish is quite plasticky and you do get the feeling that it's not really going to stand up too well to many bumps and scrapes.
Also, as the set only has a single speaker, it can only produce mono sound. This is fine if you mostly listen to talk radio, but not ideal if you generally keep your radio locked to music stations. The sound quality was on the tinny side, but given the radio's small dimensions, that's pretty much to be expected. It's definitely more suited to talk radio than music stations. However, when you plug headphones into the mini jack socket on the left hand edge, your cans are filled with stereo sound.
Most DAB radios have an alarm clock mode, but unfortunately this feature isn't present on the TRS-01. It doesn't support the DAB EPG either and there are no fancy pause and rewind features that some of the more advanced sets now support.
One slight anomaly we noticed during our testing was related to the volume control. The radio's volume is controlled by a pair of up and down buttons on the right hand side. When the radio's volume has been turned down to zero and you go to turn it back up again, it takes about three seconds to respond, which is disconcerting. Perhaps it's something to do with power saving, but the problem remains whether you're running the set on mains or battery power.
The TRS-01 isn't the most solidly built DAB radio we've ever come across, but it is very compact and portable, has decent battery life and good reception. Given its relatively low price of £40, we have to say it's a decent option for those looking for a smaller DAB set.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire