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Grundig Roam review: Grundig Roam portable DAB+ radio

As a portable DAB+ unit the Grundig Roam works well. Stop roaming and connect it up to speakers, however, and the story is quite different.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
3 min read


Grundig Roam

The Good

Portable. Stores 15 DAB+ and 15 FM presets. Integrated antenna and speaker.

The Bad

Bulkier than other pocket DAB+ units. Doesn't interact well with speaker systems.

The Bottom Line

As a portable DAB+ unit the Roam works well. Stop roaming and connect it up to speakers, however, and the story is quite different.


Grundig's Roam DAB+ digital radio looks for all the world like any of the competitors to the original iPod. Not the Nano, Shuffle, Touch, Phone or even Mini. We're thinking the original iPod, or to be more accurate any of the imitators that sprung up nine years ago, many of which were arguably better than the iPod was back then. But we digress.

We're used to retro designs in DAB+ units, but it's downright quirky to hit one that's retro, but only just so. As DAB+ units go, the Roam is smaller than most radios, but bigger than other portables like the Bush Walker or iRiver B30. The front of the Roam houses a joystick selection control surrounded by four large buttons for accessing preset stations, switching between DAB+ and FM mode, changing the two-line display info and bringing up the main menu.

On the subject of design, it was very tough while writing this review not to name drop the B52's endlessly. This would still be the obvious choice for the advertising jingle, however.


As you've probably gathered by now, the Roam is a portable digital radio unit with FM capabilities. When we first got it out of the box, we presumed it performed the same as the Bush Walker by using the headphone cable as an impromptu (and often inaccurate) antenna. We were at least partially wrong. The Roam has an antenna that tucks into the top side of the unit, as well as an integrated speaker. What we did find was that the headphone (or speaker) cable does change the reception quality of the unit. Testing on a train in Sydney, we found plugging in a set of headphones improved reception markedly, whereas testing in a home environment and plugging the Roam into a set of speakers saw reception quality dip alarmingly. Whether that's an antenna or earthing issue is tough to discern, but it's an issue either way if this was a DAB+ radio you were planning to use indoors for any length of time.


Like most portable DAB+ units, the accent is on usability above all else, and here the Roam scores well with us. It's pretty self-evident how to change stations at will. The two-line display isn't the flashiest thing, but it gets across the key pertinent information. The in-built speaker isn't great, but it's perfectly serviceable, especially if you're listening to more talk-centric radio than music. As with the Bush Walker, it's more a unit for those who listen to radio outdoors than those who want to relax on the sofa, especially given the odd reception problems we encountered testing with it plugged into speakers. Grundig rates the battery (which charges via a supplied adapter or mini USB port) for up to eight hours playback time. In our tests, we ran it through an entire work day with the speaker going with no problems at all, so we'd call that a fair figure.


It's entirely feasible to buy a DAB+ unit cheaper than the Roam, and the price is something of a concern. More housebound radio listeners would be better served by a unit such as Kogan's Wi-Fi Digital Radio DAB with iPhone Docking Station Deluxe or one of these. The Roam is a portable unit, and in that capacity it's a better than the admittedly limited Bush Walker, but not as attractive as the iRiver B30.