Intempo BB-01 review: Intempo BB-01

The Good Blue LCD; sensible control layout.

The Bad The looks; the sound; the plastic.

The Bottom Line Digital doesn't always mean better and here's the proof: a £90 digital radio that doesn't sound significantly better than an FM one. We'd love a DAB radio that also boasts an FM tuner and CD player -- but we want one that sounds good and looks good too

4.5 Overall

Review Sections

This £90 digital radio with integrated FM tuner and CD player looks like the perfect package, with everything you need for music on the move. However, while the brochure raves about the "stylish design", "clean lines" and "organic shape" with "great sound quality", the vast expanse of white plastic looks and feels rather cheap, and the sound quality leaves much to be desired. Speech is acceptable, but with music -- any kind of music -- the speakers deliver very muddy, indistinct sound. You can add some much-needed low-end thump by switching on the X-Bass button, but it doesn't make music any clearer. The BB-01 is crying out for a graphic equaliser, but it doesn't even have a tone control.

The designers of the BB-01 have tried to combine the street style of a boom box with the icy cool of an iPod, but the result doesn't work on either front. Where an iPod has a glossy finish that's easy to keep clean, the BB-01 becomes grubby within seconds, and the vast expanse of white plastic looks cheap rather than cool. At 2.8kg without batteries, it's also very heavy.

The control layout is good, with system buttons on the top left, presets and bass boost on the top right and CD controls under the blue LCD at the front. There are no tone controls or a graphic equaliser, and you can't connect an external device such as an iPod.

The BB-01 can run on 8 type C batteries or on AC power, and the power cable hides away in the battery compartment when it's not in use. The CD player is on top, and there's a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right hand side of the unit.

At £90 the BB-01 is hardly cheap, but it does look it. The lid of the CD player is flimsy and difficult to open, the volume control feels fragile and the rubbery tuning button below the LCD seems to have been stolen from a scroll mouse.

Tuning the BB-01 is just a matter of pressing the Autotune button, which automatically finds and stores digital radio stations. Like other digital radios, the list may include stations you can't receive, such as London-only broadcasters.

You can use the Autotune button on FM too, although it only finds the next station rather than all the available broadcasts. The tuner is RDS-compatible, so you'll see station names rather than frequency numbers.

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