Scouting round for retro items for the perfect vintage look means we have seen an awful lot of music players and readios which are somewhat removed appearance wise from the more techy bluetooth players we have been looking at over the last year. After looking at various options, we settled on this stunning example from View Quest.
The View Quest Retro Radio
This DAB radio is another firm favourite available from Viking (www. viking-direct.co.uk) and a variety of suppliers – Viking kindly sent us one to play with in keeping with our current theme. We have looked at a variety of small and portable wireless / Bluetooth music players over the years on the blog, and while this isn’t portable in the same way as, for example, the Jabra Solemate which we love, it serves a very different function.
This unit comes in cool cream, sleek red or black, and a ditsy Emma Bridgewater print, and has a new range, the ColourGen range which boasts a host of sunny vintage ice cream colours including teal and mustard. We have seen this in both cream and a rich, emerald green, both of which really do this unit justice lookswise. It is modelled like an old style 60s / 70s radio, with wooden housing and cool leatherette trim, with a discreet display panel and handle. The panel does not have dimmer, which I personally would prefer for bedside use, but it isn’t overbright. It looks simply marvellous in any setting, but would be an absolute winner in a vintage style caravan (or for that matter, home, office or modern caravan – we love it that much!) or VW. The buttons and display are small, in keeping with the retro style, but I must say I didn’t find it fiddly to use once I’d read the instructions properly.
It can be battery operated, and lives up to its claim of 15 hours run time, or connected to the mains. What’s more, it has a lightning connecting iPhone dock, meaning you can both stream your MP3s and charge your phone or iPod at the same time. The dock is a nifty little tray which pops out and hides away again when you are done – very useful for those with minimal sockets available in their caravan who still need charging ability without adapters or having to plug / unplug. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can still use the aux in port to play MP3s from a different source.
Using this at home, the WiFi connectivity is seamlessly easy, and there are plenty of preset stations available. Out and about, DAB, DAB+ and FM work equally well, making this the perfect machine for those who want the combined convenience of DAB, FM and iPod in one. Sound output is via 2 10 watt speakers, which is more than ample for a bedside / caravan / kitchen radio. We pushed the machine quite hard, and again, I’m not a sound system expert, but my take is that the quality is very good indeed until we reached a fairly high volume. It wouldn’t hold up against a large party, but in a caravan, you won’t need it to, will you? The sound is solid and clear, which is what we were looking for.
Last but not least, beautiful looks aside, the final feature of the View Quest is a clock (which auto sets the time helpfully) and a dual alarm, which means you can set it for 2 different times, and choose to woken with the radio or MP3s. The alarm is easy to use and has turned this from an attractive, useful bit of kit to pretty much a caravan essential for us.