You associate BT with many things, from Bob Hoskins to scandalous line rental charges, but not digital radio. The telecoms goliath aims to change all that with the Aviator 10M.
The name seems arbitrary, as it looks more like a sexed-up Fisher Price radio than something you'd find in a hi-tech cockpit, but whatever the virtues of this device, its tubby looks and oversized buttons leave us cold. Did BT pay someone to design this?
Despite this bumpy start, the Aviator takes off once it's tuned into a decent DAB station. The sound is fairly good, being clear and expansive with plenty of volume. Tuning the radio is straightforward, too, thanks to the Auto DAB scan and generously-sized LCD.
Dig a bit deeper, though, and you feel shortchanged for £105. The sound enhancement functions found on similarpriced models from Pure are sadly lacking, and bass could certainly be beefier despite the reassuring menu message: 'Bass ON'. Fortunately, AUX In and Out enables you to plug the Aviator into a home hi-fi or external speakers for more oomph.
Just as useful is the inclusion of a 10-minute record and playback function - perfect for capturing the climax of the Chris Moyles show if you need to run out to the shop (or just run out). An SD slot enables you to play back pre-recorded MP3 files through the radio as well. A neat touch, so other DAB radio makers take note! This is one of the best specified kitchen DAB radios since the Bug from Pure Digital.
Expect to see a lot more of these products from BT. The telecoms giant has a vested interest in the UK's digital radio network. It's one of only two companies holding licences to send data via digital radio, so we could see BT offering services such as music downloads in the future. It's an industry with which BT will become increasingly associated.