Roberts Gemini RD-22 review

The retro stylings hide a very modern radio

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Our Verdict

A whippersnapper of a DAB radio with lofty aspirations and mind-boggling ease of use that's at odds with its granddad looks

For

  • Impressive sound

    Good features

    Easy to use

    A remote control!

Against

  • No SD card reader

Here's another take on the 'getting the design wrong' look: the Gemini RD-22 looks far too much like a clock radio. But, with excellent sound, the mains operation-only Gemini belies its old fashioned silver front with a quality wood build.

It's just a shame that Roberts didn't decide on an all-over white look for the Gemini, though. With its MP3 player hook-up possibilities, it could have made a decent iPod speaker as well as a highly functional DAB radio.

However, the Gemini remains very different from its competitors. It's one of the few models around that comes with a remote control, albeit a tiny affair. As all the controls are housed in the remote (although the main unit also has a volume control), consequently, the fascia is clean, the LCD large and the scrolling text and station information also bigger than normal. The LCD is a little slow to show what's happening as you scroll through stations, however.

In spite of the controls being remote control housed, the Gemini's two sound modes - normal and 3D - have to be toggled between by flicking a switch on the unit's rear, striking us as a little odd. Normal sound is bassheavy and comfortably more expansive and precise than either the Ordio, Sony or Genus, while 3D mode widens the sound stage still further, making the rear's line input even more impressive. Seen those swanky Bose speakers for iPods and been tempted? With the Gemini there's really no need.

Room-filling audio is achieved at a canter here, and there's also an optical TOSlink for connecting to an amplifier. Although it has an optical connection for hooking-up a remote control and an amplifier, the Gemini's lack of removable SD card does put it a step behind other DAB radios in terms of versatility.

That said, the Gemini is an ideal choice for those with iPods and home cinemas. How the Gemini can have such lofty aspirations and be so damn simple to use is a lesson to other manufacturers. The addition of a remote control is an unexpected bonus, but there's one thing its designers clearly haven't learned from the rest: retro is just so dated.

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