Roberts Gemini Classic FM RD50CFM review

A treasure chest for older DAB radio fans

Not only is the RD50CFM one of the oddest looking DAB radios we've ever seen, it's also a tie-in with Classic FM

TechRadar Verdict

A well-made DAB radio that gives everything its target market will be looking for


  • +

    Large LCD

    Easy to use

    Good sound quality


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    With leather sofas all the rage again, it was only a matter of time before digital radios were covered in cowhide, but bright red? In the world of home electronics it's rare to come across a product as unique as this.

    But Roberts has gone one further - not only is the RD50CFM one of the oddest looking DAB radios we've ever seen, it's also a tie-in with Classic FM.

    Note that the radio station is yet to change its name to Classic DAB, probably for fear of scaring off listeners nearer the grave than to cutting edge technology like digital radio.

    Dead man's chest

    As well as sporting a striking retro look, the RD50CFM almost doubles up as a treasure chest. A gold latch on the unit's rear is released to reveal the radio's innards. Among the roomy insides is the battery compartment, making the RD50CFM both light and portable.

    The LCD screen is without doubt the largest of any DAB radio we've seen. Measuring around 3in wide, the usual two lines of characters are provided, albeit with a much larger font than usual. If that makes it easier for the target market to use, so does the provision of a special circular red button that immediately tunes into Classic FM.

    It's a nice touch, but those wanting to search for it manually should have no problems either. The tuning dial is easy to use, with the added bonus that a simple press tunes in whatever station is displayed on the LCD screen. It may seem a strange thing to get excited about, but so many DAB radios involve using at least three buttons merely to change station.

    Something that's also overlooked is how well a radio can hold the signal. The RD50CFM's autotune works well and there's no need to use the telescopic aerial strapped to the unit's back.

    Sound quality is also excellent. There's plenty of depth and resonance for voice radio and music is rendered with similar oomph, although the details of classical compositions can sound muffled at times. Mind you, that could be something to do with the low bitrates of many DAB stations, including Classic FM.

    Designed with older users in mind, this retro-looking radio reaches well beyond its brief. With sound quality this good, Roberts should be deservedly proud of this minor classic of a DAB radio. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.