Ages ago, my beloved leather-clad vintage-look kitchen radio slowly died a crackling, buzzing, untune-able death. When I looked for a replacement, I had just two criteria – that it would look stylish and lovely in my kitchen (basically it needed to be pretty enough to raise a smile every time I turned it on), and that it would have an iPod dock; a lot of my audio books are on my iPod, and they’re my listening of choice for baking sessions.
The radio I ended up choosing was the VQ Retro in gorgeous powder blue, and it has graced my kitchen for a few years now, coping admirably with my need to leap from Radio 4 (mornings and weekends) to Radio 2 (afternoons/cooking meals) to Classic FM (late night baking, and it’s not on digital, but it handles analogue just fine) to iPod.
So when VQ asked if I’d like to try the View Quest Christie I might have squeaked eagerly as I said yes. Because this little baby is not just a pretty face. oh no.
Obviously it IS a pretty face – that vintage styling is exactly what I want in a radio. Even if it is running with the latest digital bluetooth technology, that’s just the rule; any radio in my kitchen needs to look like it’s been sitting on the windowsill since the 1950’s, okay?
And this one really does – the VQ Christie has a stunning enamel facia (the first consumer audio product in the world designed with premium enamel). And then of course there’s the sumptuous leatherette band – and don’t fret, it’s available in a range of 11 colours so there’s bound to be one just for you.
But like I said, the Christie isn’t just a pretty face. It’s got some seriously clever innards.
Obviously it has the DAB, DAB+ and FM Radio reception – so you have access to the full spectrum of digital services available across the UK and Europe – but can still switch to FM for your traditional analogue services (*cough* ClassicFM).
But (and here’s the first of the clever stuff) if you want to play music or content from your own library or streaming services like Spotify, there’s a dead-easy one-touch connection with NFC, or you can pair your Christie with your smart device via Bluetooth. Naturally for the more traditionally inclined, the Christie has the standard cable connections (3.5mm aux-in, 3.5mm headphone jack and USB charging port).
Because I love my kitchen radio really rather a lot, I’ve actually been using the Christie as a bedside radio. I don’t listen to much in the bedroom (I’m more of a stagger-for-the-coffee-pot-when-the-alarm-goes-off kind of girl), but it’s actually a pretty perfect clock-radio. There’s the genius of the dual alarm system, which means you can have a different alarm time set for the weekend (or else if you both get up at different times you can set it for his & hers functionality instead).
My bedside table is pretty tiny, so I’ve been using the Christie as an upright radio. But there’s the other bot of nifty cleverness – if you prefer it sitting in a traditional landscape manner? No problem – because the entire dial swivels to allow you to operate it either way up.
I know! Genius!
Of course, all the serious cleverness and prettiness in the design and engineering are worthless if the sound coming out of the speakers is a bit rubbish. But thankfully the marvellous magicians at VQ thought about that from the start. I’m no cleverly knowledgeable sound person – the VQ info states that the Christie has a “…single ultra-wide speaker driver and innovative digital sound processing technology”.
That’s as may be – all I know is that John Humphrys sounds clear, sharp and perfect at 7 in the morning, it’ll roar out Nickelback in the afternoon without withering the speaker vibration and Miserere Mei raises the hairs on the back of my neck during a late evening baking session. And that’s pretty much all I need to know.
The VQ Christie DAB radio is available direct from VQ’s site for £99, no matter which colour you end up choosing (I’m thinking I might need ALL the colours…)