We’re a contrary lot, aren’t we? Now that all tech is sleek and glossy and touchscreeny, we seem to have developed a taste for chunky, boxy, vintage-looking contraptions with (literal) knobs on.
Take retro radios. Otherwise known as radios that look like your nan bought them.
They come in a variety of shapes and styles seemingly unrelated to their performance, but should they take your fancy, which one is for you?
We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular models, and have given our suggestions for the kinds of people they’ll suit.
Disclaimer: Despite our incredibly scientific methodology, there’s a very small chance our suggestions are not entirely accurate.
Will appeal to: hardcore hipsters, would-be time travellers
This isn’t some super-powered digital music-cube disguised as an old-fashioned radio. It IS an old-fashioned radio – the most high-tech thing about it is the twiddly tuning dial. Forget DAB and WiFi and whatnot, this is REAL retro, ideal for those who buy clothes from vintage shops, put pictures of homemade suet pies on Instagram, ride bicycles with wicker baskets on the front, and basically wish they lived in the 1940s. Only with better dentistry and less stuff in black and white.
Roberts Revibal iStream
Will appeal to: anyone who likes retro stuff without being pretentious about it
Want to have a radio that blends seamlessly into your quirky vintage kitchen while still letting you access that American rockabilly radio station you love? Then the iStream is ideal, because it’s got Wi-Fi and lets you scroll through global radio stations and stream music from your laptop or tablet. Sure, the shiny screen at the top is a glaring reminder that you’re not ACTUALLY in the olden days, but then this the radio for all you non-try-hard hipsters out there. You do exist, right?
Will appeal to: beat poets, people with quiffs
Hey daddy-o, this is the real deal, you dig? Whether your tastes run to the rhythmic writings of Jack Kerouac or the dangerously edgy rock riffs of the young Cliff Richard, this proudly non-DAB, non-Wi-Fi radio will transport you right back to the late 50s/early 60s. Plonk this on your table and suddenly you’re in a roadside diner. Or you’re at a hip poetry reading. Or you’re Marty McFly, waking up in bed with your very attractive mum. It’s a very versatile radio that way.
Will appeal to: people who like flares
Super-stylish, this one. It immediately evokes images of a 1970s bachelor pad, complete with shag pile carpeting and Felicity Kendal on the telly. If Roger Moore’s Bond was in the market for a retro radio, he’d definitely go for this one. But beneath its throwback façade, the Pure Verona features amplified audio subsystems, the ability to rewind live digital radio, an input for your iPod, and other things that help make it the ultimate accessory for the modern day medallion man.
ViewQuest Emma Bridgewater
Will appeal to: young Mary Berry wannabes
Unashamedly twee? Waste time at work by looking up cupcake blogs? Then this is the retro radio for you. Yes, it has DAB and digital functionality, and a dock for your iPhone, but none of that really matters. Only the polka dots matter. The cute colourful polka dots. And the way just one glance at this radio makes you want to spend your days putting up bunting and baking Victoria sponges. Marvellous.
Will appeal to: serious music fans, old souls
OK, so this will appeal more for its record turntable and cassette player (!) than the radio function. But look at it: the only way a music device could be any more retro is by infecting you with smallpox. This oak-lined nostalgia engine will serve all your wistful needs, and totally impress all your mates when they come into your inner sanctum. Or make them roll their eyes. One or the other.