Review: Ruark R1 Mk3 Deluxe DAB Radio
Ruark R1 Series Mk3 Radio
Fantastic design has long since been in the DNA of the Ruark R1 series radio and when you see the logo on the product, you just know that it’s going to work and work well. Also, the stylings of this amazing machine make it fit seamlessly into even the most avant garde of homes.
Award winning performance
You know this radio will deliver years of enjoyment and not just because of how it looks. Its performance, inner-workings and intuitive user experience are at such a high level that it has won awards year in year out. That was up until 2012, when Ruark last received any accolades for its nifty R1 series radio.
This extended absence from the winners podium came as a surprise to many of us in the tech business, so when received word that a newer, better 3rd generation version of this amazing radio was on its way, we were naturally very keen to find out what the boffins at Ruark had come up with.
Style and Substance
We are pleased to report that the classic design of the Ruark R1 radio hasn’t changed too much. What remains is a compact design with a single speaker all finished off with a shell colouring of your choice.
Although a premium item, its controls are reassuringly simple and efficient. A circle of clearly marked buttons for everything you need to control make it ergonomically terrific! It’s not all no-frills though as it has an upgraded OLED display, which is much more striking when compared to the older LCD display from the previous model.
Plug and play
Once unpacked, you will find that the R1 Mark 3 is very easy to get up and running. Plug it in, screw in the ariel and that’s a large part of it done. The aforementioned ‘circle’ of buttons sitting on top of the radio contains the controls for everything including menus, volume and tuning. Thankfully, there are dedicated buttons for power, preset stations, alarms and other more peripheral functionality. This results in an uncomplicated access point to the core features of the unit.
By selecting DAB from the menu, this impressive radio will auto-set your time and date, so no fiddling about or proverbial tearing out of hair. Those with an aversion to manuals will be pleased to learn that the menu system is so intuitive that reading through pages of instructions is not necessary.
As you would expect, the new Ruark R1 Mk3 has both DAB and FM settings, but it also DAB+ which is tech that is expected to arrive in the coming years. Technology that is here now and new to this model is the aptX Bluetooth feature, which lets you stream music to the radio from your tablets and handheld devices.
The complete radio
Including a headphone jack, USB charging and a ‘line-in’ port for hardwiring, this bijou piece of tech could truly be labelled the complete radio device. It even boasts a ‘portable’ function that can be achieved by investing just another £50 for a rechargeable battery pack.
None of this would mean anything if the standard audio didn’t match its design. There are no concerns there though, as it sounds every bit as good as it ever did.
There have been quite a few improvements made internally including more efficient signal circuitry and a modernized chipset with upgraded DAC. The result?
Pros: Well, what emanates from the speakers of the Mk3 is a richer sound that seems impossibly good for a unit so small. High quality meaty bass and a sharp midrange meaning a clear and vivid sound to music and talking programmes alike. A nice touch is the Bluetooth function, which performs well and matches the other facilities the Mk3 has. Linking your portable devices takes just a second or two. Also the radio’s new tech can identify metadata and display what is playing on the R1s OLED screen. Finding stations is a cinch as well as it locks on to stations with ease.
Cons: Although a brilliant radio for most households, its size means that its never going to dominate large rooms, but that is to be expected. Obviously the quality of signal you receiving will either help or hinder what you hear.
What do we think? Although £200 is a rather hefty price tag for a compact radio, you will certainly know where your money has gone once you hear it in person. Its brilliant design and user-friendly controls make it a must have. For us, the Ruark R1 Mk3 gets a 5/5.