With Internet radio becoming ever more popular we have decided to review one of the best internet radios on the market. The Roberts Stream 83i opens up the world of Internet radio and media streaming via an acoustically superior digital radio. DAB/FM and USB playback are catered for too but the real benefit is the sound quality. There is a three way speaker system featuring a built in bass woofer housed in an acoustically tuned wooden cabinet which delivers stunning sound reproduction.
If you haven’t already read our article: “What is internet radio?” it can be read here.
The best feature of the Roberts 83i in our opinion is in the name – Stream – via the internet you can stream up to 10,000 radio stations – a vast choice allowing you to discover genres that you may not have even known had existed. The streaming works via your modem either wirelessly via Wifi or you also have the option to connect the radio through an Ethernet lead from your modem to the radio. While the latter is a great additional add on and is great as a backup source of streaming we recommend using the wireless option and letting the radio be truly wireless by connecting it to your home WIFI.
Setting up the Roberts 83i is incredibly easy. Simply attach the radio to the mains using a plug adapter and follow the automatic setup wizard. The radio will pick up your modems network’s SSID using the Built-in Wi-Fi antenna, then you just need to enter your network password key (If you have set one) on the radio using the tuning/select knob – all so simple!
Once connected to the Internet and once you’ve setup your WiFi the radio does a good job of remembering your details so you’ll only need to setup once. You will be amazed at the amount of stations available from all over the world. The internet radio access is via frontier silicon and there is a facility on their website which allows you to set up numerous favourite stations, categorised into folders of your choosing if you wish. You just need to login to the website and use a code generated by your Roberts Stream 83i.
As with all modes you can set 5 presets on the red buttons on the front of the radio but can then access your ‘favourite’ stations/folders via the menu on the display. The internet radio mode also allows you to listen to podcast and ‘listen again’ content which are accessed via the menu on the radio. All very easy to set up and use. However you do not have to set up anything on the web if you do not want to and you can just scan for internet radio stations using the radio.
Using internet radio fast forwards those who have poor DAB/FM service reception into the future of radio enabling them to enjoy a virtually unlimited and worldwide radio experience. However this radio is more than a one trick pony and boasts further delights for the user to explore as explained below.
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DAB/FM/USB & Streaming
Being a Roberts brand the DAB setup and reception on this radio is of course second to none – previous issues we have had with older DAB radios such as loss of station, station switching & bad functionality are nowhere to be seen. There is 5 preset buttons for your stations on both DAB & FM again making ease of use a priority.
The radio has 2 USB slots – however only the front USB is available to the user.
It is possible to plug your MP3 player (to charge & play your MP3 player) and or an USB memory stick into the USB slot. The radio will read your USB content assuming your mp3/memory stick can be read by your PC as mass storage mode. Playback is easy – just select the Music Player then USB menu option. It isn’t possible as such to plug your Ipod device into the USB slot however Ipods and mp3 players can be played via the 3.5mm jack.
It is also possible to add USB speakers to the radio for playback – however the sound quality of the radio is so good we don’t see any need to do this.
The alternative to using a MP3/USB/Memory stick to play your favourite tracks is again in the name – Stream them. Using your PC you can stream from your own music folders or iTunes via Wifi – giving you better digital quality sound and unlimited choice of music.
Once installed on the PC the Stream 83i then immediately finds your music and you can play any music file you have stored on your pc. There are multiple methods (artist,album, etc.) of searching for tracks from the Stream 83i’s menu driven display & by making playlists you can put together your favourite tunes and have them play while you’re in the bath, out in the garden or even whilst entertaining guests.
Portability & Design
The Roberts Stream 83i is compact but feels solid and well-built, the build quality is excellent & we love the wooden acoustically tuned cabinet. The piano black finish is excellent and the operating buttons and dials are solid. We like its retro design – it looks like a radio should look and takes up little space on the shelf.
With regards to portability though one downside is the inability to have the unit run on batteries although we found this was compensated by the large amount of other features the Roberts Stream 83i provides for example apart from the main features the radio also comes with a remote control, it comes with an alarm function (radio/buzz) with adjustable sleep and snooze timers, it has a large clock display (with adjustable display backlight ) with time and date when in standby mode.
We thought the sound quality of the Roberts 83i was excellent for such a small unit. It has a good warm sound with good bass and bass and treble equalizer control (with some presets and personal option).
The combination of two forward-facing high-frequency speakers at the front and a single rear-facing low-frequency speaker at the rear works well, particularly if the radio is situated a few inches away from a wall. The output is 12 watts RMS and this is sufficient to produce a good solid sound.
The unit has an output power of Tweeters 2 x 3.8W, Subwoofer 4.4W & can play audio formats – MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC and Real Audio (Real audio for internet radio only).
If this is your first exposure to internet radio you will not be disappointed in the slightest. Overall the radio is a great piece of kit jam packed with features. The radio setup was so easy because of the very well written, easily understandable instructions & the sound quality is second to none.
We liked the radio so much we give it 5/5 stars.
What others are saying:
The Roberts Stream 83i has received rave reviews from most consumers on the net with an average of 4.6 out of 5 from most reviewers on Amazon.
Here are some of the comments to date:
• Without reservation – this is a five star product!
• Overall a great product and highly recommended!
• Exceeded my expectations!
• Unfortunately, I cannot give it more than five stars; it deserves more in my opinion.
• All in all we are very happy with the purchase. So much so that we’re getting another one!
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