At first glance, the Philips AE8000 looks like a sleek clock radio. The £120 radio’s black and white design and blue display contrast nicely. But when you realise the black wood effect is actually plastic, it’s quite disappointing. Especially when the Pure Evoke D2 shows you can build good-quality real-wood radios for less than £100.
The LCD display is easy to read, with enough space to see the name of the artist and track playing below the station name when you’re in DAB or internet radio mode – the AE8000’S top feature. You get two antennae at the back of the radio: one for radio, one for connecting to the internet. Network connection is swift and strong, and the DAB/FM reception is decent, but does depend on finding the best signal strength in your home. There’s also an auxiliary input and a 3.5mm headphones port. You can save 20 presets (10 each for FM and DAB).
Punchy sense of rhythm
In terms of price, the AE8000 slots in between two Award-winning radios: the Pure Evoke D2 (DAB and FM only) and the Roberts Stream 93i – which offers everything the Philips does, but with added wireless streaming to play songs from your NAS, laptop, smartphone – for just £20 more.
All the AE8000 has to do is equal or better the Pure to justify being recommendable. And it does just that. The Pure D2 is undoubtedly subtler and more engaging, but that lovely rich low-end can sound too boomy at times. The Philips doesn’t have that problem, although its main focus is shifted towards the mid-to-top frequency range. It’s bass-light and treble-heavy.
Green Day’s Minority is snappy and biting over internet radio. That lean edge means you get a clean sound and a punchy sense of rhythm, and there’s enough detail to keep you listening.
The sound is stronger and fuller as you turn the volume up, but that can make the top end just a tad too insistent. We do want more detail and warmth from the Philips, especially at this money. But despite the finish, there’s plenty to like about its compact design and features set.
Get past the plastic build, and the Philips AE8000 is a decent radio that’s easy to use and sounds enjoyable. It’s worth splashing out the extra cash for the internet radio feature.