What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

If ‘small’ and ‘portable’ top your ra­dio wish­list, the Sony V-1BTD ticks both boxes. At just 17cm tall, there aren’t many places this ra­dio won’t squeeze into (and stay, as its recharge­able bat­tery lasts up to 25 hours. As well as DAB and FM, the V-1BTD packs Bluetooth and NFC, with an aux in for con­nect­ing lap­tops, smart­phones or tablets, and a head­phone out.

Well con­trolled bass

Con­trols are found on the top of the unit (there’s no re­mote), and con­sid­er­ing the rest of the ra­dio looks stylish, the pla­s­ticky fin­ish here is a let-down. They’re clear and easy to use, but the lack of pause and rewind con­trols for DAB is a shame. The dis­play on the front is large enough to be read­able – there’s also a handy dim­ming button for us­ing it at night.

Play­back of both DAB and FM sta­tions is clear and sta­ble, with five pre­sets avail­able for both. There’s an ex­tend­able ae­rial tucked away on the back should you need to im­prove your sig­nal, but given this ra­dio’s porta­bil­ity, you can easily place it wher­ever you can get the best cov­er­age.

Sony has paid care­ful at­ten­tion to the sound. The midrange is slightly for­ward com­pared to ev­ery­thing else, which helps it to sound clear and fo­cused. Elsewhere, the tre­ble rarely shows any hint of bright­ness, even at vol­ume, and while there’s not a lot of bass, it’s tight and well con­trolled.

It’s not the loud­est ra­dio though, and will strug­gle to fill big­ger rooms, but that slightly more for­ward midrange helps it to put the more im­por­tant stuff front and cen­tre. The small sound at play here doesn’t just af­fect scale – it means it strug­gles with dy­nam­ics too. Punchy drum kicks and hand­claps don’t have any real sense of im­pact, which leads to a slightly flat and un­ex­cit­ing sound that lacks some drive.

Or­gan­i­sa­tion is de­cent though, and the Sony is able hold a tune to­gether with­out get­ting flus­tered when things get tricky. This does loosen up with Bluetooth, which brings some added bright­ness and coarse­ness too. If you’re go­ing to con­nect a device for play­back, a wired one will give the best per­for­mance.

Ul­ti­mately the Sony V-1BTD feels a touch ex­pen­sive for what it de­liv­ers. We love its size, porta­bil­ity and well-con­sid­ered bal­ance, but the small sound and poor dy­nam­ics are tricky to take at £150. Small and per­fectly formed it may be, but it falls short in its per­for­mance.

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