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.