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Roberts Colourstream review

Tom Morgan
25 Apr 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
186
inc VAT

Better audio than most, but the Colourstream still lacks a little polish

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Its glossy black and rectangular chassis might not make it the most visually exciting speaker dock around, but the Roberts Colourstream has plenty of features that could win it a place in your living room and chief among them is a 3in colour touchscreen that makes it incredibly easy to use.

Roberts Colourstream

iPhone owners should feel right at home with its icon-based touchscreen interface, even if it does use a resistive display rather than a capacitive one. It looks a little dwarfed by the large speaker grilles and grey plastic bezel that surrounds it, but it’s still clear enough to read from several feet away. Despite using a similar design to other audio streamers we’ve seen, the Colourstream felt much more responsive to our inputs. Even typing wireless network passwords proved unproblematic.

If you connect a memory stick or external hard disk to the single USB port that’s hidden below the screen, you can play MP3, WMA, AAC and FLAC files stored on it directly through the ColourStream.

Unfortunately, there’s no AirPlay support, which means you’ll need to dock your iPod or iPhone to it to play your music without the help of a third-party App. There is, however, UPnP support, so you can access the files on a PC or NAS device using the integrated Wi-Fi or Ethernet port. It was quick to find and connect to our media server, but the sheer amount of files made it pause for thought once or twice.

Roberts Colourstream

Like other Roberts Audio products, the Colourstream includes Last.FM integration. This lets you log in to your account and access your favourite stations, artists and songs right away. You need to be a fee-paying subscriber to use the service, but new users can get a taste of what’s on offer using the free 30-day trial included with each Roberts Last.FM compatible product.

Its two 15W speakers elevate the Colourstream above many other sub-£200 iPod docks that we’ve seen, but only just. Considering the size of the system, we were expecting better acoustic performance, but in reality it was difficult to notice much difference. Although its volume was reasonable, it lacked bass and a rather crisp high end, but its sturdy build quality helped reduce sound distortion in comparison to some of the competition.

Roberts Colourstream

Considering that it costs the same as many other mid-range streaming iPod docks, the Colourstream’s in a difficult position. The Magicbox Beam has a very similar interface, and even though it doesn’t sound quite as good it takes up much less space on a coffee table or bedside cabinet. If you’re a die-hard last.FM user, the Colourstream’s extra functionality could swing it.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
Media Streamer typeaudio streaming device

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackYes
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackNo
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackNo
Other audio formatsFLAC

Video Compatibility

Other video formatsN/A

Image Compatibility

Image BMP supportNo
Image JPEG supportNo
Image TIFF supportNo

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking supportYes

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs0
Minijack headphone outputs1
Stereo phono outputs0
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs0
Optical S/PDIF outputs0
Total SCART sockets0
HDMI outputs0
Component outputs0
S-video output0
Composite outputs0
Other connectorsUSB, FM antenna socket, iPod dock

Physical

Size130x340x260mm
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption on12W

Server Compatibility

Software includednone
UPnPYes
iTunesNo
SlimServerNo
SMBNo

Buying Information

Price£186
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.robertsradio.co.uk

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