What is the Groov-e Rio?

The Groov-e Rio is a DAB radio that will fit in your pocket. Plug in your headphones and you’re away.

It may look like a tiny desktop radio, but there’s no speaker in this little box. Get rid of the poor bundled headphones and you have a neat little radio on your hands.

However, some alternatives offer better battery life, and the preset system on the Groov-e Radio is bizarrely fiddly.

Design and features

The Groov-e Rio is a radio that almost fits in the palm of your hand. I imagined it might be the world’s tiniest speaker-equipped DAB box, after seeing photos online.

This is something more conventional, however. The Groov-e Rio is a pocket DAB radio that uses your headphone cable as an antenna. It’s a lower-cost alternative to the Pure Move R3.

The Groov-e Rio looks cute, but like most low-cost portable DAB radios it’s thicker than you might expect. Fitting it in a pocket with a phone and wallet will be a squeeze.

However, the Groov-e Rio remains a flexible little device. There’s a mini-handle on the radio, and a carabiner included in the box that lets you hook the Rio onto a rucksack, your belt or, well, whatever you like.

This is, in fact, one of its key appeals over the competition from Alba, Logik and Bush.

The Groov-e Rio also has a torch, with a dedicated button. A bright white LED by the headphone jack remins on while it’s depressed. The radio doesn’t even have to be switched on for this to work, making it handy if you need to look for your keys.

The Groov-e Rio feels like a DAB radio for ramblers and walkers, although you’re under no obligation to use the carabiner.

You control the Groov-e Rio via two rockers and two buttons. The rockers change station and volume; the buttons power and preset management. And it’s here that things get tricky.

To set and cycle between presets, you use a combination of presses of the rockers and Enter button. It’s about as unfriendly a preset mechanism I’ve ever seen in a DAB radio. And after learning how to do it, I switched back to simply using the standard tuning rocker to change stations, flicking between my personal favourites BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 4.

The Groov-e Rio’s screen, on the other hand, is great. It’s a transflective LCD, meaning ambient light makes it clearer rather than harder to make out. And since it’s also backlit, it’s as clear at night too. Blocky and monochrome it may be, but this is the perfect type of display for a pocket radio.