Digital radio design is a curious area – the biggest brands appear to have deemed the radio-buying consumer as too conservative to cope with change so have habitually wrapped DAB and internet radio tech in traditional wireless garb: wood veneer, '60s-style plastic, even Formica.
That's fine if you're a fan of kitsch, retro design but some of us want our cutting-edge audio tech to flaunt its newness in a thoroughly modern box, thank you very much. And the Philips AE8000 does just that.
The clean, almost minimalist fascia oozes class with a hint of Dieter Rams about the bold circles and flush buttons, apart from those two handsome, protruding brushed-aluminium knobs, which are a delight to twiddle with a strong, purposeful action.
The AE8000's innards are encased in a dark wooden chassis that softens the aesthetic and means it will be at home in most rooms from a sparse open-plan design office to a homely small studio.
Feature-wise, the AE8000 comes packing DAB+, internet and FM radio in its petite form, which means that you can tune into over 30,000 online stations – and that large, clear display will allow easy access to the 20 presets that the AE8000 can store.
Its large front speaker delivers plenty power considering the unit's compact dimensions, but the audio focus is at both ends of the frequency range leaving not much left for the mid-ranges. It is enough ability for a digital radio in this price range, but audiophiles may be left wanting a little more purity.
They can, of course, plug their headphones into the standard 3.5mm socket to experience better sound, but they'd better be fairly close to a wall socket because the AE8000 requires mains power. However the bundled remote means accessing your sounds from another part of the studio is a doddle.