Vintage is back. Well, er, actually it never really went away. But looking around the various Christmas in July events, it seems that many retailers – including Amazon and John Lewis – are set to give a big push to their retro-looking gadgets in the run up to the festive season.
And while some of the products have, in truth, been around a little while, others are brand new to the market. Importantly, they all have one thing in common: they all look like they could have been made 30 years ago, but have bang up to date features for those who want the vintage style without old fashioned features. Included in our line up are some iPhone docks with a twist, retro-looking turntables and even a horn speaker that looks like it should belong to an old fashioned gramophone.
In true chart style, we begin our countdown at number 10. You can check out Part Two (our Top 5 vintage gadgets) here.
10. ViewQuest Retro Radio DAB portable radio with iPhone / iPod cradle £100
Available in several different colours (including black, cream, red and pink), this retro radio looks like a transistor radio you would have carried around the house in the 1960s. But when it comes to features there’s nothing old fashioned about it at all. Included, of course, is the obligatory docking station for an iPod/iPhone design as well as a DAB/FM radio. Also provided is an AUX input for other audio sources, 10 presets for DAB/FM and an auto scan function to make searching for your favourite radio shows even easier. It also has a back lit LCD screen, 2 x 10 Watt speakers and a battery life of 15 hours if you fancy listening outside.
This may look like an an old ‘flippy’ analogue clock radio from the 1970s but it’s anything but. It’s actually a speaker. Using near field audio technology, the speaker instantly amplifies your sounds. Simply place your phone onto the nostalgic speaker and enjoy your music with a boost. You can even charge your phone from the speaker overnight then have an amplified alarm in the morning.
8. Tivoli Audio Model 1 BT £199
You don’t get much more retro-looking than Tivoli Audio’s Model 1. At first glance it looks like it should be used in some sort of scientific experiment – a bit like a geiger counter with its rotary dials. But in actual fact it’s a basic FM/AM radio (not even any DAB here). On board though is Bluetooth so you can listen to music via a Bluetooth enabled device, such as an iPhone, without having to dig out any cables. Alternatively if you want to listen to old fashioned wired devices there is an auxiliary input with Record and Headphone outputs. Phew.
It may look like a vintage microphone straight out the 1950s but this retro-styled model is anything but. Available in silver or black, it’s a USB microphone capable of recording in stereo or your choice of three unique patterns (including cardioid, omnidirectional, and bi-directional) straight onto your computer. There’s a built-in headphone amplifier for zero-latency monitoring, and simple controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and microphone gain.
Blue Microphones Yeti.
If you’ve ever seen those large radios from the 1920s and 1930s when you could only listen to the BBC Empire Service (precursor to the World Service) from a wireless on your sideboard, then the Ruark Audio R4 may look a little familiar. But despite its walnut veneer and retro feel, its design is bang up to date – as is its features list. Comprising a multi-format CD player, iPod dock, USB playback port and DAB/FM tuner, it is many ways a traditional music centre but with a modern twist. As well as this walnut veneer, it’s also available in two high gloss lacquers: dream white and midnight black. Very classy, if a little on the pricey side.
What’s in our Top 5 of vintage gadgets? Click here to find out.