The Gemini 21 comes in two colour options, black or silver. The front of the radio is dominated by the grill covering the two speakers that deliver the crisp sound you’d expect from a Roberts radio. All the controls fall onto the top of the unit, the centre of which features a two-line LCD display, with large clear text. The black version has blue backlighting, the silver version amber.
The controls are somewhat duplicated with a tuning dial and up and down buttons, effectively doing the same thing. The radio blurb boasts that there are also dials for volume, treble and bass. There are 10 presets available, as well as the normal control buttons for auto-tune, FM, switching the info displayed on the screen and a button to select the channel you want. There buttons are also backlit and on the black version we test the blue light was dazzling and far too bright.
The radio boasts 150 hours of battery life, which is derived from the six D cells you stuff in the rear. It also features a headphone socket and a line out on the back.
In use, it is all very simple as you’d expect. The radio scans for DAB stations and they are simple to select and then listen to. One of the info options is “signal error” which we found useful as we got the impression that the reception on this radio was not as good as on the Gemini 46 DAB radio also reviewed on Pocket-lint. For example, on the Gemini 46 we rarely had to extend the aerial, but on the Gemini 21, we needed it almost all the time.
When picking a DAB radio you need to look at the features it supplies versus the price point. With this radio sporting an RRP at a penny short of £80, you have to consider whether the additional presets and the potential for 150 hours of battery life is worth the extra cost. We could not fault the sound and the simplicity of use, but the dazzling blue backlighting and the seemingly poor reception quality are, however, a concern.