A transistor radio for instant, ergonomic pleasure

The Geneva Touring S is packed with old-fashioned cool

Geneva Touring S, £170
Geneva Touring S, £170 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

It’s a rare thing for me to feature a simple, non-internet-connected portable radio here – yes, a 1965-style transistor. I can’t remember when I last did. 

Radios are a throwback. This September, on the 50th anniversary of Radio 1, the BBC took a transistor radio to Uttoxeter and asked young people what it was. Few knew; a couple said they’d heard of such things but never seen one.

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And yet I am completely in love with this new, ahem, wireless set, Geneva Lab’s FM/DAB Touring S. It doesn’t do a great deal other than play radio stations when you turn its old-fashioned on-off-volume knob. To tune, you use car-radio-style arrows – a second knob would be so much better. And the sound is OK, but nothing special.

So why do I like the Touring S? I can tell you it’s absolutely not retro appeal. What it is, is ergonomics. Take a bath, sit on the lawn in your deckchair, put it on your boat deck while doing whatever people do on boat decks, turn on the radio, and listen. News, cricket, drama, just enjoy. You could do it blindfolded. No searching for WiFi or 4G, and being able to listen to 10,000 stations. 

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I should add that Geneva’s Swiss-ness is also fully evident in the Touring S’s build quality and design. It’s a joy to handle and looks oddly cool for something your kids may not even recognise as a thing.

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