Logitech Squeezebox Radio review
It’s taken a while for Logitech to produce a proper internet radio, but we finally have a Squeezebox product to rival the likes of Pure’s Evoke Flow and the excellent Monitor Audio Airstream – the Squeezebox Radio.
It’s odd that it’s taken so long to get to this point, because the Squeezebox range of media streamers has long boasted a strong radio element, and the introduction over time of music services has strengthened its offering in recent times.
But we’re glad Logitech has because the Squeezebox Radio is an excellent piece of kit. Physically, the design is sensible, with a compact tabletop footprint and supremely solid build quality. The speaker is flanked by a clearly laid-out control panel, which boasts one large clickable control wheel and a smaller one for volume. Underneath is a panel covering a space for a rechargeable battery – an optional upgrade.
The screen, impressively, is a colour TFT panel, which enables the Radio to not only present its menus more attractively than most rivals, but also to display album art, and even photos from your Flickr account.
And those menus give access to an impressive array of features. As expected, audio streaming is exemplary, with as many file types supported as you could possibly need, with support for everything from MP3, WMA and AAC to FLAC, Apple Lossless and more besides. The streaming doesn’t support UPnP servers; you need to have a computer running Squeezebox Server connected to the network for it to work.
But the radio features are what interests us, and these are simply superb. Stations can be searched for by keyword, browsed for by genre or, more excitingly, location. Buffering is both rapid and reliable, and other services, such as podcasts, are available via a range of “apps”, which can be downloaded and installed from the Radio’s App Gallery tool.
The BBC has its app, a tool that makes it simpler to tune into the big national stations. As mentioned above there’s support for Last.fm – an app that also adds the facility to tag tracks played on other internet radio stations. There’s an Amazon app, which allows you to tag radio tracks and add related CDs to your Amazon basket. And you get various social networking tools, too; the Facebook app, for example, allows you to view your photos or post a favourite song to the site.
Sound quality, meanwhile, is outstanding. Although it can’t quite match the quality of the Pure Evoke Flow, it’s certainly good enough to expose the rotten quality of many streams. The bass is more solid than you’d expect from such a small device and listening to both music and talk radio is a pleasure.
Most importantly, for a device that could be used as a bedside radio, the multiple alarms can be set to wake you up by internet radio or any other connected service, with a backup tone kicking in if an internet signal isn’t available. You could even wake up to the PC Pro podcast.
The major omission from the Squeezebox Radio is any form of broadcast reception: there’s no DAB or FM capability, and that’s surprising. But, once you’ve played with all the internet radio and connected applications here you’ll not want to go back to bland old DAB and FM. It’s a little expensive, but if you want the best internet radio this is clearly it.