on November 1, 2009
I am a long time owner of Squeezebox products and was pretty excited to find out about the little table top Squeezebox Radio model. I picked one up and thought I would share my thoughts.
The first thing you notice is how much heft this little player has. It is really well built and the fit and finish is superb. It has plenty of weight and solid rubber feet so that it won't skid around on your night stand or table top. The screen looks great and all of the buttons have a nice solid tactile feel. Compared to many other cheap wireless network streaming radios, this device feels an entire order of magnitude better in its construction quality. The only disappointment here is the lack of back lit buttons, for using the radio in low lighting. It's also worth noting that the entire radio has a high gloss finish that will be a magnet for fingerprints. Looks great though!
The biggest challenge for most consumers with this device will be the initial set up. You need to create an account at [...] in order to set up your new Squeezebox Radio. The device uses this connection to play free internet music services as well as download software updates, etc, to the Radio. I already had a Squeezebox account so this was not a huge challenge for me, but it might be for some people who might be confused that they need to set up an account before they can use the device. There is an option to set up the account from the device itself. Don't do this (it is slow and tedious)! Go to the website and set it up in a few seconds and then just type your login and password on the device.
Other than the laborious task of entering my full email and password for [...] the rest of the setup is very easy. The Squeezebox Radio supports push to connect wi-fi set up which is common on many newer model wireless routers. It's similar to programming a garage door opener. Simply point the Squeezebox Radio at your wireless network and for 120 seconds it will try to connect with the push to connect functionality. Then just push the connect button on your router and it's automagically all set up.
Once set up the Radio will update its firmware and reboot, a process that takes a few extra minutes. After that you are good to go.
In addition to the many built in free online services, you can also play your own music through the Squeezebox Server application. I run the Squeezebox Server application on my HP EX495 Windows Home Server but you can also run Squeezebox Server on any Mac, Windows PC or even Linux box (there are even installable distributions for many Network Attached Storage units). This allows the Squeezebox Radio (and any other Squeeze players) to access all of the music on my home network. It's absolutely wonderful to be able to take the little table top radio anywhere in the home and listen to your entire music collection.
Sound quality is very good, easily enough to fill a small to medium sized room. It gets quite loud with little to no distortion and the controls are easy to use to change tracks, change volume, etc. Wireless strength is superb. I get a full signal anywhere within about 40 feet of my router, and the radio works anywhere on my suburban property with no audio hiccups or dropouts.
In addition to the intuitive controls such as "home", "play", "stop", "back", etc, the unit also features six programmable "preset" buttons similar to what you have on a car radio. Setting these up is a bit more of a challenge than you would expect. You are supposed to be able to hold these down on any song, album, playlist, etc, that is being displayed in the radio menu and have it added as a preset. Unfortunately some items don't add correctly and must first be programmed as a "favorite". It turns out that you can only add favorites for some items (such as playlists) from the Squeezebox Server web based menu, which is quite inconvenient. I don't doubt that Slim Devices (the arm of Logitech that makes these devices) will fix this soon enough.
Other minor glitches include some weird alarm behavior (it will show the time of the alarm when it is going off but strangely won't show the current time, which is annoying if you have hit the snooze button a few times and need to know what time it is), some auto dimming issues (the auto dimming works great but gets almost TOO dim in a dark room to see the radio) and a few other very minor nits.
Slim Devices have a long history of enhancement and improvement of device firmware, so I would expect a lot of these issues to be worked out in the coming months. Additionally there will soon be a battery pack and small infrared remote for the Squeezebox Radio available as a $[...] add on purchase. Personally I think at $[...] the Radio should include these items, but considering the great sound of the radio, the high quality screen and the superb fit and finish it is justified that this device costs as much as it does.
Also worth noting is that if you have an iPod Touch or iPhone you can get the iPeng application $[...] from the Apple App Store which makes controlling and programming your Squeezebox Radio an absolute breeze. iPeng is really a must have if you have these devices and want a wonderful pocket control that works from anywhere in your home. Beats the pants off of what Sonus has to offer!
//Update 1 (Nov 2nd 2009)
Yesterday my SB Radio lost all of the preset buttons which is most annoying. It also turns out that many of the requests for fixes around the alarms functionality have not been addressed and don't appear to be scheduled to be addressed in the next release or two of the software. If your primary use will be a night stand alarm clock I would recommend holding off for now until Logitech addresses alarm functionality issues. If the issues are not resolved I will reconsider my four star rating as it should then be a three star product.
//Update 2 (May 13 2010)
Logitech has not only not fixed many of the initial annoyances with the SB Radio, but newer firmware has in fact made the product less stable and reliable. It still does an admirable job of playing your local music library if you run the SB Server on a PC or Mac in your home, but the network streaming functionality seems to be having issues and I've found the alarm to be terribly unreliable. I would now under the current circumstances rate this only 3 out of 5 stars. It's really a shame too, as the "Slim Devices" that originally brought us these problems was very open and communicative about issues and what was being done to fix them. Logitech has little interest in relaying useful information to its beta testers, err, customers and instead gives us the run around with if and when issues will ever be remedied.
on November 14, 2009
I've had the Squeezebox Radio for just over a week but that's long enough to decide what I like and what still needs some work. First, set-up was a snap. The radio found my wireless network instantly and I was able to enter the password and connect quickly. The radio them updated its own software so I was working with the newest release.
What do I like? The radio seems solid. It's heavy enough that you can press the buttons with the radio on a nightstand and not have it slide. The front is angled back which helps even more. I'd call the sound quality - though not stereo - excellent. There's no comparison between how this radio sounds and the Sony clock radio I replaced it with. It has a very clear, crisp sound.
What don't I like? I had the radio only three days when it lost all it's presets. I re-entered them and all has been well since. This is a well known bug. I am using [...] and NOT using my PC so the problem is likely there. Presets should be stored locally, not on a server. I saved all my presets as favorites so they MIGHT be there the next time this happens (then again, maybe the favorites list will be erased, too). I'd like to see an easier way to set the sleep timer. You have to use the menu and it should be a simple button press. Why not use the power button and cycle through sleep settings? i.e. ON ... 45 ... 30 ... 15 ... OFF? There also needs to be a simple way to snooze. Maybe the big button in the middle?
The auto-dimming setting gets awfully dark at night! I should be able to set a minimum brightness level that suits me.
And I'd love to see the apps include weather radar. Yes, this is a radio but it's got a great color display and being able to watch live weather radar on the screen would be super. A general weather app that makes use of this display would be a plus! Come on Logitech, get with it! This radio has more possibilities than, well, radio!
Later: I've had the radio for a month now and am no longer quite so excited. I reduced my initial 4 stars to just 2 stars. This radio is buggy! My initial loss of the presets has now been followed by a loss of the volume control. There was absolutely no way to get it back besides a "factory reset" which removes every setting I so carefully made. You should be able to simply sit down and enjoy a radio, not beta test a product.
I am returning it within Amazon's 30 day window. I've had enough.
on October 14, 2009
When the Boom came out, I wanted to purchase it right away, but the $300 price tag and the inability to truely make it wireless detered me. Now that the Radio is out with a lower price tag, battery capability and a color LCD, I was totally sold. I've had the Radio for about a week now, and I simply love it. Even the wife was jamming to it when I got home from work the day after I bought it.
So far I have only had one issue with it...I can not find a setting to set the Album Art size to full screen on the Now Playing screen. It says in the manual that it is under the Screensaver settings, but when I go there it doesn't exist. I sent an email to Logitech support, but have not heard back from them yet. [Updated] Logitech just released a new software version that will correct this issue.
Another cool feature that I didn't realize existed, was the ability to control the Radio from the web.
As far as sound quality goes, it is far better than expected. There is virtually no distortion even at maximum volume. I even plugged a set of Computer Speakers into the Headphone Jack and it didn't make that much of a difference. The Base levels aren't that deep, but they are there. I can put it in my livingroom and pump it up near max volume and hear it clearly throughout the house.
I haven't tested the Wireless strength extensively yet, but I was able to hook it up in the garage (1 Floor below and 50 feet from the router) and the signal strength was near full.
Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase and can't wait to get the battery pack so I can just carry this thing around anywhere.
on July 30, 2010
This COULD be such a great product, but the radio firmware is HORRIBLY BUGGY! As other reviewers have observed, the radio will power off for no reason, will lose connection to the internet forcing you to constantly unplug the unit, hold down buttons upon restart, and then enter your WIFI codes again and again (not a good thing if you have a lengthy password). I have spent countless hours on the phone with Logitech support. While they are kind on the phone, they don't have an answer, and will walk you through the same instructions time and again with the same results; the next day or two, and your radio doesn't work again. I have been promised call backs from them within 24 hours with "someone who knows how to fix the problem", and no one ever calls. The last person I talked with told me I have to send the product back to them, despite the fact that they know it is a firmware problem which they have no idea if/when it will ever be fixed, and maybe a new unit will work better. What?? I was told they want to further study my radio to find out what is wrong with it, as everyone seems to be complaining of the same problems. How can a unit with the same problems be "fixed" of a known firmware problem that stymies the entire product line's function?? I love the look, sound, and feel of this radio, but it doesn't work the way it's advertised. I'm very disappointed.
on July 13, 2010
This radio has lots of good things going for it - when it works. Unfortunately it does so at best half the time - at other times it loses the connection to [...] (which you need for almost all functions except streaming music off your PC), powers down randomly, stops playing for no obvious reason, the screen freezes and shows details of a previous show, etc. (We have one desktop PC and two laptops hanging off the same wireless network at home, so are sure that the network itself is fine.) The support forums at logitech and slimdevices have been awash with complaints about this - apparently caused by firmware updates in combination with changes at [...] - but the problem remains unsolved. What is especially maddening is that the radio worked just fine from Jan to Mar 2010, so it's also clear that this is not a hardware problem! It is possible to roll back to an older firmware version (by installing the appropriate older version of the squeezebox server on a PC, and asking the radio to connect to it using "My Music"), but even the pre-April firmware version (4.2) now has the same problems as the more recent ones.
on March 22, 2010
I bought the Squeezebox on a bit of a whim because I was thoroughly tired of the local radio stations. I also lived abroad for a long time, so the temptation to listen to my old "home" stations was big. I was contemplating a HD radio, but that really would have just brought the local junk stations in clearer...
All in all I am extremely happy with the Squeezebox. I read some reviews here before I bought it, so I already opened a account with Logitech. Start-up was easy, plug it in, find your wireless network, enter the password. It did do a firmware update and then I was ready to play.
The choices of stations are really overwhelming. I didn't know what to listen to at first. And this was only the "Internet Radio" option.
I then added Pandora which was very simple. Highly recommended. Even more music choices and no commercials.
I know there are even more things you can do with it, but right now I'm happy with the thousands of stations already available to me.
I hooked the Squeezebox into my big stereo via a 3.5mm-RCA cable from the headphone jack in the Squeezebox to the AUX input in my stereo. The sound from the Squeezebox alone is very nice, through the stereo it's amazing.
I never tried the Alarm Clock functions of the Squeezebox, so I can't comment on those.
The Squeezebox looks very nice. No complaints there. I also like the fact that the display dims and gets really dark when the room is dark, which I really like. Most alarm clocks still light up the room at night, the Squeezebox does not.
Reception around the house is great. In my living room which is about 40 feet and two walls from the router, it reports full signal strength, better than my laptops. Never had any reception problems. Of course, it does take a little hit on the available internet bandwidth, but not enough to really notice or be bothersome.
My biggest issue is that the Squeezebox only has 6 actual station memory buttons. With the ability to have so many choices, they should have really tried to add some more buttons for simplicity. It's not a deal killer though. Also the whole search process (entering the letters via the wheel controller) can be tedious. But again, I enjoy the new radio experience enough to overlook all that.
If there was a Squeezebox II, I would like to see maybe a small pull out keyboard or a remote with a little keyboard. That would be fantastic.
But as for now, if you are contemplating getting a internet radio, you should really give this one a shot. I am having way more fun with it than I thought I would.
on August 21, 2010
My wife purchased the Squeezebox radio after wanting a new alarm clock and radio. We do have a squeezebox boom that has been working well for four months.
The set up went well and immediately we began to experience the well documented problems with this radio. The snooze was stuck on one minute, the presets work but do not change on the display, it turns off unexpectedly, and sometimes the alarm would not work at all.
When I called customer service to address the issues, the first agent was very friendly and walked me through changing settings on "mysqueezebox.com." After making the changes and finding out they didn't work I called back customer service to find a most apathetic agent who said "if you want to continue to use it as a alarm you should take it back to the store you got it from." I asked him if he could send us a new one and his reply was " well some of them work and some of them don't."
I guess that is all I needed to hear and we sent the radio back to Amaon.
I really don't know how a product can have so many positive reviews and not function as advertised. Before you buy, go to the mysqueezebox.com website and click on the forum section at the bottom about the radio. I wish I would have.
on February 24, 2012
With over 700 reviews on this product, I debated whether to add another review, since I think most of what you need to make a decision is out there. However, having used the Squeezebox Radio for over two years now, here's my two cents about my experience and some of the things I would think about if considering a squeezebox now.
1. Intended Use/Home Configuration--I think this is a key in determining a user's experience with the SB radio and is one of the reasons for the wide disparity of opinions about this device. I have used my SB almost everyday the past two years. It is setup in my bedroom and I listen to internet radio most mornings getting ready for the day. I also have it hooked up via the Audioengine W1 wireless audio adapter to a set of Audioengine powered speakers in my living room. I use this configuration to listen to the music on my iMac using the Logitech Media Server as well as internet radio and services like Pandora. While the sound from the SB itself is pretty good considering that it is just one little speaker, the sound through the speakers is fantastic if coming from a good source (lossless files, etc.) These are my primary two uses, and they serve me fairly well. Much has been said about the lack of consistency of the alarm functionality. While that was definitely true up until the last 4 months or so, on the rare occasion that I now use the SB alarm as a backup, it works as programmed--going off at the time, volume and with the content specified. However, if you are looking at using this primarily as a clock radio, I would probably consider a different device.
2. Connectivity Issues/Ease of Use--Lots has been said about this and it can be frustrating. I have seen great improvement in this over the last 2 years, but don't expect the SB to work flawlessly. There are a lot of moving parts in making this work (adequate bandwidth, your router config, connecting to mysqueezebox.com, etc) and the problem isn't always the SB itself. Early on, connection issues were almost always related to the mysqueezebox site being down. That generally doesn't happen anymore. I haven't had an issue with the mysqueezebox content (internet radio, pandora, etc) being down for about 6 months. My most common problem these days (about once a month) is losing connectivity to the music on my iMac. This is a pain, but it usually resolved by rebooting both the iMac and the SB. Fixing this problem sometimes involves reloading either the firmware on the SB or the Logitech Media Server software. If you don't have the ability or patience to troubleshoot this sort of thing about once a month, the SB probably isn't for you.
3.Portability/Remotes--Purchasing a battery is essential to getting the most out of the SB. I often move the SB around the house to use in the kitchen, garage, back patio, etc. with no issues in wireless connectivity at distances over 100 ft through brick walls. However, the remote control packaged with the battery is useless unless you only want to use it for volume or are close enough to the SB to read the screen. Looks like you can buy the battery separately now (I couldn't at the time). I would do that and use a remote app on your android or iphone. The Logitech made free app is basic, but works. I use the Squeeze Commander paid app that is available on android. Looks like it is a bit more expensive than the 2 bucks I paid for it, but it has expanded features/functionality compared to the free app.
4. Clear Channel/ Iheartradio--There are documented issues with many iheartradio stations not being available on the SB. I would research this in depth before buying if your primary use will be listening to iheartradiostations.
5. Build Quality--This is a solid piece of equipment that doesn't look any different today than it did when I bought it. No buttons have fallen off or worn in anyway. Both dials work well with no signs of wear. And although I thought that the unit would be a fingerprint magnet, it really hasn't been. Any concerns about how well the unit would hold up have been unfounded from my perspective.
Those are my thoughts. The device has worked very well, but not perfectly, for my purposes for over 2 years. In fact, it has spoiled me quite a bit and I get very cranky on those few occasions where it doesn't start right up. I do think how you intend to use the device is crucial. To me the valid shopping comparison is with Sonos, not devices such as the Kindle Fire using Tunein radio. For my smaller home with just a few rooms where I listen, the Squeezebox suits my purpose. If I had a larger home with stereo systems or powered speakers in many rooms, I would probably consider the Sonos system.
on October 29, 2009
I am studying German and have been told that it helps if you listen to German radio so I ordered the Squeezebox Radio on the recommendation of my friend Scott. I find the Squeezebox Radio to be perfect for the night stand, where I will be listening to the radio before I got to bed.
I set the presets with Berlin radio stations and linked via Wi-Fi and it sounds great in both spoken word and also music.
PRO: The set up was so easy and it even made the WPA/WEP key entry for my Verizon FIOS Internet.
I was also able to easily find all the stations I listened to in Berlin when I lived there and I was also able to find local stations and I could easily "install" BBC and CBC and even a Facebook and a Flickr applet. I am very pleased. I got a red one.
The date and time is awesome because it is updated via Internet so I didn't even need to set the date or time -- so I also have myself an atomic clock, I guess.
There are multiple alarms and also a line in so I can run my iPod and my iPod shuffle through the device, too, which is great for my German homework (a CD I burnt to MP3).
CON: A little expensive but you get a lot more than just a radio. It doesn't come with a rechargeable battery pack or the remote -- an additional $50.
BOTTOM-LINE: Small and deceptively powerful -- it is basically a little Linux box in a small boom box/Internet clock radio -- and it is the most modern of the Squeezebox line so you can do very cool stuff with the device. Easy to set up and to start using.
It can work as simply as a clock radio with presets or you can get all geeky and install apps and podcasts and you can connect to SIRIUS and all those other paid streaming services. I love it. It is my new favorite thing.
on February 20, 2011
I was really looking forward to enjoying this radio. I had read about the software issues but I thought could deal with them. However the setup process was bad enough that I decided to return the radio in less than two days. The software issues:
- trouble connecting over WiFi. After changing the settings on my router, the radio established a WiFi connection but failed to obtain an IP address over DHCP. It connected fine over Ethernet and obtained a DHCP address. I could not find anything useful that would fix the problem on the Logitech support forums.
- random software updates. On the first boot the interface suggested updating to version 7.5.3. Since there is no way to avoid it, went ahead and updated it. Then I connected the radio to a Squeezebox server on my NAS. The radio requested that I update to version 7.5.1. So I do the update. Next time I connect to mysqueezebox.com to listen to Internet radio, it suggested updating again to 7.5.3. Which means I have to keep the version on my NAS the same as the one on mysqueezebox.com all the time.
- using the dial to enter information, navigate artist lists is a bit tedious. The remote should really be included as part of the standard package.