I'm the type of person who normally prefers the sound of analog vinyl and tape over digital, and up to now has never too impressed with the sound of internet radio.
I must admit that I was blown away at the sound quality of internet radio streaming through the Touch. Listening to a live broadcast by the Montreal Symphony on Radio Canada streaming at 150K almost sounds as though the musicians are in my living room.
In addition to streaming internet radio, the Touch can also play music wirelessly off your computer, or from an SD card or USB drive that plugs directly into the Touch.
For the hardcore audiophile, the Touch also plays music encoded in the FLAC format, up to 24 bit/96 KHZ, which is supposedly way beyond what we humans can hear. I popped in my SD card of the Pizza Tape with David Grisman and Jerry Garcia--the sound quality was spectacular. In my opinion, it sounded as good as audiophile vinyl or Super Audio CD.
The Touch's touch-screen user interface is user-friendly, and colorful. It clearly displays radio station graphics as well as song information.
And the the Touch's remote control is also very easy to use. I pretty much use the remote control for the volume control and 'now playing', and the screen for everything else.
The Touch can also be linked to a free personal account on Logitech's hosted website, which can maintain your list of favorite stations.
And now for the negatives:
1. Browsing Internet Radio: The Touch lacks the basic feature of being able to surf internet radio by genre or by geographical region. Other less-expensive Internet radios have this fundamental feature. It's not a deal-breaker, because I can just go online and save my favorites to my account at Logitech's hosted website, or use the Touch's search feature, which works ok, but every internet radio should have a basic browsing capability.
2. SD Card Slowness and Clunkiness: I treat SD cards like the cassette tapes of yesterday--I rip my vinyl on them, at the aforementioned high resolution 24 bit flac format, which means that a 8 GB SD card can only hold 3-4 albums. The Touch was not designed to quickly swap cards. It can take 2-3 minutes from the time the card is inserted into the Touch to when you'll actually hear your tunes, and to make matters worse, you can't just walk away while it loads the card and wait for your music to load; the clunky user-interface requires you to press confirm buttons several times during the loading process. Same goes with the USB Drive. For people who are ok with lower-quality scans, that's not a big deal, because you can fit a lot of tunes on an 8GB (or higher) card, and then just mount the card once. But since my music is high resolution, I can only store a few albums on a card, so I'd like to be able to change cards as easily as switching tapes in my cassette deck.
As an internet radio and digital audio player, I would easily give this a 5-star rating. The sound quality of both 24 bit music and streaming internet radio is of audiophile quality and way better than CD. It also has a beautiful touchscreen and easy to use interface.
As an SD card or USB-drive player, I would only give the Touch three stars, because of its slowness. However, as I mentioned before, the sound-quality of 24-bit music is so superb that it is worth the user-interface clunkiness.
Hopefully a firmware upgrade will resolve the external card issues, in which case I will up my overall rating to 5 stars.