I'm a long time fan of Slim Devices, having purchased my original SliMP3 player back in late 2001. I also have the distinction of still having the original email from Sean Adams indicating I was the very first pre-order in for the original Squeezebox (which ultimately turned out to have some weird hardware network bug that resulted in the screen corrupting but was quickly replaced by Sean and company).
I have been interested in some kind of improved bedside/tabletop radio for a number of years and was interested in the Squeezebox Radio almost from the start. I was concerned about the initial bugs and quality issues being mentioned in these forums, but went to the local Best Buy to check the unit out anyhow.
A note to Logitech Marketing that handles the Squeeze players. The product placement in Best Buy stores and marketing effort is terrible. The Squeezebox units were not located with any of the other new "hip" network/streaming products but were instead located with the audio video receivers and speakers. Big disappointment as it took me a full 20 minutes to locate the units (I actually had to ask for help, something I almost never do). It would probably be more helpful if they were located with the network gear, or at least in the ipod/portable area. I saw a gaggle of people oohing and aaahing over the Sonus Players which have large displays and are set up for demo. These same potential customers probably don't even know that Squeezebox exists.
Anyways. I convinced the Best Buy folks to open a unit up (they didn't even have one displayed) because I really wanted to see what the physical hardware quality was like. I had concerns that the unit would suffer from sub-standard construction, similar to the "cheapening" of buttons, etc, that I have seen on other mid-price consumer electronics over the past few years. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the SB radio seemed to be built like a tank, looked gorgeous and the buttons seemed to have positive tactile feel. I purchased one on the spot!
When I got home and unboxed the player to get ready for set up, I was surprised that there wasn't a more "in your face" setup document about needing to set up a My Squeeze account. I think most of the turn off of the unit has been the perceived difficulty of setup, which might be avoided with a large color poster that shows the set up in just a few easy steps. It should also have a big notice to contact helpful support folks if having issues getting it set up so that it does not wind up being returned to the store. This is a premium price product and there should be decent telephone support for setup issues, at least for the first 30 days after purchase.
My own setup went relatively smoothly. I used push to authenticate to get it on my wi-fi network in a matter of seconds, and since I already have a My Squeeze account set up for my Squeezebox Network software running on my HP Mediasmart, I was off to the races fairly quickly.
The very first thing I wanted to do was stream some of my music to the unit and see what audio quality was like. In a word, it sounds very good! I would not call it audiophile quality but it certainly can hold its own with other "tabletop radio" units that put out decent quality sound for a medium sized room.
I was a bit put off by the favorites/preset process as it took me doing some research and digging to discover how to add playlists as favorites and then add those favorites as select buttons. This area needs some improvement. I'd go as far as to say there should be a section in the web setup for the Squeezebox Radio that addresses this issue.
I did find that most of the player based activities (with the very notable omission of the above favorites/settings) were fairly intuitive. I would like the ability to mute the annoying button press sounds, so far I haven't found the place to do that. It gets old after a while to hear beeps and boops every time you are navigating the menu. I did observe that once when I left the room for a couple of hours with the menu showing that it was still sitting at that menu screen when I returned. There is a "stopped" screen saver you can define but I would really like the option for the player to shut itself off after 15 minutes if nothing is playing and there is no activity from the user.
I did play with the unit in a dark room because I was concerned about how well the auto dimming would work. I am a very light sleeper and any extraneous lights keep me awake at night (LEDs especially). I was pleasantly surprised that the dimming works fantastic. It would be nice to set a minimum and maximum range for it. It actually gets SO dim that in a pitch black room you will struggle to read it.
After getting all situated with presets, basic setup (Pandora, etc), I wanted to play with the Alarm functionality. The Alarm setup was very straight forward, but I was a bit disappointed in the actual execution. I had programmed my unit to wake me up to one of my own playlists at 9:00AM today and was actually already awake when the alarm turned it on. When the Alarm activated (which was actually about a full 10-15 seconds after 9:00AM) I was greeted with some noises and a full second of high volume music before it then started to ramp up the volume slowly as it had been programmed to do.
This appears to be buggy behavior and hopefully can be improved upon in future versions. Another issue that I consider rather major is that when the alarm is sounding it shows the alarm time prominently displayed. This should be the ACTUAL current time with the alarm time below, especially for heavy sleepers who keep banging on the snooze button.
Another thing for the alarm that would be nice is the ability to label alarms so that they read "his" and "hers", etc. It is a bit confusing for my wife if she needs to program "alarm 1" versus "alarm 2".
On the whole the radio works very well. I was very pleased with the Pandora functionality and hope that with the remote it will be possible to "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" a Pandora selection directly. I did notice that even though I have a Pandora One account that allows for streaming of 192kbps that the Squeezebox Radio only streamed at 128kbps. Perhaps this is a Pandora limitation.
One thing that did bug me throughout my use of the radio though was the "now playing" screen. It really bugged me that the album artwork had the top chopped off by the progress bar and track details (particularly annoying with the numerous album covers that show the artist, it winds up that their head is chopped off like a photograph taken by a small child). Perhaps some alternate configurations can be provided in future firmware versions.
From a very long time Slim Devices customer I can give this unit a hearty thumbs up! I would like to see a lot of the wrinkles get ironed out in the coming months and honestly I think that at the $199 price point it should include the remote and battery pack (many competing $149 devices have this functionality). There is, however, simply no better option I am currently aware of for "freeing your music" in a small table top solution than this Squeezebox Radio.
Job well done Sean, Dean and company!
Results 1 to 10 of 37
2009-11-01, 10:05 #1
My mini review of the Squeezebox Radio
Last edited by jmpage2; 2009-11-01 at 10:09.
2009-11-01, 10:57 #2
To turn off operation "beeps":
Settings > Audio > Sound Effects > None
Initially the Album Art was about 1/3 smaller on the Radio and many wanted larger images. I would love to see a setting option for such art like Large (full screen like, it is now) and Small (about 1/4 to 1/3 smaller, text does not cover album). If it can only be a menu item within Settings that would be acceptable, but it would be better IMO to make it a simple on the fly option while in the Now Playing screen.
I suggested a knob turn in Now Playing would re-size the art on the fly. A Knob turn currently does nothing in Now Playing (unless you push the knob). The idea being each right click increases art size by 1/3, each left click decreases art size by 1/3, max three turns each way, fourth click (either direction) brings you back to the original art size. But they seem to be interested in waiting for a third party plugin for this type of feature (assuming it is even possible at all).
2009-11-01, 11:08 #3
Even better than having the knob change album artwork size would be to simply have several completely different "now playing" screens and allow the knob to cycle through them. This should make just about everyone happy.
2009-11-01, 12:40 #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
- San Francisco, CA
2009-11-01, 14:58 #5
2009-11-01, 22:46 #6Erland Isaksson (My homepage)
(Developer of many plugins/applets (both free and commercial).
If you like to encourage future presence on this forum and/or third party plugin/applet development, consider purchasing some plugins)
You may also want to try my Android apps Squeeze Display and RSS Photo Show
Interested in the future of music streaming ? ickStream - A world of music at your fingertips.
2009-11-01, 22:59 #7
Hmm... My unit seems to have lost all it's presets today. Is there already a bug report for this?
2009-11-01, 23:01 #8
Re: My mini review of the Squeezebox Radio
There is already an enhancement logged for this, although it was registered before the development of the radio and only refers to the Boom, but I think the two devices share the same alarm code. There are a lot of bugs/enhancents logged against the alarm and as far as I can see none of them get addressed. The original developer of the alarm code appears to have little time for Logitech matters nowadays.Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known
2009-11-01, 23:20 #9
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
2009-11-02, 00:26 #10Another thing for the alarm that would be nice is the ability to label alarms so that they read "his" and "hers", etc. It is a bit confusing for my wife if she needs to program "alarm 1" versus "alarm 2".
Target milestone was put to 'Future' which I interpret as 'never', as most other bugs get flagged with 7.4.x or 7.5 or 8.0.
There are a lot of bugs/enhancents logged against the alarm and as far as I can see none of them get addressed.
This morning the alarm failed for me again ((((
And here some minor usability bugs that don't get adressed.
http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=14704Did you know: SqueezePlayer will stream all your music to your Android device. Take your music everywhere!
Remote Control + Streaming to your iPad? Squeezebox + iPad = SqueezePad
Want to see a Weather Forecast on your Radio/Touch/Controller ? => why not try my Weather Forecast Applet
Want to use the Headphones with your Controller ? => why not try my Headphone Switcher Applet