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Logitech Squeezebox Radio Review Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 October 2009
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Logitech Squeezebox Radio Review
Music and Apps

ImageWith the rash of recent A/V components integrating the plethora of web related, streaming audio content into their feature set, Logitech has been streamlining their delivery of the same content in their Squeezebox series.  The Squeezebox Radio is Logitech’s most recent release into this field.  The compact form factor of the Squeezebox Radio is designed for an audience looking to bring their library of music into a smaller room.  Additionally, the Squeezebox Radio is ideal for those who have a Wi-Fi network already established for streaming audio files.

The Squeezebox (MSRP: $199.99) comes packaged in a small box and wrapped in light plastic packaging.  It also comes wrapped in a thin plastic film designed to keep smudges off the finish.  The piano black, glossy finish (also available in red) is very susceptible to fingerprints and dust is very visible as well.  The only two cords that come with the Squeezebox radio are the AC adaptor (which uses the new detachable plug design) and a 3.5mm cord for connecting other audio sources such as an iPod Touch or another form of audio player.

Squeezebox red version

The player is about 8.5 inches in length, 5 inches wide and 5 inches deep.  There is an indention in the rear of the unit to act as a handle if you plan to use the unit as a portable device.  The rear of the unit also has the AC power connection port, an Ethernet cord port for a wired connection to your network and the audio-in port.  The 3.5mm headphone port is on the right side of the unit.  

The front of the unit is split in half, the left side being the built-in speaker (a 3-inch driver with a ¾ inch tweeter) and the right side containing all the buttons to navigate around your music collection.  There are 6 preset buttons that surround the 2.4 inch color display.  Simply holding down one of the buttons during your favorite streaming station OR audio file on your server will make that a quick way to get to that music.  

The color screen is quite clear and I would equate the quality in image similar to my iPhone.  It loads up track information, album covers and the Wi-Fi connection strength on the screen during playback.  It will also auto-dim the screen after a period of non-use.  Below the screen, you will find the standard music playback tools, volume controls and menu navigation buttons.  The main menu navigation tool is a large dial just below the screen.  This scroll wheel makes for quick navigation as well as item selection by pushing the dial into the unit.   


Initially setting up the Squeezebox Radio is very simple.  The opening setup screen runs through account signup and connecting to your local Wi-Fi network.  Unfortunately, the keyboard navigation for typing in details about the Squeezebox account and Wi-Fi password details is tedious to say the least.  It’s a slow process that you will have to do once, but also each time you add login details for every installed app.  Thankfully, the Squeezebox Radio does remember Wi-Fi passwords on multiple networks if you are traveling with it.  After the Squeezebox Radio gets your login details, it will automatically update the unit with the latest firmware.  It’s a surprisingly painless process and takes about 2 minutes to download / install.
In order to connect the Squeezebox Radio with your music files, you will have to install the Squeezebox Server software on your home server (compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac OS X).  It will scan your collection (as well as your iTunes directory) and connect them by logging into the same Squeezebox account that you initially setup on the Radio.  I was able to navigate through all my music collection on the home server via the Squeezebox Radio as well as the podcasts I had stored on the server.  It organizes the content very similar to Apple’s menu structure.  You have the ability to browse the music via artist, album, genre, timeframe and new additions.  There’s also random mixing functionality as well as playlist integration.  A search function is also included, but typing in one letter at a time with the scroll wheel isn’t worth the time.  I’d love to see an official iPhone / iPod app from Logitech that would allow for keyboard functionality.

squeezebox back

Other functions of the Squeezebox Radio include the date / time displayed on the screen when the unit is put into sleep mode by tapping the power button.  The time is automatically corrected by the connection to the internet in case the unit is unplugged.  The Radio also includes an alarm function that’s ideal for a bedside position.  After setting the time, you can edit the alarm to choose which days it will be active as well as the music file that you want to wake up to.  The Squeezebox Radio includes a variety of sound effects to wake up to as well such as babbling brooks, rainstorms, foghorns or even traffic for my Los Angeles brethren.


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