Logitech Squeezebox Radio

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If you are still doing some holiday shopping and looking for something for the tech/music lover in your life, then today’s product may be of interest. Logitech’s latest addition to the Squeezebox family is the Squeezebox Radio. It is built smaller than the Squeezebox Boom and is less expensive, yet packs a lot of exciting features in a compact space.

Although it is not a stereo device, it still sounds pretty good with its ¾-inch high-definition, soft-dome tweeter and 3-inch high-power, long-throw woofer. Logitech also added a 2.4-inch color display, which is absent on the Squeezebox Boom along with six preset buttons that allow one touch access to favorite radio stations and/or playlists

For the social networking types, the Squeezebox Radio features Facebook connectivity allowing the user to check Status Updates or send music recommendations. Besides these new features, the Squeezebox Radio has all the other capabilities of prior Squeezebox devices including network access to your home music connection, Internet Radio and Music services like Pandora, Rhapsody, Slacker and SIRIUS.

The Squeezebox Radio comes in a cardboard box with the usual Logitech branding. On the front is a large picture of the device while on the back are some product highlights, and the bottom of the box lists the specs and system requirements. Inside the package we find the Squeezebox Radio Wi-Fi music player, an AC adapter, 3.5 mm Line In cord for connecting MP3 players and User Documentation.

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The Squeezebox Radio is composed of a piano black finish and measures 5.12 inches (130 mm) by 8.66 inches (220 mm) by 5.04 inches (128 mm). It is a sexy looking device with its glossy black surface. Unfortunately this piano black finish attracts fingerprints like flies to honey. Keep a cleansing cloth near by at all times. Logitech also makes a red version that seems less stylish and would seem to stand out a lot more than its all black brethren.

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The front of the unit is broken into two halves – on the right are the controls including the power, volume and playback controls. A large push button Knob is used to navigate the Squeezebox Radio’s menus and just above it is the 2.4-inch 24-bit color LCD. Adjacent to the screen on each side of the display are three Preset Buttons.

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The left half of the Squeezebox Radio is covered by a grill which protects a ¾-inch high-definition, soft-dome tweeter and 3-inch high-power, long-throw woofer.

On the right side of the Squeezebox Radio is a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the back right corner of the unit we find a 3.5mm Line-In and Ethernet jacks along with the power connector.

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Out of the box, the Squeezebox can playback MP3, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Apple Lossless audio. Other formats can be played via transcoding performed on the server PC. Built into the Squeezebox Radio is an 802.11G antenna which supports WPA Personal, WPA2-AES, and 64/128-bit WEP encryption. The Ethernet connection is a 10/100 Mbps version, sorry no gigabit connection, but you really don’t need it for streaming audio.

Logitech provides an ambient light sensor in the Squeezebox Radio which adjusts the brightness according to the environment. The six preset buttons allow one touch access to favorite playlists and radio stations.

Specifications:

Logitech Squeezebox Radio

Basics
What’s included
-Squeezebox Radio Wi-Fi music player
-Power adaptor with removable plug
-User documentation
-Line-in cord for most iPod and other MP3 players with standard 3.5 mm jack

Technical Specifications
Speakers and amplifier
-¾-inch high-definition, soft-dome tweeter and 3-inch high-power, long-throw woofer
-Bi-amplified class D design with digital electronic crossover
-3.5 mm stereo headphone jack

General
-2.4-inch 24-bit color LCD
-Ambient light sensor to adjust display brightness according to environment
-6 preset buttons allow one touch access to favorite radio stations and playlists
-Alarm clock with 7 days of settings
-Line-in via 3.5 mm stereo jack

Additional options available
-Rechargeable battery pack
-Infrared remote
Part of the Squeezebox family
-Works with all Squeezebox products for whole home audio
-Can be synchronized with any Squeezebox or Transporter
-Works with Squeezebox Controller

Audio
Audio formats
-MP3, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Apple Lossless
-Other formats supported through transcoding
-Some formats may require additional software installation
Internet radio
-Support for MP3, Ogg Vorbis, AAC and WMA formatted Internet radio streams

Network
Wireless interface
-True 802.11g wireless networking
-One-touch setup (with compatible WPS-supporting routers)
-Support WPA Personal, WPA2-AES, and 64/128-bit WEP encryption

Ethernet interface
-Connects to any 10/100 Mbps Ethernet network (with Auto MDX)

Physical
Dimensions (H x W x D):
-5.12 inches (130 mm) by 8.66 inches (220 mm) by 5.04 inches (128 mm)


Setting up the Squeezebox Radio involves plugging the unit into an AC outlet, then connecting the device to the internet via a wired or wireless connection. When the radio fires up for the first time, it will detect a wireless access point if not plugged into the LAN.

Follow the onscreen instructions to finish the Squeezebox Radio setup. Entering information using the onscreen keyboard and knob button can be cumbersome. Thankfully this is a one time setup as Logitech allows the Squeezebox Radio to store and save passwords even when the device is unplugged.

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If you don’t already have a mysqueezebox account then the Squeezebox Radio will help you set one up. Once this is finished you can download and install the Squeezebox Server software which runs on your home computer (Linux, OS X or Windows) and allows the Squeezebox Radio or any other Squeezebox to playback your music library streams. A mysqueezebox account allows the user to manager their Squeezebox player settings, install and manage Apps, and allows access to many online services such as Odeo, Rhapsody, Shoutcast, Sirius, and Pandora.

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Depending on the size of your library the Server software will initially scan your music.

Optimally for streaming music, the LAN connection is preferable over Wi-Fi as uncompressed audio such as FLAC and WAV uses more bandwidth than its compressed brethren (mp3, AAC, and WMA). For slower wireless connection, there is a buffer time adjustment option in the setting menu.

Music and Audio Quality:

Navigating the Squeezebox Radio with the control knob is simple and intuitive. The menu structure is well organized and novice users should pick up the scheme in a relatively short time. The Home and Back buttons help traverse this menu system. From the Squeezebox Radio your music library can be viewed and played via artist, album, genre, year and new music added. One drawback of not including a remote is with large music libraries using the knob to scroll the collection can be tedious. Hopefully Logitech will release an official iPhone app for their Squeezebox devices similar to what Sonos did with their networked music system. There are paid third party remotes for the Squeezebox system, but a free version from Logitech seems like a better idea.

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The beauty of the Squeezebox devices is the numerous sources for music and other forms of audio. With the Squeezebox Radio you can listen to your music library or check out several streaming services including Rhapsody, Slacker, Last.fm and Pandora. My favorite feature is the ability to listen to Sirius radio. In conjunction with the Squeezebox Radio’s preset buttons my favorite Sirius stations are easily accessible.

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Internet radio offers thousands of station choices in numerous categories including Staff Picks, Local, Music, Sports, Talk, and World. Each of these categories is further broken down into additional choice options. If you find a station you enjoy and don’t want to hunt for it can be assigned as a favorite or set as one of the six physical preset buttons. The Internet Radio feature is “always on” when the Squeezebox Radio is connected to mysqueezebox.com even when your computer is off.

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Of course the big question is how does the Squeezebox Radio sound? First it is important to remember that the Squeezebox Radio is a mono device. For the audiophile this may be a deal breaker. Luckily Logitech allows the device to connect to external speaker or headphones via the 3.5mm headphone jack. Despite playing back in mono, the built in speaker provides a rich sound in smaller room and does not get distorted even at high volumes.

Apps:

Besides music, the Squeezebox Radio allows the user to view their Facebook accounts, check out their Flickr pictures and it also works as an alarm clock. The clock is runs off internet time server, so it should always be accurate. There are numerous Alarm sounds for those tired of the buzzer style wake up call from their old nightstand clocks. You can wake up to music, nature sounds such as rainstorms and waterfalls or other sound effects such as ambulance, tea kettle or motorcycle. These are silly options but still something unique and different.

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When powered off the Squeezebox Radio can display the time or act as a tiny digital photo viewer pulling pictures from Flickr or your Facebook account. The display is sharp and with a properly tagged music library will show the album cover when playing songs from the home library.

In the past installing Apps or plugins as they were called in older versions of the Squeezebox software was a slightly arduous process. Now App installation is a breeze to setup. Apps can be installed and setup from either the Squeezebox Radio or on the Squeezebox Server software. Personally I prefer doing it on the server end as dealing with the onscreen keyboard and knob is a bit of a nuisance. Some Apps require additional subscriptions or accounts to be set up including Sirius and Pandora to name a couple. Once these accounts are set up they can be easily accessed by navigating the Squeezebox Radio menu.


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Conclusion:

The Squeezebox platform was created by a company called Slim Devices which was later acquired by Logitech. Thankfully Logitech did not try and “reinvent the wheel” and kept many of the developers and built up the platform based on its strengths. The Squeezebox Radio is the next step in the evolution of their network music player.

I own both an original Squeezebox and my criticism of the Squeezebox line in the past has been related to the difficulty of installing plugins (Apps) on the server software now known as SqueezeBox Server. Logitech has addressed this issue by creating a more user friendly interface within the SqueezeBox Server software and adding an easy to use “App Store”” for installing these plugins.

The Squeezebox Radio is a portable slim unit that sounds rich and is ideal for almost any music/audio listener. Love podcasts, check, love Sirius, check, want to listen to your music library anywhere in the home, check. The audiophile may not appreciate the mono speaker but that can be mitigated via the use if headphones if so desired. If you are new to the Squeezebox line or have other models, this unit is a great addition.

9

Pros:
+Simple to setup
+Sharp Color display
+Numerous online music services
+Large selection of Internet radio options
+Compact and portable

Cons:
-Mono
-Lack of included remote
-Does not include rechargeable batteries
-Uses 802.11G for wireless

Grades:
Overall score-9-10
Design score-10-10
Performance score-9-10

This product was given to technogog for review by the company for review purposes only, and is not considered by us as payment for the review, we do not, and never will, accept payment from companies to review their products. To learn more about our review policy please visit this page HERE.

  • toxo

    Hi,

    you should mention that when the Squeezebox Radio can’t login to mysqueezebox.com you are just an owner of a brick. I own a Squeezebox Radio since 24.12. and they are having massive problems with there service – especially in europe. My Squeezebox Radio is now offline for 24 hours!!!

    You can setup a squeezwbox server on you pc and login to that, but the reason people are buying this is, because they just want a small device that plays internet radio channels.

  • Jason

    Internet radio is about all I listen to nowadays. I am going to have to look into getting one of these!

  • http://www.simkin.co.uk Simon

    Mine just arrived – perfect for listening to music while at work.
    I’ve also got a Squeezebox Boom which pumps out music in the kitchen.
    It’s an excellent system – especially when combined with the Napster subscription service.

  • Tom

    @toxo – I personally use my Squeezebox Radio to listen to both my music library and Sirius satellite. No problems on my end.

    I have the original Squeezebox from SlimDevices and love the technology.

    If you just rely on it for internet radio then I guess you may have a “brick”, but this “brick” will always be able to play your music off your home server.

  • Rob

    Just purchased the Squeezebox Radio, was very excited as I was looking forward to listening to may favorite internet stations without being tied to my computer. I have had it for 20 days and still have not been able to connect to the Squeezebox Server. Have spent numerous hours talking to frontline SB techs with no results. They finally transferred me to their advanced techs who will only communicate via e-mail. Response to each email input can take 2 or more days; this is the worst customer support ever. This thing is a BRICK and I will return it if not operating properly in the next 5 days.

  • Ian

    The only advice I can give to anyone thinking about purchasing this device is, DON’T BOTHER.

    When we bought this unit, we were looking for a simple tabletop radio that could play internet radio stations and podcasts. We certainly didn’t expect the unit to REQUIRE that you run a server on your computer for it to function.

    We’ve had this piece of trash now for 3 months and we’re about ready to toss it. In the last 3 months, we’ve had 3 firmware upgrades, and the unit still doesn’t function properly. When you buy a radio, you expect it to play your favourite station until you either change it, or turn it off. The Squeezebox Radio stops playing at random intervals, we’ve seen it reboot itself multiple times per day, we’ve seen it lose the presets, the problems with it just go on and on and on.

    It’s been on the market for 9 months now, and it still doesn’t provide basic functionality, i.e. as a tabletop radio. I’m about ready to throw the device in a drawer and forget about it. It is the single worst technology purchase we have made in the last 5 years.

    Don’t just walk away from this, RUN!

  • k_dub

    I saw this in a local electronics store and LOVED it but have not had much success w/it at home. Took up to 3 hrs to set-up. Couldn’t get a steady internet connection. When it finally went thru the set-up process, it would play the radio for a while, but then just lose its internet connection, just like another commenter described. And it was in the same room as my router. Also tried connecting via Ethernet and the same thing happened – either it would connect for a short while or not connect at all. In fact, as I’m typing this comment, the radio just stopped playing. I had just gotten it started again. Argh!

    Every time it disconnects, from what I’ve experienced so far, I have to go thru this process of “finding my network,” “trying again,” and re-entering the 26-bit security key, sometimes numerous times until it reconnects. And if for some reason it can’t “find” your network, i.e. you don’t see it in the list of networks, you have to enter it manually. Granted, I don’t know if my ISP / router or the SB Radio is to blame, but it is very frustrating to say the least. Also, like another commenter stated, it should just “work.” Period.

    Also, when it disconnects from the internet, it can’t even function as an alarm clock, which is partly why I purchased this b/c the buttons on my “old school” alarm clock / radio were not functioning properly. If you press the Alarm button on the SB Radio, it tells you that it cannot detect an internet connection. What does the alarm clock have to do w/the internet!?

    All in all, I think this is a pretty neat device when it stays connected to the internet. However, it is a frustrating pain in the butt when it doesn’t. I will give this a few more days to see how it will perform. The main issue I’m having w/it is just consistency. Yesterday, it stayed connected for the entire evening, sleep mode, and even woke the next morning to the alarm. However, today, I’ve had nothing but problems w/it and trying to stay connected to the internet. But based on how I’m feeling right now, I’m planning on returning it, considering now that I’m finishing this comment, I’ve attempted at least 3 times to reconnect but to no avail.

    • Brian

      have you thought of a replacement? Ill be getting my squeezebox next week and would like to have options incase its as frustrating as many say. I havent seen anything in this price range that compares to it, have you?

    • KlaudiusBai

      Hi k_dub,

      Did you give your squeezbox back to the shop? I’m just having the same problem as you had. My computers function well with our in-house WLAN-connection. But his thing – although having worked well for the first 3 months – is now a pain in the neck. It loses connection to the server all the time, even if I put it next to the WLAN-device.
      That’s annoying.
      How did you have your problem solved?
      Thanks for a short answer in advance.

      Klaus

  • http://None Allen Ayers

    This is an excellent review of Logitech’s Squeezebox Radio. Very thorough.

    I got ripped off by purchasing an internet wifi radio of lesser quality, and now I can’t get an AM radio station I really want to listen to because it streams using AAC+. I see from this review that the Squeezebox Radio accommodates AAC. Does anyone happen to know if it accommodates AAC+ as well?

    Thank you so much,

    Allen Ayers

  • Gee

    In one sense it’s great. In another it’s a piece of cr@p.

    I love having internet radio in the kitchen – French, Swiss, English – it’s the best.

    It is the most unreliable electronic product I have ever bought. Turns off at will. Software is awful and unintuitive. Needs weekly reboots – I mean pulling the plug.

    Rubbish but a taste of a future that will be great when reliable :)

  • ronkoek

    I have the Squeezebox Radio for about 2 months. Setup was quick and easy no problems there. When stopped playing music, it does because the source doesn’t come through usually on stations from foreign countries.
    I like the kit BUT have found some problems : yes the alarmclock doesn’t work if there is no connection. Another one : when woken by the alarmclock, you have to set the station again you were last listening to. A thirth one is when you navigate extensively through the menus and return a couple of times with the “HOME” button, it looses track of the menus. A reset seems the only way to get it back in sync.
    Sure these things can be anoying, but I guess they will be corrected in a next software version. Anyway, I’m still happy I bought the gadget.

  • Jim Carpender

    I’ve really enjoyed this radio! I spend hours listening to various stations around the world. Also purchased a couple for friends. Lately I’ve noticed that the wireless connection drops out. At first I thought it was my Network, but when I power down and restart it’s OK for about another 45 minutes. I went to software update and clicked
    “BEGIN UPDATE (7.5.1 r9009)”. Ever since I did that, all is well!
    p.s. After waiting 10 weeks to get the battery pack and remote from Logitech, I find I really enjoy carrying it around the house and into the back yard.
    Hope this helps someone! I remain Jim Carpender

  • D. Smith

    I bought this just after it came out (here in the States). It was fine at first. Then the annoying alarm issue. Plays a fall back tune which I don’t like and was very loud. I found online a way to upload a different fall back mp3 and adjust the volume. They fixed some of the alarm issues. With every update, I have to change the fallback mp3. The radio turns off occasionally. If I just touch the volume knob it comes back. The software has been very unreliable. I se after a recent update, the text on some screens overlays other text. Logitech does not do enough testing. I wanted a Sonos but they are more expensive. At this point, I wish I had saved my money. My own frustrations and nagging from the wife about the money spent have not been worth it. If the Sonos works and is reliable, I could deal withthe nagging. Just a shame you have to spend ultimate$1,000 for a basic system. I know people used to spend that much in the 70’s for much less capability. Haven’t we moved forward though?

  • Zarvoy

    This is a rather neat device except for the severe alarm issues. If you intend to use it to wake you up look for sth else.

  • Pascal Hibon

    The review mentioned that Logitech should release its own remote. Well there are a couple of them out there to be used on an iPhone or iPod Touch. I have the iPeng remote on my iPod and that works brilliant. Check iPeng out on the iTunes App Store!

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