Recently, I looked at the Evoke 3 from Pure and found it to be a truly excellent DAB radio. The Acoustic Energy Wifi Radio is in many senses a far more remarkable product. Rather than picking up local DAB radio broadcasts, the Wi-Fi Radio tunes in to Internet based radio stations thanks to its built-in Wi-Fi capabilities and its connection to a online radio database hosted by Reciva. It’s essentially doing for radio what the first MP3 players did for digital audio- untethering it from the PC.
This has a number of benefits. You no longer have to worry about reception issues, which in the UK are a real problem, especially with DAB. You are also no longer limited by geography as you can listen to any radio station that broadcasts online from anywhere in the world, without having to pay any subscription. The device supports Real, Windows Media and MP3, which pretty much covers every format used for online radio. In addition, as its Internet based it also brings other unique advantages. I doubt there are many DAB radios that will let you browse stations via country, or via genre or listen to content on demand .
The Wifi radio is a first of its kind and is produced by Acoustic Energy, the British Hi-Fi manufacturer. Traditionally, Hi-Fi companies are not normally what you’d associate with cutting edge Internet technology, but the rather excellent set of speakers I tested here, designed for connection to devices such as iPods, phones and PSPs, attests to the fact that Acoustic Energy is a pretty ‘with-it’ kind of company.
The radio itself is rather cool looking, in a retro kind of way. The slanting fascia above the speaker grille contains a three line LCD display with a blue backlight. It displays an icon if it picks up a Wi-Fi signal and a signal strength indicator.
The radio is fairly easy to set up and if you're able to set up a wireless network, which is required to use this device, you shouldn't have any problems. The two rows of buttons beneath the screen and the dial make it quite easy to navigate the device but you have to press the Shift button to access the stop, skip and play buttons.