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Q2 Internet Radio review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

1 of 5

Q2 Internet Radio
  • Q2 Internet Radio
  • Q2 Internet Radio
  • Q2 Internet Radio
  • Q2 Internet Radio
  • Q2 Internet Radio

Summary

Our Score:

8

With the DAB network still - rather shamefully, in our opinion - struggling to deliver anything like nationwide coverage, Internet radio is catching on fast. Especially as it offers literally thousands of channels rather than DAB’s 40 or so.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise to find Internet radios becoming increasingly common. Nothing we’ve seen on the Internet radio front before, though, has been remotely like the Q2 we’re looking at today. Designed around a chipset from British outfit Cambridge Silicon Radio, it’s a truly unique product in a variety of different ways.

For a start, it looks utterly adorable. Its roughly cubic design gets it off to a great start - especially as its surprisingly diddy dimensions mean it fits comfortably into a typical adult’s hand for carrying around between different rooms. But also neat is the fact that you can buy a Q2 in any of five different colours: white, pink, blue, green and black. What’s more, the blue and pink models really push the design boat out by featuring a floral pattern around the front rim that we’d probably adore if we were girls.

Also notable about the Q2’s design is the rubberised finish of the rear three-quarters of the Q2’s body. This boosts the styling but also, of course, makes the radio less likely to slip from your grasp when carrying it around.

Turning our scrutiny of the Q2’s exterior to its rear, it’s a pleasant surprise to find a headphone/line-out jack on there, as well as an input for attaching the supplied USB or three-pin plug charging cables, and a simple on/off switch. As you’d expect these days, the Q2 doesn’t have to be physically tethered to your PC to work, connecting to it via wireless broadband.

Two other intriguing points about the Q2’s design are its complete lack of any buttons or knobs, and the appearance of little lines on each of the radio’s sides (bar the front and back ones). There’s one line on one side, two lines on the next, three lines on another, and four lines on the final one. And it turns out that these curious lines and the striking lack of buttons and knobs are intimately connected...

Guye0a

December 7, 2010, 2:54 pm

Neat idea, niche market!


With the need for a PC to configure the radio and the four preset stations this takes away the usefulness of internet radio - i.e. thousands of stations to choose from. I think I will stick to an all in one solution for internet radio..

Epic

December 7, 2010, 4:00 pm

Agreed - it's cute and tempting but their website isn't very forthcoming - they don't even provide a station list on their website. Also I assume there's no support for BBC on demand/listen again content (not podcasts) or they'd have mentioned it.

lensmann

December 7, 2010, 4:55 pm

I'm not sure they've got the pricing right. For just £20 more, you can pick up the Pure Evoke Flow, which supports internet radio, digital radio, podcasts, FM and streaming from a UPnP server. If this had cost closer to £50 than £90, it might have been worth a look, but otherwise I really don't see how it's worth the price. I appreciate that TR disagrees on the price, since you awarded it 10 out of 10 for value - I'm assuming that was for its 'cool toy' value rather than its value as an internet radio.

Russell Peto

December 7, 2010, 5:05 pm

@Guy - Maybe the market isn't that niche.





Anyone who has the wireless network necessary for this to operate is more than likely to have some sort of computer to configure the Q2 with, a computer that is also more than likely to be much harder to cart around the house with you than a 10cm rubberised cube.





Also, the 4 stations in this case is a strong point: it distills internet radio down into an easy interface in much the same way that the iPod succeeds because it is very good at simplifying the whole digital music experience.





Also, there is more appeal to internet radio than the thousands of stations, sound quality and removing the need to constantly retune for immediate environmental conditions spring to mind.





I think this is very interesting and would be appreciated by all of my family including my 4 year old.





The main drawback is that at £90 it is out of impulse purchase range, even at christmas time.





Overall though, Armour Home Electronics should be praised for an original and refreshingly ergonomic approach. Rare enough in the consumer tech sector full of me-too-netbooks and just-another-media-streamers.

Peter Staples

December 7, 2010, 6:58 pm

I acquired one recently for my wife so I read this review and the comments with great interest.





1) It is incredibly easy to use.


2) It sounds really clear.


3) It is far more portable than my DAB radio as it needs to be plugged in all the time.


4) It has some fun and personality which my grand children love.





I recommend it even if it is a little expensive for a radio however don't you always expect to pay extra when there is nothing else like it on the market?

andybee

December 7, 2010, 7:47 pm

Hey, I made that. At least I wrote most of the WMA codec it uses. My boss designed the wicked-cool kick-ass Kalimba DSP inside it too. Nice to see it made it into the wild at last!

Brian Carter

December 8, 2010, 2:43 am

Fun quirky product that is too expensive for what it is (IMO).





From an implementation point of view, the four sides need to be more quickly changeable - configurable by a smart phone/tablet (doesn't require booting up to change).

Powerful

December 8, 2010, 11:08 am

I don't understand why a "radio" costs so much these days. In the good ole days of AM/FM you could pick up a good basic table radio for £10 to £20. They were cheap enough to have one in every room. Now we are asked to replace these with DAB or Internet devices with price points five to ten times those of the kit we're replacing - and the sound quality is still not great. There's a market opportunity here..... and don't get me started on car radios!

Peter Staples

December 8, 2010, 6:03 pm

My wife listens regularly to just 3 or 4 different radio stations (don't most people?) and needs something she can easily carry around the house. Yes it is a bit expensive (probably £20 too much) but she loves it and believe me its worth the extra £20 to make my wife happy! For the older generation it makes internet radio accessible where other radios do not. We have another radio with internet (that one cost me £149) but she won't use it because its slow and difficult to use, problem we have is very poor DAB/FM reception so internet radio is the perfect option.

jimmytt

December 8, 2010, 10:11 pm

Way too expensive - £30 is what its worth. Cannot understand how you can give it 10/10 for value. You are doing the manufacturer and your less savvy visitors a dis-service. Love your TV and projector reviews by the way but you may want to give the "radio as fashion accessory" sector a miss.

Peter Staples

December 8, 2010, 11:25 pm

Value is inevitable in the eye of the beholder and many features does not necessarily = great value. This is a deceptively clever little radio anybody (you don’t need to be tech savvy) can use. I have a great value (lots of features) internet radio in my home already and my wife has complained constantly about not being able to access (by herself) her favourite programmes, now she doesn’t. Which one do you think is worth more to me?!

LM Stafford

December 10, 2010, 10:16 pm

Where can you buy in US??

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