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Q2 Internet Radio - Groundbreaking Functionality

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


The Q2’s 'killer feature' is the fact that it lets you change between radio channels and podcasts simply by turning it over. All you have to do is download the Q2‘s simple software to your PC or Mac, fire it up, allocate your four favourite Internet radio channels and podcasts to a 'side' of the Q2, and that’s it. From that point on, whichever of the four sides you turn to face up will be the channel the radio plays.

As if this wasn’t clever enough, the Q2 also uses motion-sensing technology to let you adjust its volume; you just tilt it forwards or backwards. Or if you want to instantly mute it, all you have to do is turn it so that the speaker is facing down. If it’s left muted for a while, the Q2 will automatically switch itself into standby to extend the life of its rechargeable battery. A battery which, incidentally, delivered a decent 6-7 hours of use during our tests, even though those tests included running the unit louder for short bursts than most people will feel comfortable with in normal living conditions.

To some extent, the way the Q2 streamlines the potentially hugely complex and borderline unmanageable amount of Internet radio content is nothing short of genius. Just think about it: it dilutes more than 10,000 radio channels - not to mention countless podcasts besides - down to just four, and makes choosing those four no more complicated than turning a cube over.

Yes, you have to first pick your four preferred stations and podcasts via the PC software, but this software is clearly presented, supports direct text searching for preferred radio channels, and breaks the stations down into much more manageable geographic and genre groups for browsing. You don’t even need to have your PC or Mac switched on for the Q2 to work once you’ve set it up.

There is one obvious limitation to the Q2’s approach, though. For it only gives you access to four podcasts or Internet radio stations at a time (with you only able to change them via the PC/Mac software). Still, while we might have liked to find the Q2 sporting an octagonal shape to add at least a couple more channels to the list, the cube shape feels very natural/stable, and four channels is probably enough for a typical user - especially if it’s only going to have to support the tastes of one or two members of a household rather than an entire family.


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..


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.


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?


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).


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.


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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