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Q2 Internet Radio - One for Santa

John Archer

By John Archer


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Overall, though, the Q2 is far and away the simplest way there is to harness and enjoy the wonderfully diverse world of Internet radio, and that alone - even before you take its lovely 'gadgetiness', low price and range of cutesy designs into account - could make it a monster hit.

It won’t have escaped your notice that we haven’t yet discussed the Q2’s sound quality. But we make no apology for this, since how the Q2 sounds is arguably of secondary interest critically and commercially to what it does and how it looks - especially since it only deals with the distinctly compressed quality of Internet radio music.

However, it’s still a relief to find that the Q2 doesn’t sound bad at all. It’s capable of reaching volumes loud enough to satisfy - if hardly flood - even pretty large kitchen and conservatory environments, and even at its loudest it doesn’t phut, distort or rattle. There’s a surprising amount of definition in the sound too, and the speakers succeed in hiding, fairly consistently, Internet radio’s tell-tale hissiness.

The biggest problems with the Q2’s sound are that there’s no stereo effect given its single-speaker design; bass levels are rather limited; and the sound is a little funnelled, and thus loses clarity if you happen to be standing right off to the unit’s side. But overall, for most of the time the Q2 sounds a good few notches better than we’d expected it would considering how small and light it is.

Verdict and Specifications

Hardcore tech geeks might not like the Q2 for the way in which it streamlines the Internet radio experience. And hi-fi obsessives obviously won’t find the Q2’s audio quality a match for their Denon hi-fis, Sonos multi-room systems or Meridian iPod docks.

But then the Q2 is unapologetically not designed for either of these markets. Instead, it’s an innovative and fun device that for the first time truly opens up the murky but potentially glorious world of Internet radio to the masses. Plus it takes up practically no more room in a Christmas stocking than a Terry’s Chocolate Orange...

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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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