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...