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Q2 Internet Radio - Groundbreaking Functionality
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.