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The build quality is exemplary too: the remote has a heft that makes it feel expensive and a gloss finish that won't look out of place in even the trendiest of Grand Designs-style living rooms. There's more luxury in the form of a motion sensor, which automatically switches the screen on when you pick it up. The battery is rechargeable too - you simply drop it into the equally stylish cradle to recharge it when not in use. Perhaps the only disappointment is that the old number pad mobile phone-style text search isn't possible any more, what with no numeric keypad, but then you can't have everything.
The good news is that the new Controller and Receiver are backwards compatible with previous models, such as the Squeezebox 3 and Transporter and can be synchronised with other players too, so all devices play the same tune at once. Not only that, but the Controller can also be used to control those older devices - all you do is simply switch between them on the handset's menu. It can do this because the Controller doesn't talk directly to the Receiver, but via Wi-Fi to the server software - SqueezeCentre 7 - on your source device, which then passes instructions to the selected player.
And the features that made the previous models so usable are also still present. Unlike so many video streaming boxes, tracks can be browsed, queued and playlists created as others are playing. Tags are recognised, as is album art, and you can also browse by folder, or search by keyword if that doesn't work.
Integration with Rhapsody, and a number of other music services, such as MP3tunes Music Locker, is beautifully carried off. These services enable you, for a subscription of around £6.50 per month, to search for and play back tracks from a huge vault of music direct from the remote without having to have your SqueezeCenter server turned on at all. There's also an enormous list of Internet radio stations, plus by adding the AlienBBC plugin you'll be able to access all the BBC radio stations and the corporation's 'listen again' service too.
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