The world of internet radio is dizzying. Right now, tens of thousands of internet radio stations are spewing out content into the ether – more than you would realistically ever listen to. Like staring up into the night sky for a bit too long, it doesn’t half make you feel small. The Logitech Squeezebox Radio is one of the best ways to unleash this constellation of content into your bedroom, kitchen or living room.
The Logitech Squeezebox Radio is the most traditional-looking device of the entire Squeezebox range. Half control panel, half speaker grille, its front looks much like any portable DAB or FM radio. It’s shinier than most though, its outer layer made of glossy black plastic. This finish shows up fingerprints and dust as if it was one of the box’s key features, but keep it clean and dusted and it’ll look the business. It’s also available in red and white finishes.
Surrounding the 2.4in colour screen are six silver station preset buttons that’ll tune in to your favourite stations wherever you are in the interface. They can also be used as shortcuts to albums or artists within other features, like Spotify or your computer’s music library.
Below these are rubber playback buttons and others to help your navigate through the Slingbox Radio's menus. As there’s much more searching and setup involved here than with a simpler DAB radio, how easy these menus are to navigate is hugely important. The control you’ll keep coming back to is the great big rubberised main dial. It’s used to zoom through menus and input search words. It feels less cheap than the surrounding playback buttons, with a firm clicky action rather than the spongy, less definite style of the nearby playback keys.
All the Squeezebox Radio’s controls are on its front – 17 in total – but the near-symmetrical arrangement used stops the interface panel from looking too busy or cluttered. It offers fewer ports than the other players in the Squeezebox series, the Squeezebox Touch and Boombox, but that’s no great surprise when it costs almost £100 less than its brothers.
There’s a headphone jack on the side, plus an additional 3.5mm input on the back, alongside an Ethernet port if you’d rather not use the built-in Wi-Fi. A neat little carry handle is built into its back – which will come in especially handy if you fork out for the additional battery pack and remote control accessory combo (which sells for around £45). The battery fits under a screw-in panel on the bottom, and will give you six hours of playback.
Ideally, we’d like to see an additional optical output and a SD card slot or USB port to let you play your own MP3s, or even an FM radio so you’re not left in silence should you be left without nearby Wi-Fi connectivity. But we’d never argue that its existing feature set doesn’t offer good value for money.
The Squeezebox Radio will gives you access to thousands of radio stations, podcasts, the BBC’s Listen Again content – as well as Spotify’s library (as long as your have an account), Last.FM, any shared music on your computer and more besides. There’s a distinct attraction to the simplicity of more basic, non-connected bedside radios, but the scope of what’s on offer here is quite staggering if you can cope with the extra button clicks involved.