But it’s not all a bed of roses. Part of the attraction of Internet radios is that you don’t have to have a PC on to run them – you can usually simply plug them in, set up the Wi-Fi link and then simply browse away to your heart’s content. But Internet radios have to get their lists of radio stations from somewhere, and with the MusicPal it’s the vTuner radio service supplying the URLs. This is where the MusicPal begins to fall behind standard DAB radios and other Internet radio competitors from the likes of Revo and Tangent. The main problem is that the list of stations set up as standard on your vTuner account doesn’t include any BBC stations. You can, of course, add stations to your heart’s content using the bundled vTuner account but that’s beside the point – it’s a pain to do and it should be set up straight out of the box.
There are a couple of other areas where the MusicPal can’t match more mature products. The first of these is build quality: though the design is clean and unfussy and the controls intuitive to use, the MusicPal is just too lightweight. You have to grasp it from behind to stop it scooting across the table when you’re clicking away at the dials. The second is sound quality, which is as disappointing as the build quality. Its single speaker is fine for talk radio but there’s little solidity, substance or bass to the sound, so music doesn’t sound wonderful.
All-in-all, the MusicPal is a competent Internet radio. It’s easy to use and set up, it has a decent range of features and it comes in at a reasonable price too, at under £100. But it’s a fiddle to add BBC radio stations, it’s not the most solidly engineered product and sound quality isn’t wonderful. It looks like we’ve still got a bit of a wait yet for a DAB-beating Internet radio to emerge after all.
Score in detail