The Squeezebox Touch isn’t limited to playing back only files you have to hand. There are a number of plug-in apps available, which add more functions and broaden the range of audio sources available to the Touch. Some of these give access to internet radio stations and catch-up services, one lets you play sound effects (wow!) and one lets you interact with Facebook (yawn).
The killer apps, though, are the multiple streaming-music services. The US gets Pandora and Rhapsody, but we in the UK aren’t so fortunate. Nonetheless, heavy hitters including Napster and Last.fm are on-board, along with the relatively unknown, though popular on the continent, Deezer. All that’s missing is Spotify.
What’s particularly cool is that these apps can be installed and configured either on the Touch itself, or via Logitech’s MySqueezebox web interface. This site even has a Remote Control, which will work with multiple Squeezeboxes, if you have them, and functions just fine on mobile browsers – or at least the iPod touch’s.
Importantly the Squeezebox Touch isn’t all talk and no trousers. A fancy pants touch-screen interface and clever apps are all well and good, but what really matters is the hardware and here the Touch excels.
With streaming audio being the Touch’s raison d’etre, it’s no surprise to find both built-in Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port. The 3.5mm headphone jack is less expected, but it does make it easier to connect the Touch to a speaker system unable to accept any of its higher-quality outputs, namely a phono output alongside both coaxial and optical digital outputs. The latter will be gratefully acknowledged by buyers who have invested in high-end decoding equipment, as they bypass the Touch’s own AKM4420 DAC.
The Squeezebox Touch also sports a USB port at its rear and an SD card slot to its right-hand edge. From these the Touch can read audio files and photos, the latter turning it into a compact digital photo frame when not being used to stream music – an arguable improvement on its default regression to a very expensive clock.