Terratec NOXON iRadio for iPod - Terratec NOXON iRadio for iPod Review

Sections

The list of positives continue with the array of sockets on the rear that most media streaming systems would be proud of. Not only is there a line-in for connecting non-Apple based music players, but also a 3.5mm stereo lineout; a mono speaker output for adding a second, stereo speaker to the iRadio’s one; a digital output for piping an S/PDIF signal out to your home theatre receiver; plus a USB socket for playback from a USB thumbdrive or other mass storage device. The latter works just as well as the media streaming browsing feature, enabling you to browse music via ID tag.


It’s once you get past all the extras and examine the core Internet radio feature that the iRadio begins to disappoint. Finding stations is easy enough: the iRadio lists stations by location, genre, new, popular and ‘Best of’, which includes such well-known networks as Radioio and NRJ, the European-wide music radio giant. The iRadio even provides an automatic listing of your local stations at the top level, so you don’t have to delve into the hugely long country list, and you can use the numeric keypad on the remote control to search by keyword, so tracking down a station is never too much of a pain.


But the first thing that any digital radio sold in the UK ought to do is let you access the BBC stations, and on this front the iRadio falls short. Search for BBC in the All Stations listings, click on any of the folders listed and you’re presented with a line-up that includes not only the live stream, but also podcasts for that channel. So far so good. But there’s a problem here: while the podcasts stream perfectly, the live streams do not – select them and they simply get stuck, never getting past the buffering stage.


It’s possible that, in time, this issue will be resolved with a firmware update, but at the time of writing, nothing was available via the radio’s update feature. I checked for updates dutifully every day for the three weeks with no joy. I even tried an older NOXON radio, which worked perfectly with the live BBC streams to confirm it was a problem with the radio, and not the servers at the BBC’s end.


Even ignoring this, there’s a couple more drawbacks. The first is sound quality. It’s not bad, but I expected more. Its single speaker is clear enough and it goes quite loud, but it’s seriously lacking in bass and body. Compared to the output available from a £125 DAB radio such as Pure’s classic Evoke-3, it’s positively weedy. The second is that price. £245 is a lot of money to pay for an Internet radio of any description, even one with this many features.


”’Verdict”’


So despite a raft of features and a potentially successful recipe, Terratec’s iRadio for iPod ultimately disappoints. It looks good, is easy to set up and is pretty easy to use too. But a few small things – the lack of BBC stations, the high price and average sound quality – end up ruining the taste.

Score


Score in detail

  • Value 5