|At a Glance|
|Product||Logitech Squeezebox Radio (930-000101 [black])|
|Summary||Lower-cost version of popular networked music player|
|Pros||• Easy to set up and use
• Handles local music and Internet music sources
• Improved user interface (over Squeeze Boom)
|Cons||• No tone control
• No remote included
I've been enjoying my Squeezebox Boom since I got it last spring, both with and without the iPeng remote iTouch / iPhone app. I've hauled it out to the porch and patio during parties and when friends have come to visit and connected it to my home entertainment system for background music during family dinners.
So when Logitech trotted out the new Squeezebox Touch and Radio a few months back, I was eager to get one in so that I could decide whether to make it part of my Christmas self-gifting. But when I contacted Logitech to request a review sample, I found I was too late to the party and ended up on a wait list. Fortunately, the Radio was frequently discounted during the holiday buying season. So I took the plunge and bought one anyway. As it turns out, I'm very glad I did.
You can think of the Radio as a smaller, mono version of the Boom (about half as wide, in fact) with an improved user interface that includes a 2.4" color LCD and a few more front panel controls that make it a bit more intuitive to use. It comes housed in a glossy plastic fingerprint-magnet case in your choice of black or red. (The front panel is the same black for both versions.)
Figure 1 calls out the front and rear panel controls and connectors, which include both line-in and headphone output jacks. Like its siblings, the Radio connects to your network via 10/100 Ethernet or 802.11b/g wireless and setup for either is quick and easy (more shortly).
Figure 1: Squeezebox Radio front and rear panels
Another improvement from the Boom is a compartment for a rechargeable battery. This makes the Radio truly portable vs. the Boom, which has no battery option. You'll need to wait for early next year (March 2010) to order the optional battery pack, however. But if you want an infrared remote, which doesn't come with the Radio, you can order the Boom's remote right now.
It's easy to pry off the speaker grille and remove the two Torx screws that are then revealed. But my gentle prying of the right-hand control panel didn't yield and I didn't want to risk breaking my spouse's new Kitchen entertainment center. So Figure 2 is taken from the FCC ID docs and shows the Radio partially disassembled. It also shows the sizable and not-yet-available optional 18 V battery pack.
Figure 2: Squeezebox Radio opened up
The bi-amped dual speakers are clearly visible and powered by a Class D 10 W amplifier. The Radio can't match the Boom's ability to fill a large room with ample volume from its 30 W amplifier and two sets of speakers. But the Radio's sound was more than adequate for the large Kitchen where we use it and would be loud enough for most other rooms. It probably wouldn't be able to overcome the crowd noise at even a small party, however.
Figure 3 is a closeup of the board, but not close enough to make out all of the parts. The light-colored device just underneath the single antenna is an Atheros single-chip ROCm 802.11b/g radio. The Realtek Ethernet interface is to the left, next to the connector board and I can make out Samsung flash and RAM devices.
Figure 3: Squeezebox Radio board
I can't tell what the large device is with the "PA4" obscuring the part number. But the design appears to not be based on the Ubicom IP3K CPU / TI TAS3204 DSP combination used in the Boom. (The obscured part number appears to start with PCiMX255.)