These small little cube internet radios come with no dials and knobs to tune.
These are aimed to be simple to use and easy to set up so how did it fair?
These come in 5 colours (pink, green, blue, black and white) which may appeal to the teen market. It makes a perfect first radio.
This is set up by downloading the software from the site first and then connecting the radio to your computer. First you connect the radio to your Wi-Fi network (802.11b/g) and key in any relevant password (WEP,WPA or WPA2). Once you have the network connected then you go to the next tab and pick your radio stations. You have a choice of four stations which you simply drag to the right hand side of the box. You also have the option to listen to podcasts on the radio.
Ok so as simply as that you are now set up to go.
To change channels you simply rotate the radio round- whichever number is at the top is the channel you have selected to listen to.
Then to increase the volume tip up the front of the radio and to reduce hold the front of the radio down.
If you want to turn it off simply place the speaker face down.
It is a rechargeable unit so you simply charge it up, using the supplied charger, and then move the unit round the house, into the garden with you etc. It lasts for 14 hours on a single charge.
It will flash green when you are moving the unit to a new station as it picks up the signal but it only seems to take a moment.
This worked really well the first day I tried it but then on day two I picked it up and no amount of turning could get a response and the light flashed red.
Odd I thought as I don’t turn the Wi-Fi on and off so it should not have lost connection.
Nothing seemed to persuade it to go so I put it back on charge in case it had run flat…still nothing…so I then connected the device back to the computer….it remembered all the channels so why was it not working?
So I did the easy thing I walked away and when I came back it was playing a radio channel.
So that was a puzzle why it could not see WiFi signal when my pc right next to it was connected with no problem.
So maybe that was a one off so testing continued… talking to Q2 technical support – who were extremely helpful and informed, they suggested that the connection might have been affected by nearby Bluetooth and indeed turning off the Bluetooth connection on a nearby phone did improve the connectivity.
If you need to change the channels just connect the radio to the computer and select an alternative station. It takes just a moment to change the channels with a simple drag operation.
The system can also handle podcasts and I asked Garry to take a look at that:-
My first impression was how easy it is to add a podcast you want to listen to onto the device just select your podcast from the list and drag it to the visual representation of the side of the Q2 you want to use it on in the software. My second impression was that none of the TDL podcasts were listed. The Q2radio site does allow you to request a new radio station does allow you to request they add an internet radio station on a pretty straightforward form. Unfortunately I couldn’t see how to add a podcast. Fortunately Q2 support was again very helpful and quickly added both the TDL Show and TDL Mobile. They also agreed to raise the issue of the form for a future release.
I was very impressed with the help from support and also with their honesty on the products limitations when it comes to podcasts. Simplicity is the key with the Q2 it is incredibly easy to listen to the podcast of your choice. Just as with an Internet Radio station above all you do is tip the device so the side with your podcast on is topmost (the sides are numbered to help) and the device will connect and start playing the current episode. This is great but if you want to choose another episode you cannot with this device – it only plays the latest episode. Also if you want to Rewind, Pause or Fast forward the podcast well then again you cannot. I could almost live with this but the real Achilles heel for this device in handling podcasts is that is anything disrupts the connection the Q2 will restart the podcast from the start again. As much as I love Ian Dixon’s dulcet tones hearing him intro last week’s episode over and over again was no fun. Having said that the interruption in my case was due to the aforementioned Bluetooth running on my iPhone – turning that off completely removed the issue and I was able to keenly listen to Ian and Andrew’s chatter on the show all the way through. Once it reaches the end of the podcast it starts again from the start of the podcast – which I wasn’t sure about as a feature. I do have one other issue which is that occasionally the TDL Show podcast will play in what appears to be slow motion. Restarting the podcast seems to solve this issue. Q2 Support are investigating this latter issue and we will update you with any news.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have the Q2 on a long term test and I have to say despite the limitations above I have found myself using the Q2 a lot to listen to podcasts. It is just so convenient to turn it on and flip it over to listen. The sound quality is also really good and very listenable too.
It is worth pointing out that the unit can accept on-line software updates which the set-up program informs the user of available as soon as you launch it.
Speaking to Q2 Support about future plans they said: We plan to introduce some extra features on the next update: for instance the ability to enter your own station URLs in case you have your own Shoutcast server or a favourite station that is not one of the 17500 available and a manual IP address input window in case you don’t use DHCP.
Also the podcast restart issue is on the list of updates so that the unit will remember where it left off if interrupted.
Overall we love the concept of the Q2 it is simplicity itself to setup and use. There are some definite limitations brought on by that very simplicity which are more with podcasts than Internet Radio. The susceptibility to outside interference could be an issue so you might want to make sure you can test the Q2 in your own environment. Q2 support is really good and they do seem to be looking to improve the radios at all times. For a first introduction to Wi-Fi radio or for someone who finds technology difficult to use this would be great.
The average price for this is £89.