Logitech Squeezebox Radio: The next great Wi-Fi radio?

Logitech announces the Squeezebox Radio, which fits most of the functionality of the excellent Squeezebox Boom into a smaller package and for just $200.

Logitech already owns the Editors' Choice award for Wi-Fi radios with the Squeezebox Boom , but it looks as if the company may be competing with itself for the award with the newly announced Squeezebox Radio ($200 list price).

From the initial news release, the Squeezebox Radio looks to pack most of the functionality of the Boom into an even smaller package; that means you can stream your MP3 collection plus thousands of internet radio stations and music services like Rhapsody, Napster, Pandora, Sirius, and Last.fm. It also one-ups the Boom by adding a color screen, and the capability to display album art, artist/track information, and Flickr slideshows. Logitech also mentions Facebook integration--a first on Squeezebox products--so you can share your favorite tracks with your friends.

Aside from the feature list, the Squeezebox Radio also looks to have one of the most attractive designs of any Wi-Fi radio we've seen. The controls are clearly labeled and smartly positioned, and as we've seen on the Philips NP2900 and VTech IS9181 , a color display really makes using a Wi-Fi radio more enjoyable. One of the big hurdles for the Squeezebox Radio to clear is whether it can fill the duty of a full-time alarm clock. Most Wi-Fi radios include alarm functionality, but it's rare that they measure up to the reliability and ease of use of traditional tabletop radios.

The $200 price may seem like a lot for a radio, but it compares favorably to the existing competition. (Logitech will also offer a $50 supplement that adds a wireless remote and a battery pack for true cordless operation.) As much as we loved the Boom, it's hard to recommend a Wi-Fi radio that costs nearly $300. We'll save our final judgment for the hands-on review; we're expecting to get a review sample later this month. Until then, the Squeezebox Radio will be one of the most highly anticipated products for us of 2009.

 

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