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Grace Wireless Internet Radio updated, now with Pandora

A recent firmware update has fixed most of CNET's gripes about the Grace Wireless Internet Radio, pushing it toward the forefront of the Wi-Fi radio category.

With the new firmware update, the Grace should be near the top of our shortlist for Wi-Fi radio.

When we reviewed the Grace ITC-IR1000B Wireless Internet Radio back in March, we gave it a mostly positive review, but a couple annoying quirks and a general lack of connectivity kept us from a stronger recommendation. Since that time, Grace has released a firmware update that fixed most of the software bugs we complained about, and the company added the ability to access the Pandora streaming audio service. Since these changes added a good deal of functionality to the radio--and it's still one of the most affordable Wi-Fi radios on the market--we decided to take a second look at it.

The updated review is online now, but the takeaway is that the Grace Wireless Internet Radio is worth a serious look for Wi-Fi radio fans. You can manage your favorite stations and podcasts using the online Reciva service, as well as link your Pandora account to the radio. The Pandora functionality works really well, as you can bookmark new artists that you like, as well as give "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" feedback to make your customized radio station even more accurate. We definitely appreciate the software tweaks to the clock and alarm functionality--you can now set five alarms to each wake you up to a different preset station. The new firmware update even smoothed out the problems we initially had streaming MP3s off a networked PC.

Our major criticism of the Grace still stands, which is that it's a little light on connectivity. There's no auxiliary input, which is a nice option if you want to connect an iPod or other another external audio device. There also isn't a remote, which definitely should have been included, although in our experience we usually listened to the Grace within arms reach. That being said, we've lived with those quirks for quite some time and they really haven't been a major frustration.

Check out our full Wi-Fi radio roundup for more reviews, and also our list of top digital music streamers, most of which can handle Internet radio streaming as well.

Review: Grace ITC-IR1000B Internet Radio