They don't get the hype that iPods or AV receivers do, but Wi-Fi radios are some of the more satisfying products a gadgetphile can own, opening up access to thousands of free Internet radio stations. VTech is best known for its cordless phones
, but the company has entered the increasingly crowded Wi-Fi radio space with the IS9181 Wi-Fi radio
($160 street price). Instead of putting out a generic Wi-Fi radio, the VTech has a truly unique set of features, with a color LCD display, portability (with six AA batteries), and a downfiring subwoofer that puts out plenty of bass.
On the other hand, some features that are standard on other radios are noticeably missing: the IS9181 lacks Pandora support, a headphone jack, or the ability to stream podcasts. Overall, the VTech IS9181 offers up a compelling Wi-Fi radio package at an attractive price--and its currently the best portable option on the market--but it's definitely worth comparing competing products
, like the Grace GDI-IR2000
, to see what set of features fit your needs best.