The Good Wi-Fi radio that tunes into thousands of free Internet radio stations; can access both Pandora and Sirius; uses online Reciva portal to organize your favorite stations and podcasts; stylish exterior design; fast start-up time; both WEP and WPA security supported; five separate alarms.
The Bad Doesn't sound as good as last year's model; no remote; lacks an auxiliary input.
The Bottom Line The Grace GDI-IR1000 Wi-Fi radio does a great job streaming Internet radio, Pandora, Sirius, and podcasts at a bargain price, but it doesn't sound as good as its predecessor.
Editors' note: The GDI-IR1000 is nearly identical to the GDI-IR2000, except the GDI-IR1000 lacks a remote and an auxiliary input. Otherwise, the units are identical, and therefore the reviews are very similar.
One of our favorite products of 2008 was the Grace ITC-IR1000 Wi-Fi radio. It was affordable, with an excellent feature set, and its sound quality was top-notch for the price. The Grace GDI-IR1000 is the update to last year's model, keeping things mostly the same except for some evolutionary changes. We love the new "stay connected" feature, which allows the GDI-IR1000 to start playing music faster when you turn it on. There are also EQ controls allowing you to adjust the sound quality to your liking. However, even with the EQ controls, we felt that the GDI-IR1000 was a step backward in terms of sound quality; it's not bad, but it sounded tinny and muffled next to the ITC-IR1000. Also note that the GDI-IR1000 lacks a remote and an auxiliary input--if those features are important to you, you'll want to step up to the GDI-IR2000. If you're not picky about sound quality, the GDI-IR1000 still offers great functionality at a bargain price. If sound quality is important to you, try to hunt down an ITC-IR1000 before they're discontinued or consider stepping up to the excellent (but more expensive) Squeezebox Boom.
The look of the GDI-IR1000 is nearly identical to that of its predecessor. From the front, the left side is dominated by a 5-inch, 5-watt speaker behind a black grille. Toward the center are nine buttons used to load presets, navigate menus, and control playback with digital music. The small knob underneath controls volume and the larger knob is used to navigate menus; you push the menu knob to make selections. The faceplate is all black, with thin silver trimming around the outside. Last year's model had an external Wi-Fi antenna in the back, while the GDI-IR1000's antenna is contained inside the unit. In all, we think it's a stylish look.