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; remote included; auxiliary input for connecting an iPod; five separate alarms.
The Bad Doesn't sound as good as last year's model.
The Bottom Line The Grace GDI-IR2000 Wi-Fi radio has an exceptional feature set for the price and a stylish design, but it doesn't sound as good as its predecessor.
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-IR2000 is its successor, and it fixes two of our biggest criticisms by adding a remote to the package as well as an auxiliary input, so you can easily connect an iPod. We also loved the new "stay connected" feature, which allows the GDI-IR2000 to start playing music faster when you turn it on. On the downside, we felt like the GDI-IR2000 was a step backward in terms of sound quality; it's not bad, but it sounded tinny and muffled next to the ITC-IR1000. If you're not picky about sound quality, the GDI-IR2000 is an outstanding value and improves on all the major shortcomings of its predecessor. 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-IR2000 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-IR2000's antenna is contained inside the unit. In all, we think it's a stylish look.