Most of the times I write here it’s about something I like or find extra newsworthy. Today will instead mark my first “this is one lousy piece of equipment”. I tried not to, I had the device for over a year but now that I’ve tried to rely on it more regularly it pushed me over the edge.
Dear Logitech Squeezebox Radio, you’re making me more frustrated every day.
The idea behind the device is simple, small internet radio with built in speaker. Great! And it doesn’t stop there, it also use it’s own server solution for wireless music playback anywhere in you house. Neat, even though Google Play Music support would have improved it. The main feature for me however is Spotify support. You just install an app and you can play your playlists from Spotify (also support Wimp and Napster but not Rdio last I checked). Brilliant for a kitchen radio (my preliminary plan) or a bedside radio (my present set-up).
Unfortunately it doesn’t work. The built in WiFi has serious problems holding a connection, even when in the same room as the router. Just for information, I tried with three different routers without any change. Sometimes when I turn it on it just shows no internet connection and other times it just drops it in the middle of listening. In case you thought it might be my internet connection. I’ve tried it in 3 different apartments with 100 mbit, 200 mbit and then back to 100 mbit again. No other streaming services show any similar problems.
Since the UI is a bit tricky I’m using my Android as a remote. Overall a decent looking but too sluggish app. They also hide some functions that I use all the time, like Sleep and Alarm. There’s a lot of room in the main menu so I can’t understand why they are both shuffled away far down in settings. It just doesn’t feel polished, at all. How the same company that makes the Harmony remotes can release this without a need to go into hiding afterwards is beyond me.
The biggest and most annoying problem to me is the sudden stopped playback. It just freezes, jump to next song and it might start playing again. This happens several of times every week (I use it every night and morning). Sometimes it will say that it is because the chosen track is not available in my region. Which of course is utter bs since the same playlist works flawless on both my PC and Android devices. Sometimes it says buffering but nothing happens and jumping out to the main menu and back in again might do the trick. Or it just stops. No message. In one word: UNRELIABLE.
Nowadays you can also update the Squeezebox Radio with Logitech UE firmware. Since this “update” it actually works a liiiittle better. All problems listed above still persist though, albeit more seldom. Now it only stops playing on me a couple of times a week.
If the Squeezebox/UE Smart Radio is anything to go by my recommendation is that you stay way clear of both the Squeezebox and UE brands. I know I will, no matter how solid the idea is the solution is far from “the smart radio” they want it to be. Squeezebox where “the only” option back when owned by SlimDevices, they aren’t any more so go for the competitors instead. Today I often use my bluetooth headset connected to my stereo instead and that’s saying something.