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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Sony Should Do Better
on 24 June 2013
Me and Mrs M were looking for a unit to replace the ancient analogue radio that has served in our kitchen for decades. Our wish list was simple: a radio that ideally would work with DAB, an embedded CD player and the ability to stream music from a PC. Surprisingly, the Sony CMT-G2BNIP seemed to be the only product on the market that did all of these things - nobody else seems to offer an embedded CD player with this combination of features.
We actually purchased the CMT-G2BNIP from Sony's online store because it was 10% cheaper than Amazon and it was delivered by courier without any trouble. Our initial impressions were good: the unit is heavy and robust and yet small enough to be concealed in the corner of our kitchen. You don't so much as turn this unit on, but rather boot it up. It takes a few seconds to connect to the home Wi-Fi and find the services, which we took some getting use to, given that we expect a radio to "just work" immediately after being switched on.
The first negative point was the supplied FM aerial (a wire) which would have looked at home on an alarm clock radio from the 1980's. Very cheap. Unfortunately the DAB aerial was worse: there isn't one supplied, and without it the unit can't receive a DAB signal whatsoever inside the house. Shame Sony, you missed an opportunity there.
However, the discovery of Internet Radio (which Sony call Music Services) was a bonus - potentially hundreds of channels sorted by genre or location. Our Internet connection is excellent (Infinity) and adding another device to the home network is no problem.
Comparing the sound quality of an Internet radio station to a native FM one is amazing - the Internet sounds much better. But here comes one of the biggest problems with the unit: when it loses a stream for whatever reason, rather than reconnecting to it, it stops playing altogether. This is incredibly frustrating. Imagine listening to the radio and it suddenly stops - and the only way to start it again is to go back up one level in the menu and select the station again. What is perhaps most annoying is that this is a random occurrence which may happen at any time. Why Sony decided not to have the unit automatically reconnect to a station, we don't know. It seems a very poor way to implement Internet Radio.
The remote control looks cluttered, there are plenty of buttons but most of them don't seem to be used. Most buttons are of the same size, so buttons that are used almost constantly are as difficult to distinguish from those that you might never touch at all. The text search option for Internet Radio is similar to texting on a phone, i.e. frustrating, and wildcards don't work.
The CD player is acceptable but has difficulty playing discs that appear to have only minor blemishes on their surface. Information provided via the LCD display is minimal, again circa 1980's i.e. track numbers and duration only. Given that this unit is online, we would have expected it to have downloaded artist names and track titles, which is not rocket science.
The sound quality is good if perhaps a little flat, but for BBC radio (when it works) it is more than good enough.
One nice feature is the ability to play music from a USB stick, which was a feature we hadn't thought we'd use but it has already proven itself to be the most reliable form of music playback supported by the product. We haven't yet tried to stream music from a PC but given that it found the Wi-Fi network without any trouble, we're certain that this would not be a problem.
So in summary: as an Internet radio, this unit fails miserably because it doesn't reconnect to a station after a stream has dropped. As a DAB radio, it fails because of the lack of an external aerial. As a CD player, it is OK (just). The remote control is a muddle and hasn't been thought through. Playing music from a USB stick is great, and streaming music has yet to be tested in our house.