This is my second internet radio, the first being the much flasher Pure Sensia 200D - that's the egg shaped one at more than twice the price. UInfortunately that one simply won't work as it won't stay connected to the wifi; a common problem it seems. Anyway because I still wanted an internet radio I searched and found out a couple of things. Firstly, it's a really small pool of options and secondly Logitech seem to be the only manufacturer who is generally well regarded and has an integrated approach.
So here I am in possession of a shiny new internet radio at a very reasonable price. Check around for that by the way. I bought mine on Amazon and it's gone up in price since then, and currently cheaper on the Logitech website.
Setup is easy. Simply plug it in and power up. It will ask for the network key and then log on and in my case download an update immediately. After that you can surf internet radio via Tune In.
You can save favourites, get information and search by location. Very neat, very simple and very easy. Sound is good albeit in mono. I also like the fact that you can use a Cat5 cable to connect if you don't have good wifi or prefer it.
Of course as in life there are ups and downs. There is no remote control which I guess helps the price stay reasonable. On the plus side you can download a free app to your Android or iPhone device. Since another review has written, the app is available on a tablet and I have mine on a Kindle Fire HD.
The only other issue I noted was that I couldn't get the time to display when the radio was switched off. This defeated some of the reason for this item as it is in my bedroom and was to double up as a clock and alarm. However I noted on the website that this was an issue on some radios on first startup and resetting to factory via the menu cured it. This I did and it has worked correctly since.
Actually there is one other small irritation. A lack of a decent manual. The one that comes with the radio is a simple start up one and has nothing in it that tells you about settings etc. I figured that like many manufacturers today it would be available on line. But it isn't. On the Logitech website you only have the basic manual leaving you to work out yourself how to set up alarms, stations and clock. It's easy enough and intuitive, however I would have thought it not beyond reasonable to have a full instruction set available on line.
on 12 April 2014
First a disclaimer: I've never used this as a UE radio.
I have a Squeezebox touch which I love, and I was so disappointed when Logitech discontinued the Squeezebox range. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never be able to add a second Squeezebox music play to my network, and would only be able to listen to my music collection in one room.
Although it looks identical to the now discontinued Squeezebox radio, I had pooh-poohed the UE, as I wanted to do more than play internet radio.
Then by chance I found a post on the Logitech forum saying it was possible to swap the UE radio software back to Squeezebox software. So I bought it and I could not be happier with it! Squeezebox fans, salvation is here in the form of a little tucked away option in the settings menu that asks if you want to use it as a UE radio or a Squeezebox radio. After that, it behaves perfectly as a Squeezebox player - it plays my Squeezebox server music collection, syncs with my Squeezebox Touch and can be controlled through the Squeezebox app on my phone and computer.
Hallelujah! All I can say is a big thank you to the Logitech technician who disagreed with the High Command’s decision to scrap Squeezebox, and subversively included it here! Viva la revolution!
Enough about Logitech politics.
Physically this radio is very nice. It is well built with a smart glossy black finish (which unfortunately does show up fingerprints and dust quite a lot) and solid feeling buttons/wheels. The screen is excellent - sharp, full colour, and in my opinion the perfect size for it's use. In fact, the entire radio is perfectly sized for it's intended use. It's not meant to be used as the main stereo system in the lounge, but for a kitchen/bedroom/study radio it's just right.
It also has one major benefit over it's Squeezebox radio ancestor - it has an integrated rechargeable battery which allows you to unplug it and take it all round the house. I keep it on the bedside table and use it as an alarm clock and to listen to music in bed, but I also regularly unplug it and take it to the kitchen whilst I'm cooking, or the bathroom if I have a bath. The battery is supposed to last 6 hours. I've never had it unplugged and playing for that long, but it certainly lasts 2+ hours and the battery indicator says over half full, so I'm confident that is quite an accurate boast.
The sound is very good as well. It is only mono, but there is a lot of range, and I've never had it over 60% volume, even during a party! The wifi connection will depend on distance, your house, your router etc. but I have never had any drop outs or buffering problems and my flat is quite big.
Connections if you are interested: 1x LAN (not necessary if using wi-fi), 1x 3.5mm line in (play from MP3 player etc) 1x 3.5mm headphone, 1x power in
Although this is a very well built device, with good sound quality for it's size and a very useful rechargeable battery, I would consider the UE radio quite an expensive way to get internet radio.
When you consider the fact that you can easily and legitimately change it to a Squeezebox radio and all the benefits of the Squeezebox system (being able to play your digital music library, control it with your phone, sync it with your existing Squeezebox devices etc) AND the good build quality/sound quality/rechargeable battery, then it becomes an absolute bargain.
Squeezebox lovers around the world rejoice! Don't hate the UE radio because it is inferior, embrace it for keeping Squeezebox alive!
This is one of the most impressive internet radios I've seen reflecting its part of Logitech's growing UE premium brand. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone looking to buy an internet radio. Specific advantages include:
1. Very easy set up. Simply turn it on and connect to your wireless network (for which you're need the name of the network and password)
2. If you don't have a wireless network the radio has an ethernet port so it can be wired to the internet.
3. An inbuilt rechargeable battery so that while it is normally used as a mains radio it can be carried around with you as a portable.
4. Good interface that allows you to select favourite channels, selected by one of the 6 radio channel buttons on the front of the radio; inbuilt ability to pause a radio programme if you're interrupted; efficient management of the vast number of stations available. with an ability to find channels regionally, by theme (such as talk radio, news, pop etc) or based on what you're currently listening to.
5. Seamless delivery of sound with no stalling of a radio stream.
6. Excellent iOS and Android free apps to allow better control of the radio.
7. A detailed programme guide for most stations.
8. Fully featured clock-radion (although not particularly stylish to sit by the side of your bed).
It's not quite perfect however with the following limitations:
1. Only one speaker so although the sound quality is good it's in mono.
2. No DAB, FM or any other form of radio receiver so if the internet is not available you can't listen to the radio!
3. You cannot listen to most BBC on demand programmes as the radio fails via its software to let the BBC know it's in the UK!
4. The colour display could be a little larger.
5. The finish - a gloss black - is a magnate for fingerprints.
6. While having a good build quality and in built battery this means the radio is a bit heavy to carry around as a portable.
7. Some functions require you to use an associated app so if you don't have an iPhone or Android device you might be in trouble. Plus there's no tablet version of the app yet.
Overall this is a good radio with lots of features. I'd like it to feature stereo speakers, DAB/FM functionality and a software update to access BBC iPlayer content to get four or five stars though. At the moment 3 1/2, 4 if the iPlayer is fixed.
This is more than just an Internet radio. Out of the box, it will play internet radio with thousands of stations available, no setup required beyond connection to your home network, usually Wi-Fi though a port for wired Ethernet is available too. Find a station you like, press a preset and it is saved.
Sound quality is mono, but surprisingly rich and deep, thanks to separate woofer and tweeter and the usual high quality of the Squeezebox system.
Squeezebox system? This is where you need a little background. Squeezebox was originally a system for streaming music from your computer to one or more players around the house. It was extended via plugins to support internet radio and more. A great system, but users found it too complicated, or Logitech thought that they did, so the Squeezebox brand seems to have been abandoned.
It lives on here, though in simplified form. You can download the UE Music Library and install it on a PC or Mac, whereupon the Smart Radio will automatically find it and list your music collection as My Music. Supported formats are MP3, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, and Apple Lossless. Album artwork shows up on the 2.4 inch colour screen.
The UE Music Library is none other than the old Squeezebox server, though cut down so that features such as plugins, playlist, and remote control of players are missing. This is annoying. Worse still, there is no compatibility. The Smart Radio cannot play music from an existing Squeezebox server, and an old Squeezebox cannot connect to UE Music Library.
While that sounds bad, it is not as bad as it seems. You can install the UE Music Library alongside a Squeezebox server, and it automatically sorts out the ports so it can run side by side and stream the same music collection. Although it is a shame to lose features, the new system does require less configuration, and retains its most important feature, which is to let you play music anywhere in the house.
You can download a remote app for iPhone and Android that lets you control your Smart Radio, selecting stations or tracks and albums from your music library. Search is easier on the remote app than with the rotary controller on the Radio itself. No iPad support yet, which is a shame.
You can also log in to Logitech's cloud service, where you can add services such as Spotify, Live Music Archive and Last.fm, though note that most of these require a paid subscription for full access.
The Smart Radio makes a neat 7-day clock radio. When in standby it shows a clock with date and time, and you can set alarms to sound only on selected days.
Physically the Smart Radio is very similar to the Squeezebox Radio. However, the Smart Radio comes with a 6-hour rechargeable battery included, which is handy. If you don't need the battery, the old model may be better value.
There is also a hidden feature, an infrared receptor. Point a Squeezebox remote at the unit and it works, though no remote is supplied and since it is undocumented I guess this feature might disappear in later production runs.
As a long-term Squeezebox enthusiast I came to the UE Smart Radio expecting to be disappointed, but was pleasantly surprised. It is still a slightly quirky system, but the added ease of use made me understand why Logitech has chosen to remove some features. You no longer need to select between a local and internet server, making it less confusing, unless for some reason you have multiple Music Libraries installed on the network (and why would you?).
There are a few things I would like to see. There is no line out other than the headphone socket, and I would prefer a fixed output for connection to a hi-fi system, especially if the other Squeezebox players disappear. I also find the controls non-intuitive at times.
Still, look at what you get. Physically the Smart Radio is great, well made, with a beautiful black gloss finish. Sound is excellent. And you can still play your small or large home music collection as well as connecting to a huge range of Internet radio stations and other music services. It may seem expensive, but once you appreciate the capabilities on offer it is good value.
on 25 November 2013
3 stars as a UE Smart Radio but 5 stars once converted to a Squeezebox - so much more functionality!!
Simply go into the advanced menu and scroll down to select 'Switch to Squeezebox'.
The Logitech UE Smart Radio is NOT a Squeezebox Radio - although it looks identical bar a few cosmetic differences. Squeezebox fans are not going to like it but new users will find it more user-friendly than the older platform. Squeezebox was originally a product of Slim Devices Inc, a company Logitech acquired in 2006, Logitech then developed the platform to give us the Squeezebox Radio and the superb Squeezebox Touch.
Ultimate Ears "UE" is a company founded in the mid-nineties by American sound engineer Jerry Harvey, and his ex wife Mindy, to produce in-ear monitors for professional musicians to use on tour. After gaining an excellent reputation, with a few problems along the way, the company was acquired by Logitech in 2008. Logitech are now promoting this more up-market "UE" brand and seem to be dropping the wonderful - yet very quirky - Squeezebox platform. Hence this rather cobbled-together mixture of a Squeezebox Radio which operates on the new "UE" platform and is now called a Smart Radio.
There is a huge difference between the two platforms and UE is missing many of the features of its predecessor. However, if you have never used Squeezebox and are looking for something much better than DAB then this Smart Radio gives you the chance to use services such as Spotify and Napster as well as being a top class internet radio which is very user-friendly.
The Smart Radio is difficult for me to judge objectively as I am disappointed by what it doesn't do that Squeezebox did. However, it is still a great sounding radio for its size, comes with a rechargeable battery included - unlike SB, and can be used with an SB remote control. You really do need to use the iOS or Android App to get anywhere with it, however, as you can't even download the Logitech Apps to the Radio in stand-alone mode. If you do not have a smart device you will need to use a computer and the UE website.
If you are looking for your first internet radio then this will more than satisfy your needs and would warrant four or five stars. If you are a Squeezebox fan - don't bother with UE unless Logitech completely drop the SB platform, this is a huge step in the wrong direction for you! Personally, I will be sticking with Squeezebox for as long as I can and give UE three stars for now in the hope that Logitech will improve the new platform over time.
on 24 April 2013
After a three months search for a decent DAB radio (in vain) I finally decided to give up listening to crap sound from stuff that looked like sixties furniture or handbags. Instead I spent a little more cash and bought something that gives me virtually unlimited choice of music.
It's given up the ghost once requiring a reset, but it kept my presets so no problem.
The only thing I'd mark it down on is the limited number of presets it allows (6). In a world of millions of radio stations to choose from 6 isn't nearly enough.
on 10 December 2012
Looks like a Squeezebox radio, sounds like a Squeezebox radio but if you're familiar with the SB Radio and are looking for a replacement / additional unit you may want to look elsewhere.
- Easy to set up. Log in to your wifi and you'll be listening to internet radio almost immediately through the built-in apps. TuneIn Radio is available out of the box giving you the ability to find internet radio stations by genre, region etc.
- The UE Smart Radio website [...] allows you to add apps which open up a wider range of online content including BBC Radio streaming, RadioFeeds UK for a comprehensive listing of internet radio feeds in the UK. There are a number of other apps offering streamed content, many of which look interesting.
- Sound quality is good.
- Built-in battery is good for portability. (SB Radio battery is sold as an extra)
- Fade-in of alarm sounds. This is an excellent feature (also on the original SB Radio) and should feature on more clock-radio alarms.
- BBC Podcasts can be found via the TuneIn Radio app, BUT because TuneIn Radio does not allow you to set the region you are in, the BBC podcasts are unavailable for access / cannot be played (says they are "forbidden"). This MAY be resolved in future releases of apps for the UE Smart Radio, but users should be aware. If you want to listen to BBC "Listen Again" content, then this is NOT available at present.
- Logitech have changed the media server software so that the previously available Logitech Media Server is now the UE Media Library software. No big deal if you are used to running this from your Mac or PC but I have dedicated LMS kit serving my music and apps which would NOT work with the UE Smart Radio (Raspberry Pi + Squeezeplug + USB drive). SB Radio setup relied on the mySqueezebox.com servers if you didn't have a local LMS server, and occasionally these have failed - most recently after the Storm Sandy hit the East cost of the USA.
- What the Squeezebox community had going for it was an open-source development community that allowed a HUGE number of applications / add-ins and widgets for the SB Radio. Unfortunately with the UE Smart Radio it looks like this "tweakability" has been lost. For some this is a minor issue, but it certainly limits what you can do with this device to whatever Logitech and UE want you to be able to do. Which is a shame.
8/10 for ease of setup
8/10 for the hardware
4/10 for the add-ons available via uesmartradio.com (may ultimately improve)
2/10 for the ability to "Listen Again" to BBC content / podcasts
1/10 for the ability to customise.
on 16 June 2015
Lovely product but one star deducted because Logitech no longer supports the Squeezebox Android phone app.
This is the second Logitech UE Smart radio we have bought as we liked the first one so much. Fiddly manual controls but much easier if you use a phone app instead. Nice rich sound quality. You can switch from UE to Squeezebox firmware through the radio's own front panel, but if you want to switch back again (which we did because the Squeezebox app no longer works on Android Lollipop) the only way to do this is by creating an online account and downloading the original firmware from there. It took several hours of headscratching to work this out but it all worked well in the end.
on 27 December 2014
Warning.....if you want to use this device overseas do not purchase. This is the second UESR I have purchase, this one to use in Qatar. From Qatar the unit cannot ping the uesmartradio.com site so it is unusable. In addition the unit is no longer supported by Logitech...not even listed...and as such unregistetable ....so you are on your own. If you can get the radio to work....it is excellent !