Roberts WM201 Portable Stereo ( MP3, Internet Radio )
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- Alarm Clock
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The Roberts Stream 201 is a 3 in 1 Internet radio, network media player and alarm clock with both wired Ethernet and wireless networking. It connects to over 6000 Internet stations, streams audio media from uPnP devices such as PCs with Windows Media Player 11 and has a sophisticated clock/alarm system with 4 independent alarm settings.
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'Reciva' or 'Frontier Silicon'
WM201 uses the Reciva Internet Radio system and 83i uses Frontier Silicon WiFi Radio Portal which seemed, from my limited experience, to be better. For example I found Science 360 straight away with Frontier Silicon but it did not appear on a search with Reciva and nor could I work out how to 'add it for my own use'. With either system you need to register etc. At first I could easily set up and use particular podcasts and some Australian stations with Frontier but could not get the same things tuned in with Reciva. There was no acknowledgement to a message about this, no big deal for us but if you are considering WM201, and you want the widest range of station options, some more research would be worthwhile.
They both come with small remotes with a range of only six feet. Happily universal remotes give a much more useful 30ft.
Both give a full rich 'room filling' sound but only 83i has DAB, FM, and a USB socket on the front for media.
83i can be connected to a roof aerial, which was needed for our other DAB radios but not for 83i, so sensitivity seemed very good.
Wi-Fi connection to a TalkTalk Huawei HG533 router and checking that software was updated were no problem, except that one of these radios seemed to require 10 letters in the WEP code (apologies that I can't remember which!).
Both have alarms, WM201 has queuing for media, and 83i has a sleep timer
WM201 has six presets which can be accessed directly and another six which can only be accessed through the menus. 83i has five direct presets for DAB + five for Internet, with five more of each which can be accessed through the menus. On 83i, pressing Mode-Mode-Mode conveniently switches between DAB and Internet through a cycling list of six inputs, but WM201 has three discrete commands: Radio, Media, Aux. The menus are a bit tricky to say the least, so a sophisticated universal remote can make it much easier to access the nested functions.
With Harmony remotes
As long as a generic device is set up rather than 'Roberts xxx', you can have 'Favorite' channel buttons together with icons for those with coloured screens. To do this the radio device should be specified as a 'TV', the manufacturer as 'something or other', e.g.'dummy', the model as e.g.'1'. The setup software then gives 'GenericAAA etc' as the default name for the unrecognised device. As usual, the 'genericAAA' 'TV Device' can be re-named and the relatively few available commands for the radio taught to it. Finally, for Favorites screens to be accessible, 'Watch Tv' must be used for the activity-type used for the e.g.'Listen to Radio' activity.
For WM201, the direct preset numbers 1 to 6 can be associated with each 'channel number' in the Favorites pages, with access to nested presets and up/down the list on a few more buttons. For the same 1-6 presets in WM201's Favorites, and Podcasts as an alternative to the nested presets, it seemed this could only be done by setting up a second radio activity.
For 83i, the direct preset numbers 1 to 5 for 83i's five 'channel numbers' on DAB and a matching five on internet, can be associated with each 'channel number' in the Favorites pages. Split icons were used, with a pair of stations on each, and one Favorite for switching.
The facility to use an alternative remote control was most welcome because the original remotes are inadequate, so one star off. Otherwise both WM201 and 83i are highly recommended, especially with Harmony Favorites.
It also found my Twonky NAS drive on my wireless network without any fuss at all, so I can also stream all my FLAC music collection through the Roberts as well; great stuff.
Of course the sound quality isn't anywhere near as good as a HiFi separates system and nor would I expect it to be; but it is more than adequate for what I require in the bedroom.
The unit is solidly built and looks nice in its piano black finish. The backlight is adjustable so it isn't too bright with the lights off. My only criticism would be that the remote control is a bit `down market' and feels flimsy in comparison to the rest of the unit. Manufacturers should realise that the remote is how people interact with their products most of the time so a quality, well made one is a vital piece of the image. Roberts you lose one star for this.
Having said that, this is a great unit and great value at this price point. No more fizzy AM Radio 5 Live for me and I'm sure internet radio will spell the end for DAB.
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