Sometimes the simplest things in life are the most enjoyable. If you enjoy online radio stations as much as I do, you know that turning on your PC just to listen to music or news can be a major pain. ComOne took the middle man out and gave you internet radio without using your PC, the Phoenix Wifi Radio.
ComOne was gracious enough to send the Phoenix Wifi over to the TOV camp for a test run, and it’s been running ever since. This is one of the few things in my house that’s been in every room, and has been on continuously.
Despite some quirks in reception and its online account management, the Phoenix Wifi is a useful machine that can satisfy your urge for internet radio.
The overall appearance of the Phoenix Wifi Radio is sleek and clean with a solid white front, speakers on each side, white buttons on the bottom, and a soft blue LCD display in the center. The Phoenix Wifi measures 5” high, 8 ¾“wide, 3”deep, and weighs less than 3 lbs. This is ideal for a bookshelf, office desk, or even to serve as your early wake up alarm. If you’re into portability, with the rechargeable batteries included, you can pop this contraption of joy into your knapsack or briefcase, and just turn it on near the local wifi spot.
Navigating through the Phoenix Wifi is fairly easy with the soft directional pad, and home button. You can toggle back to your previous screen without losing your current radio station, pause and play, or go forward to the next menu and you can set your equalizer to different listening modes, alarm assigning, and stand-by. You can always hit the home button, and trek back to the beginning and check your other menu options from Radios, Podcasts, Other Services (which include Alarm Tones, Audio Backgrounds, and Audio Books), setting up Networks & Bookmarks, and of course, your configuration setting.
The simple fact of having a portable online radio is enough for me to say the Phoenix Wifi Radio serves its purpose. It contains an array of popular radio stations and podcasts, as well as having simplistic navigation for setups, and configuration. After registering the Phoenix Wifi Radio on ComOne’s website, you will then have the ability to edit your account, and change features to your Phoenix Wifi such as adding/deleting any radio stations or podcasts, and any updates needed for your wifi radio. The Phoenix Wifi also serves as a receiver to connect your MP3 player. You can hook up your MP3 player to the Phoenix Wifi Radio, and listen to your all-time favorites. In all, functionality is there, with a few more tidbits.
Though the Phoenix Wifi does show some major advantages in terms of overall function, navigation, and ease of use, we had quite a bit of trouble trying to access the already preset stations listed on the Phoenix Wifi. Some of the stations were not readily accessible with wifi connection, yet I was able to connect to these same online stations via wireless notebook. However, once you do actually get connected, you’re subject to the occasional buffering throughout the duration of your listening pleasure.
Podcasting is a cool feature for the Phoenix Wifi. You’re able to listen to an array of podcasts ranging from business to sports. This is great since podcasts are now the new trend instead of listening to the actual live news. However, you still need to log in to the ComOne website in order to sync the podcasts to the Phoenix Wifi radio. This is a bit of a hassle considering the Phoenix is a wireless radio and should have readily accessible modes to the podcasts without having to sign into your pc and edit your account.
Needless to say, this part of the whole Phoenix Wifi package was not my absolute favorite. With all the Phoenix Wifi has to offer, we were a little bit disappointed with the sound quality of the speakers, and the lack of stereo function to switch to. Though the Phoenix Wifi allows for different types of listening modes (Rock and Pop, Classical, Blues, etc), there was still that monotone sound coming from weak speakers. Sound quality was muffled and gave me the feeling of listening to the local A.M. station for weather updates. For a wallet lightener of about $210.00, we were expecting a little more.
What can I say, there is nothing ugly about it. It’s a cute alarm clock that rocks out to your favorite online stations. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
How does this compare to other digital music outlets such as IPods, and media players? This is a very tough question to answer. The bottom line is, if you’re into online radio stations, and don’t wish to be confined to just the MP3’s your IPod holds, then the Phoenix Wifi Radio is your best route.
Krush is giving the Phoenix Wifi Radio 4 out of 5.