At first glance, the Squeezebox seems to represent the mutated offspring of an iPod; part wireless media receiver, part music box, part TV remote control.
The actual Squeezebox though, is not so unusual. No bigger than a pulpy airport paperback, Logitech’s Squeezebox is two pieces in a package: a stylish LCD powered remote and a small black box. A light on the front of the unit displays different colours to inform you whether it is receiving a wireless signal or not – the main way the box connects. An Ethernet connection port is also available.
Unfortunately the box is priced a little too steep for most users - $599, enough to scare off most punters. But the Squeezebox duet is fairly unique to the market, and the build workmanship is A+ quality.
As a direct comparison, the wireless Apple TV unit goes for $449, comes with an in-built hard drive (which the Squeezebox could really use)and the ability to play video. The Squeezebox duet is purely a wireless music player, so don’t expect videos, although it’s glaringly obvious to us that it’s the one capability we would most love to have on the unit.
However, if you're still interested, we're pleased to say that the Squeezebox is neat enough to hide away in your entertainment system and pretty enough to get both female and male approval where we tested it.
|The Squeezebox duet will fit nicely with your stereo or TV unit|
The player connects via two ordinary red and white audio cables and has a digital audio port for optimum sound quality. We recommend using the digital audio connector if you have the option from your home audio setup.
You are given the ability to send tunes from any pre-chosen internet server storing your music collection (by typing in the I.P address) which is nice.
Even nicer, you can dial up a world of internet radio. The Squeezebox takes advantage of high bitrate net radio and plays your tunes wherever the Squeezebox audio cables are hardwired.
That can be as simple as connecting it to one of the unused AV ports on your TV. Then once you have a wireless connection, it’s just a matter of using the LCD remote wherever the connection is.
The remote wins hands down in the aesthetics department. For ease of navigation, the iPod-inspired toggle wheel is very easy to use and the menus are well written and straightforward.
The remote device is cased in stylish black plastic. Taking up a couple of inches on the device is a small colour LCD screen that displays the details of the chosen music selection. Those streaming music off their own wireless servers will be able to access album cover art as well.
Clicking on songs is highly responsive, whilst lag is mostly undetectable. Setting up the remote device was quick and painless. For newbies, it could even be considered confidence-building.
You’ll need to get used to Internet radio if you aren’t going to stream from you own personal computer, but that’s not quite the end of the world. Internet radio is actually very good these days and the styles and choices in genre and taste are far-reaching. There is probably a song for every type of music fan out there in Net radio land.
The Squeezebox comes equipped with a number of high quality Net radio pre-selections; some let you search by genre or locations, while others are slanted towards generic ‘top 100’ and ‘top 20’ hit lists.
Other stations give you the chance to go from 80’s new wave at 128kps to blazing bluegrass at similar audio quality in a couple of finger twitches. It’s a nice alternative to local FM radio and features much less ads.