Friday, September 12, 2008

Sangean Wi-Fi Internet Radio WFR-20 Review

Listen to the world...for free!

My first contact with the Sangean WFR-20 was the packaging, and I was not the least bit impressed. However, when I opened the box things started to change. The unit looked great, retro but great, with its black lacquered finish and the big "cyclopean" knob right in the front

Using the Internet Radio:

I could not wait to hear how the 2 x 75mm/5 watts loudspeakers would sound. Connecting to my wireless network was fast and easy. The radio then displayed the main mode menu. I selected "Radio Stations" and had a choice of Location, Genre, or BBC, which was set by default in preset one. The station I settled on was streaming at 128 kbps (high quality) and I remembered going whoa!! The sound was really good, rich and loud, beyond my expectation. It was also powerful enough to fill up the room with no distortion.

Next, I started to play around and selected stations from all over the world, either by location or genre. Even at a rate of 16 or 32 kbps the audio quality was pretty decent. The WFR-20 uses the internet radio technology developed by a British company, Reciva. You can log into their website and open an account for free. This will allow you to customize your radio by adding your favorite streams, podcasts, in what is called "My Stuff". You simply have to register your radio by entering its serial number.

PC Streaming:

The WFR-20 is also an audio streamer. You can play your music collection on your PC by connecting in two ways: to folders shared on the network (Windows Shares) or with file server application using the Universal Plug and Play protocol (UPnP): ex Media Player for MP3, WMA, and WAV files.

I used an UPnP and once again the process was real easy and, now as expected, the sound quality excellent.

The big navigation knob takes a little time to get used to, and this is when the remote control came in handy. It is a real plus, no question.

Icing on the cake, this unit also offers:

  • An alarm clock, to wake up to the sound of your favorite station,
  • A line out for an external amplifier,
  • A line in for any audio device connecting via a 3.5mm jack (iPod, CD Player...),
  • A headphones jack,
  • An Ethernet port if you prefer to wire the unit to your router.

Dimensions: 11 x 7 x 4.5"

The bottom line:

Internet radios are undoubtedly the future of radio broadcasting. This unit will make its mark in the history of Wi-Fi internet radios. It looks and sounds good, is easy to use, offers many audio solutions: internet radio and PC streaming, audio in and out, Ethernet port and remote control. It is the perfect versatile companion for home, office or a dorm room. Is it worth the price? Absolutely!

Sound quality
Easy to use
Well built
12000 radio stations to choose from
Remote control
12 presets available

No handle, reduces portability


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