Q2 Internet Radio hands-on
Armour Home's Q2 Internet Radio is cuter than a Labrador puppy dressed as Angelina Jolie. It offers connection to thousands of radio stations around the world via Wi-Fi, podcasts (including the Pocket-lint podcast), and features the meatiest sound quality we've heard from a single speaker product, yet has no buttons to press or prod.
You see, the Q2 itself is also its controller.
The device is initially set up by hooking it up to a PC or Mac (Windows XP, Vista, 7, or OSX 10.5/10.6) through USB and, using the downloadable client software, must be assigned a radio station or podcast to each of its four sides - each marked with a number. Then, when you want to change channel, you simply turn the device over so that the relevant side (number) is on top. Easy peasy.
Obviously, the limitation of this is that you don't have access to more than the preset four channels until you plug it into a computer again, but in use you may find, like us, that you only stick to your favourites anyway. And there's a lot of tosh out there that you'll never listen to.
Similar methods are used to change volume: You tip the radio forwards to decrease the volume, backwards to increase it. And it can go remarkably high before any distortion can be heard.
To put it into standby, all you have to do is lay it on its front.
That really is all there is to the Q2. It's remarkably simple in operation. Even the computer software is cleanly and plainly laid out so that anybody can use it. However, while it's as straight forward in use as they come, some cunning trickery is going on with the audio performance to make it sound much better, cleaner and crisper than a lot of radios out there, Internet or otherwise.
It's powered by a rechargeable battery, which offers up to 8 hours of play on a single charge. And it can be juiced up through a supplied USB cable (when hooked to your computer) or a USB power lead that also comes in the box.
There's a choice of colours - white, pink, blue (as shown here), black and green - with some offering flowery decals, some more plain, and they all hook up to your home network via Wi-Fi (easily assignable during the set-up phase). No matter the colour, the Q2 costs £90 with free postage and packaging from a dedicated Armour Home website: www.q2rad.io.