Feeds
95%

Slim Devices Squeezebox 3 network music player

Computer-to-stereo music streaming goes mainstream

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Re-connection to your SlimServer - it's on your notebook, for instance, and you've taken it out of the building since you last used your Squeezebox - is fast, and so is switching between songs. The search system is quick, and the mobile phone-style text-entry system will not only be immediately familiar to anyone who sends text messages, but thanks the remote control's large, well-spaced keys is easy to use.

slim devices squeezebox 3

With no controls on the Squeezebox itself, you'll need to keep the remote handy. It's the weakest part of the package, having a light, slightly cheap feel. But it's eminently useable, the keys are sensibly laid out and there are short-cut buttons to most commonly viewed menu items.

Squeezebox 3 costs $299 (£172), which is a snip. There's even an Ethernet-only version for $249 (£143). I did ponder a docked iPod as an alternative way of making all my digital music instantly accessible via my hi-fi, but it's way more expensive, and no one else can use it if I happen to be out and about with my portable music player. And there's no way I can sit on my sofa and see what's on the docked iPod's display - with Squeezebox it's no problem at all. And with the SlimDevices product you can send songs from your archive to multiple Squeezeboxes around your home. It's not quite up there with Sonos for large-scale multi-room set-ups, but then it's cheaper. You pay your money, you take your choice.

Flaws? If it can't find an active SlimServer, Squeezebox defaults to its set-up screen, not its internet radio facility, which makes for a less consumer-friendly experience. I understand why it does this - maybe there's a network problem - but I think the box should be more savvy and save the user some button presses. Is the most recently used WLAN up and running? Yes, so get an IP address and either log straight into SqueezeNetwork or go to the Internet Radio section. Only if there's no internet connectivity should it default to a set-up page.

I also experienced some network configuration oddities, but I believe they were due to the fact I kept taking my notebook on and off the WLAN with the effect that the Squeezebox kept having to deal with different IP addresses. None of it stopped me from playing music, either from SqueezeNetwork or my computer. A fixed system - or at least a fixed IP address - makes more sense and is a more likely usage scenario.

Verdict

Slim Devices' Squeezebox remains the best network music system I've tried, delivering exceptional functionality and superb audio quality at a very reasonable, affordable price. It's platform agnostic, working as well on Macs and Linux PCs as it does on Windows machines, and with SqueezeNetwork, it doesn't even need a computer to connect through, at least not once the account set-up's done. The server software is simple to use and as unobtrusive as you want. It supports a fine array of formats, though it's going to have to address the DRM problem sooner or later. And, did I mention it looks fantastic?

Thoroughly recommended. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

95%

Slim Devices Squeezebox 3 network music player

Excellent sound quality, cross-platform support, eminently affordable price. Looks great too...
Price: $299 (wired and wireless); $249 (wired only) RRP

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.