Roberts WM-201 Wi-Fi internet radio
Internet radio goes mainstream
Review For a manufacturer of radios like Roberts to produce a Wi-Fi-enabled device shows just how far internet radio has come. About 6000 stations are now available, and radios are becoming increasingly adept at presenting this vast selection in an easy-to-access way.
As soon as the product comes out of the box you get the feeling that it's well made and robust. It isn't going to win any beauty competitions - some might even go as far as to say it has something of the appearance of a breeze block - but it's been designed to blend in rather than stand out with its black-gloss cabinet and grille-dominated front.
Roberts' WM-201: block-like but still stylish
The WM-201's screen does look a little small at first, but in use actually provides all the information you need in a very readable way. The brightness of the screen can be adjusted to match the amount of ambient light.
The product has a good level of useful connections, including an Ethernet cable - not all homes have Wi-Fi. There's also a line-in for playback direct from personal digital players, as well as a line-out so the unit can act as part of a much beefier Hi-Fi set-up.
Still, it's primarily designed to take advantage of the convenience of Wi-Fi, and it does this pretty well. Armed with your WEP or WPA code, the box can be configured quite simply - although we did take a bit of time working out the navigation system accessed via the unit’s central knob. However, once we had got the hang of this, the quoted range of 10-20 metres was accurate, and its signal strength was robust.
I have my music files on a Buffalo Link Station NAS - does anyone know if the WM201 can access and play these when no computer is switched on?
I like the idea of these internet radio boxes, but they're just too expensive. I found a much cheaper solution, a short-range FM transmitter for about 50 quid. I've got mine connected to the PC, can listen to anything, on any FM radio in the house (and about 200 feet around the house!) If these internet radio boxes were cheaper, I'd probably get one tomorrow
Since Roberts are well known for their radios I'd hazard a guess they know more than just a little about the design. The single dial comes down to simplicity which is much better suited to mass market appeal.
The joys of shortwave ...
"I'm looking for a box that will make Internet radio as fun and interesting as Shortwave radio used to be."
At the risk of a) showing my age and b) sounding like an AOL reject, I'm gonna say 'ME TOO!' ;-)
answering a few queries above
Based on experience with my Reciva based Logik IR100:-
It will play back internet radio stations using OGG, must admit I haven't tried audio files.
Yes, if the Reciva web site goes titsup I think you're left with a media streamer.
Mine has worked using Tversity and Twonky UPnP SW, although the latest FW is causing issues. Stiil working with WMP11 :-/