Logitech Squeezebox Touch Wi-Fi music streamer
Sound offering with pictureframe pretensions
Review Following on from the Squeezebox Duet, Boom and Radio models, the Touch is Logitech's latest wizard wheeze to help liberate your digital music files. Like the Duet, the Touch acts as a bridge between your PC and your hi-fi by hooking the two up using a Wi-Fi network. However, you can't use it as a stand alone music player, as you can with the Boom and the Radio.
Smart and practical: Logitech's Squeezebox Touch
The Touch resembles a small fat digital picture frame but one canted back at around 40 degrees to allow for convenient access to the capacitive 4.3in colour screen that houses the system UI. Like all the other Squeezebox kit I have tested, the Touch is well made, smart and practical. The rear stand is large and solid enough to let you poke the screen without fear of it toppling over, while the underside is rubberized to prevent it sliding about in use.
As well as being able to stream audio over a Wi-Fi network, the Touch includes an SD card reader built into the side along with a USB port at the back. Load either with JPEG images rather than music files - or both - and the Touch doubles up as a digital picture frame when the screen isn't doing UI duties. Other sockets include phono audio, 100Mb/s Ethernet, optical and digital audio outputs and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
As is usual with Logitech, using a Squeezebox device means first installing the Squeezecentre server software. Still, that's not much of a drawback because, as server software goes, its rather good and it works on PC, Mac and Linux machines, and most NAS boxes too. Once you have set up Squeezecentre, connected the Touch to your stereo and entered any wireless system security codes, you are good to go - it's as simple as that.
Built not to budge with heavy finger poking of the touchscreen
Unfortunately this review fails to cover possibly the biggest difference between the Touch and the previous generations of SB devices. You do mention that you can add music from a SD card andt he Logitech page says "Access your music and photos directly from USB drives and SD cards" but fail to cover how this works. My understanding was that the Touch was running an embedded version of the Server software which the wiki seems to confirm: http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/Squeezebox_Touch_as_a_Home_Music_Server
If you added your whole music collection on either a USB hard drive (or a large SD card) the Touch can supposedly operate as the server for itself *and* up to two additional players. ie - eliminating the need to run a NAS drive or leave a PC on all the time.
It would have been really nice to know what performance was like in this scenario as I think this opens the product up to a whole new class of users. This also completely (IMHO) changes the value for money vs the Duet. Additionally, the Duet remote has been rather superceded by the rather excellent 'iPeng' application for iPhone/iPod Touch.
One of the worst things about the previous generation of these boxes - controlled only via a remote - was trying to search using a tedious up/down/left/right interface. Does this do something smart, like giving you a virtual keyboard to type on?
Fair comment, I should indeed have made more of the native support for 24bit/96Khz sampling.
Incidentally, if any Squeezebox owners have Android handsets I can recommend this..
Well worth the asking price.
Review missed the point of the Touch
One, the Touch can be operated without a PC, unlike other SB devices.
It can play music loaded from an SD card, or from a USB HD directly connected to it.
The Touch DOES NOT require installing SB Server software. It comes with it's own version of the software loaded on it, and can run as a self-contained music server, as long as it has a files on the SD card or the external HD.
Two, the Touch plays hi-resolution 24/96 files in native format, something the SB Classic and Duet can't do. It also outputs higher quality analog and digital signals than those models. In short, the Touch is aimed at a more "audiophile" market than the Duet and SBC. The reviewer didn't seem to understand this at all
What are the alternatives?
I have all of my music on a Synology NAS running it's own itunes server, and what I'd like is almost this Logitech product, but with a built in speaker so it would be truly portable around the house.
Any products out there to recommend?