Q2 Internet Radio is one of the most refreshingly different and interesting internet radios that has ever been seen. Beyond its cool cube design (available in five colours), this radio is the only model we’ve ever seen not to have a single button on it, bar a power switch on the rear.
The Q2 Internet Radio is designed to be used entirely with its accelerometer. A user can tip it back to turn up volume, forwards to turn volume down and place it speaker down to mute it and put it in standby mode. It can be programmed with a users four favourite stations or podcasts, and a user can simply place the Q2 on the correct side to get the assigned station. Each side is marked with lines from one to four, so it’s easy to see which preset a user is using.
Programming the radio is simple. All a user has to do is download the software from the Q2 website and plug the radio in via USB. The software’s first tab lets a user drag and drop radio stations or podcasts into the four available preset slots. A user can search for radio stations or browse by country or genre, where genres are further divided into country to make finding the one that a user wants.
Next, a user can click the Networks tab where a user can select up to five wireless networks to use, stored in order of preference. If the network that a user is using is connecting to is protected then a user will be asked for the password when a user selects it. Please note that a user can’t use a wireless network that requires authentication through a hotspot, such as in a hotel or other hotspot.
In order to get Q2 working a user has to change his/her router’s wireless channel to one in the US range of 1 to 11, although a firmware update coming soon should fix this. The only minor problem is that a user can’t manually add networks, so if a user has turned off SSID broadcast on the router then a user will need to turn it back on in order to see and connect to the network. Finally, a user can use the Settings tab to select an initial listening volume, update firmware and undo recent changes.
Once configured the radio connects to the network: a red light flashes to show it’s trying to connect and turns green when it connects before turning off. The radio then starts playing on the station that a user has selected. Audio quality is very good and the Q2 Internet Radio produces a balanced mix sound. The sound is clear and detailed. While there’s not much bass, neither are the speakers too tinny. The hiss and fizz of internet radio is dealt with well; however, sound quality is dependent on the quality of the stream: the best stations gives the user 128Kbit/s streaming, which is around FM stereo quality; talk radio stations typically gives a user 32Kbit/s, which is fine for voice but music sounds a bit robotic. Volume is loud enough to fill a big room, and it’s good to see that there’s no distortion even at maximum.