Electronics and radio maker Grace Digital claims the Grace Digital GDI-IR2500 “Innovator III” allows you to wirelessly access over 30,000 music channels including Pandora, iheartradio, NPR on-demand, BBC, ESPN, Live 365 and Sirius. You can choose by the area you live in, any state or country, or your favorite station name. There are also more than 50 genres and all the most-listened-to weather, news and talk stations.
You can even log into your Pandora or Sirisu accounts and listen to your favorite music channels commercial-free. And if you have a massive library of music on your MAC or PC you will be able to listen to the entire collection over a sound system that is loud and clear, and even comes with a handy remote control for lazy people like me. As if that was not enough, there is an Aux in jack that creates limitless possibilities. Oh yeah, and it is backlit, so using in dim lighting is no problem.
Are people going to be interested in internet enabled radios in the future. It’s difficult to see where the market is going but already the edges between devices is becoming blurred. There are now lots of other media streamers which can stream both audio and video with coparative ease. What’s more some of these devices can be programmed or even incorporate the use of VPNs to bypass geo-blocks. This means that you can actually watch UK TV online anywhere by using them to change your IP address.
With all that going for it, you only need to know the price right? I mean, with all those features, comparable models go for around $250 dollars. Not bad; you certainly don’t mind paying for great, cutting edge features that make your life more enjoyable, I know I don’t. Well, what if I told you that previous customers rated their satisfaction level a super 4 out of 5 stars, that you could get it with free shipping, and it was currently about 50% off and around $120? Yeah, I thought so, me too! I found out a friend of mine had one, so I went and checked it out. Here is what I found.
So how does it sound?
While full volume won’t fill your entire house, and I didn’t expect it to, it can blow up a small room. At 5.25 x 5.25 x 9.75 inches I found it small enough to fit on a desktop at work or a home office, supplying easy access without taking up much room. First seeing the size, I was concerned that it would not produce enough sound, but it is a regular mini-stereo.You can also hook up you favorite paid of headphones or connect the unit to your Hi-Fi system for even more listening options.
The remote control is full-function, and even operating from a distance of 15 feet it worked fine. Like it’s smaller brother )the Grace GDI-IRA500 “Solo”), you can also use your iPhone to act as a remote control for the GDI-IRA2500. It’s as easy as downloading the free app from iTunes. This is a cool unique feature available only from Grace Digital.
A neat feature that I wish was available on more of the channels I frequent is the streaming text. When you are listening to a music, podcast or weather channel, when available by the programmer, you get streaming text with descriptions and updates. It is not the fault of the Grace Digital GDI-IR2500 that not all stations and internet programs offer this feature. However it’s difficult to think of using something like teh Nvidia Shield which can stream all this through apps and allow you access a free trial of BBC iPlayer too.
I personally did not care that the headphone jack is on the back, and the audio-in port on the front, but this may be an issue for some. It is a small-in-size, sound powerhouse, but only weighs 4.4 pounds, so tapping the buttons on the face tends to make it slide if it is not anchored against something.
One customer commented:
By Simonas Zmuidzinas… I bought this, set it up online in 5 minutes and was listening to all of my favorite European stations in minutes. The only reason for 4/5 for sound quality, is the attached speakers are only fair, BUT connected to your home stereo system it is as good as your home stereo at its best. I immediately bought a second for a Christmas gift. 100-240 volt charger makes this useful WORLDWIDE.
The only minor part that will not function outside the USA is Pandora (so far limited only to the USA). For US residents (and soon Canadian) the “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” aspect right on the radio could not be easier. Easy to read backlit 4-line panel visible in the dark or light.
If you are in the market for an internet radio, the Grace Digital GDI-IR2500 has tons of upside and very little if any negatives. Feature by feature, it compares well with the Logitech Squeezebox Radio and is also slightly cheaper. With free shipping thrown in, what’s not to like? The unit’s looks and style will make you proud to display it in your bedroom or living room and sound quality is good for a unit of this size. Connect it to your HiFi and you have a real powerhouse. The Grace Digital GDI-IR2500 should be on your short list if you are looking for a portable, versatile and good looking wifi radio.