The best internet radios with wifi

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In this article, I review 5 of the best internet radios with wifi:

If you don’t have time to read the whole article, here are my recommendations:

I’d recommend the Sangean WFR-28 Internet Radio for its combination of features and good audio quality.

If Bluetooth connectivity is important to you, I’d recommend the Grace Digital Mondo+

What is the difference between internet radio and “normal” or “traditional” FM radio?

Normal traditional radio is broadcast on a particular frequency by a radio station using radio waves and the listener tunes in his/her radio with antenna to that same frequency. The big limitation of traditional radio is that you can only listen to radio stations up to a range of about 100 miles. Since competing radio stations use frequencies that are closely packed together, often the listener experiences interference or a low quality signal.  In any given location, you’ll probably be able to pick up about 20 stations.

Internet radio, on the other hand, is broadcast via streaming from a unique address on the internet. It is not broadcast via the radio waves. So long as the listener has a device (internet radio) that is connected to the internet, he/she can listen to any internet station that is being broadcast from anywhere in the world.  So a listener in London can listen to an internet radio station in New York City, for example!  Since geography is no longer a limitation, there is a huge choice (many thousands) of radio stations to listen to.

Furthermore, since radio waves are not involved at all, there are no issues with interference or low quality signals. The only technical issues that can occur is if the broadcasting server is down or if the listener is having internet connection problems.

Catch up on internet radio

Another cool feature of internet radio is “catch up” – If you miss your favourite radio program, it is possible to listen to a recorded copy of it at a later date. This is similar to how podcasts work. The BBC, for example allows you to listen to your favourite shows for up to a month after they were broadcast.

Data usage and internet radio

Since the audio from the internet radio station is being streamed via the internet and not coming in via radio waves, this is counted as downloaded data by your internet provider. That is not an issue if you have unlimited ADSL or broadband, but could quickly become expensive if you have a limited data quota per month.

If you are listening to internet radio on your phone, make sure you’re connected via wifi and not via 3G / 4G. Audio streaming transfers a lot of data in a short amount of time. Be careful!

Things to look for in an internet radio

This article covers dedicated stand-alone internet radios.  Here are some of the key features to look out for:

WIFI / LAN

There are 2 ways in which an internet radio can connect to the internet: 1)Wifi and 2)Ethernet cable (LAN)

Not all radios have an ethernet port but it does provide a good stable connection to the internet.

FM radio

FM radio means that the radio is also a “normal / traditional” radio that you tune into your local radio stations with the antenna and tuner.

Power sources

Make sure to check how the radio can be powered. Common options are batteries, internal rechargeable battery and AC power cord.

Preset buttons and favorites

Preset buttons allow you to save x number of your favorite, most commonly listened to stations to one of the preset buttons on the radio. You can then quickly change to those stations at a click of a button. In addition to the preset buttons, some radios also have a “favorites” list in the menu system in which you can add a larger list of your favorite stations. You then select them via the menu system.

Apps

Some radios include a free app that you download to your phone or mobile device. The app enables you to easily access many of the radio’s functions remotely from your phone. The apps are useful because they are often simpler to use than operating the radio itself.

USB port

If the radio has an USB port, you’ll be able to play music from a USB drive, MP3 player etc.

Bluetooth interface

With a Bluetooth interface, you’ll be able to connect to your mobile devices and play/stream audio from them on the radio.

The best internet radios

Sangean WFR-28 Internet Radio

The Sangean WFR-28 internet radio is a combination internet radio and audio media streaming device. You can listen to over 16,000+ radio stations from around the world, including channels like NPR, FOX news, CNN, BBC, CBS to KROQ, and over 35,000 podcasts as well as to your local FM radio stations with RDS (Radio Data System) capability. The radio has 10 station preset buttons on the front panel (5 for internet radio and 5 for FM). The radio connects to the internet via WIFI. There is no ethernet port.

In terms of power sources, the radio comes with an AC power cord which plugs into a power outlet to power the radio. You can also put rechargeable batteries (4x D sized NiMH batteries) in the radio which can be recharged using the same power cord. Charge time is 10 hours. Alternatively, you can insert normal non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. (4x D sized alkaline batteries)

This radio also integrates with spotify.

You can connect external devices like your iPod, iPhone, MP3 or CD player to the auxiliary input. Use the Line Out jack to connect headphones, or connect the WFR-28 to another system like your home entertainment center. There is also a USB port to connect a thumb drive or MP3 player.

The Sangean WFR-28 also has an alarm feature whereby you can wake to your favorite choice of internet radio station, FM station or to a classic buzzer alarm.

Finally, an app is provided called “iSangean”. that allows you to use your mobile devices as a remote control. iSangean is available for download in the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Pros

  • Can be used as an internet radio, FM radio and media streaming device.
  • Excellent sound quality.
  • There is an app for iphone or android.
  • Alarm function.
  • 10x preset buttons.

Cons

  • No ethernet port.
  • No handle for carrying the radio.

SiriusXM Sound Station GDI-SXTTR2

As its name suggests, with the SiriusXM Sound Station GDI-SXTTR2, you can access Sirius live news, talk shows, sports, weather, and music channels, personalized channels and on-demand shows. Important –  A SiriusXM streaming subscription or all access subscription plan are required for this radio (sold separately by SiriusXM). This radio is for Sirius radio only. You cannot connect to other internet radio stations with this radio. There is no FM radio tuner either.

One of the great features of this radio is the ability to pause, rewind and replay live Sirius radio. If you miss a show, you can access the “start now” function on select channels and even listen to on-demand shows. You can save up to 10 stations via the preset buttons.

A remote control is included with this radio. You can also plug in any audio device via the integrated auxiliary input jack and play music from the external device through the radio. The power source for this radio is via the AC power cord only. This radio does not take batteries.

Connection to the internet is via WiFi 802.11b/g/n wireless with WEP and WPA security. There is also an optional ethernet adapter for wired high speed internet connection (sold separately).

The SiriusXM Sound Station GDI-SXTTR2 also comes with an advanced digital alarm system: Set up to 5 custom alarms (weekly, weekends, weekdays, one time, etc.) There is an integrated snooze and sleep timer.

Pros

  • An excellent radio for accessing Sirius radio and services.
  • 10x preset stations.
  • Pause, rewind and replay live Sirius radio.
  • Excellent sound quality.
  • A remote control is included with this radio.
  • USB port.

Cons

  • This radio is for Sirius radio only. You cannot connect to other internet radio stations with this radio.
  • No FM radio tuner.
  • Powered by AC power cord only. Cannot be operated by batteries.

Grace Digital Mondo+

The Grace Digital Mondo+ is full of features. It’s much more than just an internet radio. Listen to over 30,000 internet radio stations including iHeartRadio, CBS radio, BBC, NPR, and SiriusXM (Subscription sold separately by SiriusXM).

Control the music via the front panel, included remote control, or free iPhone or Android remote control app. Play Amazon Prime music, iTunes and any other music via the integrated Bluetooth V4.1 chip.

Internet connection is via wifi and is compatible with all wireless 802.11b/g/n routers.

From your smartphone or Chromecast Browser (on a PC, for example) you can “cast” Pandora, TuneIn, Google play, Spotify, YouTube music, BBC, NPR and hundreds of others to your Mondo+ internet radio!  It’s possible to control a Mondo+ with a Google Home (sold separately) and you can group multiple Mondo+ for multi-room audio synchronized playback.

It’s possible to make your Mondo+ portable with the optional rechargeable battery (sold separately). The clock is auto synched via the internet so the time is always correct. There are 5 individual alarms.

What’s in the box: Mondo+, 100-240V, 12v 2 amp power adapter, manual, infra-red remote control.

Pros

  • Remote control included.
  • Bluetooth V4.1
  • Cast audio from your smartphone or PC to the Mondo+ radio.
  • Integrates with Google Home (sold separately)
  • Can be powered with a rechargeable battery (sold separately)
  • Clock and alarm functions.
  • USB port.
  • An ethernet adaptor is available (sold separately)

Cons

  • No FM tuner.

Grace Digital Encore+

The Grace Digital Encore+ gives you access to 100,000 internet radio stations – iHeartRadio, cbs, npr, and SiriusXM (contact SiriusXM for a paid subscription). You can control the music from the radio, remote control, iPhone or Android remote control app.

The internet connection is via wifi by default. Alternatively, you can connect via ethernet with an ethernet adaptor (sold separately).

From your smartphone or internet browser, send Pandora, tune in, Google play, Spotify, YouTube music, and many others to your Encore+ radio. You can also group multiple Encore+ devices for multi-room audio synchronized playback.

The Encore+ has a 12 or 24 hour clock option, which displays in the center front panel when the radio is idle and in the upper left hand corner when music is playing. There is also an alarm clock option, with 5 Individual Alarm settings, which includes an adjustable sleep timer and adjustable snooze function.

The radio has integrated Bluetooth V4.1 chip which allows you to connect to other devices without wifi. There is a 3.5mm Stereo headphone jack and USB port.

What’s in the box: Grace Digital Encore+ internet radio, power cord, 2 high performance external Wi-Fi Antennae, manual and infra-red remote control.

Pros

  • Very good sound quality.
  • Remote control included.
  • Bluetooth V4.1
  • Cast audio from your smartphone or PC to the Encore+ radio.
  • 2 high performance external Wi-Fi antennae.
  • Integrates with Google Home (sold separately).
  • Can be powered with a rechargeable battery (sold separately).
  • Clock and alarm functions.
  • USB port.
  • An ethernet adaptor is available (sold separately).
  • Smartphone powerbank to charge your phone.

Cons

  • No FM tuner.
  • User interface takes a bit of getting used to.

Ocean Digital WR26 portable internet radio

The Ocean Digital WR26 portable internet radio is a very compact and portable internet radio. It has a built-in rechargeable battery which can be recharged via the 5 volt micro USB cable (included).

The internet connection is via wifi.  The internet radio can connect to over 20,000+ internet stations for free via the Skytune service. You can add up to 99 channels to your list of favorites.  This is also a traditional FM radio (87.5 – 108MHz) with an antenna.

The device has Bluetooth (V4.2) through which you can stream music from your smartphone, tablet or other smart devices.

Finally, there is a jack for headphones, sleep timer function and UPnP/DLNA compatible streaming.

This is an excellent radio for its size.

Pros

  • Internet radio and traditional FM radio.
  • Very compact – 6.4 x 1.73 x 3.46 inches (163 x 44 x 88 mm)
  • Bluetooth version: V4.2 to stream from mobile devices.
  • Save up to 99 favorite stations.
  • Built-in rechargeable battery and recharge USB cable included.

Cons

  • The display is small and monochrome.
  • No clock.
  • The Skytune service is good but its catalogue of internet radio stations is smaller then some of the alternatives.

Conclusion

So what is the best internet radio? I’d recommend the Sangean WFR-28 Internet Radio for its combination of features and good audio quality.

If Bluetooth connectivity is important to you, I’d recommend the Grace Digital Mondo+

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