Despite the clever and thoroughly modern technology lurking inside, Terratec's Noxon internet radio has been styled with one eye firmly on the past. And it manages to nail the retro look, fusing clean lines with an old-fashioned wireless layout.

Internet radio works by latching on to a wired or Wi-Fi web signal, which then gives listeners access to thousands of digital radio stations from around the globe. If there is a down side to internet radio, it's probably an excess of choice. The sheer number of stations available can be quite bewildering.

Luckily, the Noxon is rather smart at presenting options to you in manageable chunks, allowing you to search for radio stations and podcasts by country, genre or both. Vitally, when you find a station you like, you can quickly add it to your favourites list from within the main menu, or even honour it by associating it with one of the five dedicated buttons on the front of the unit.

The Noxon's exterior is constructed entirely of plastic, but it feels sturdy. You get a useful selection of connections, including ethernet, line-out, speaker-out and 1/8in headphone jack. Sadly, the handy USB port that was included with the Noxon 2 doesn't make an appearance.

In addition to picking up radio, the Noxon can stream music stored on a computer across the network, using the included Twonky Vision software – and no, we're not making that up. The silly name belies a slick piece of software that allows users to compile saved MP3s and WMAs to a virtual server, ready for streaming.

The all-important sound quality's not bad at all, with the iRadio delivering a surprising amount of depth and clarity. The 5W speaker should be plenty loud enough, provided you don't live in the Royal Albert Hall.

Terratec Noxon iRadio: Specs

  • 802.11b/g
  • ethernet
  • line-out
  • speaker-out
  • 1/8in headphone jack
  • data transfer speeds: 54Mbps (WLAN), 10/100Mbps (LAN/ethernet)
  • WEP (64/128bit key)/WPA security
  • 802.11b/g
  • ethernet
  • line-out
  • speaker-out
  • 1/8in headphone jack
  • data transfer speeds: 54Mbps (WLAN), 10/100Mbps (LAN/ethernet)
  • WEP (64/128bit key)/WPA security

OUR VERDICT

We're happy to recommend the Terratec Noxon iRadio, a neat and compact music-streaming and internet radio device rolled into one. It's incredibly easy to get up and running and a pleasure to use. The only potential problem will be deciding what to listen to.

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