Review: Q2 Wi-Fi Internet Radio

When it comes to listening to music, Pandora, iTunes, Spotify and all those other nifty hi-tech ways of listening are great. Except for those times they're not. For me, that's a lot of the time because I prefer to not listen to music through headphones, which nixes the iPod and iPhone a lot of the time. And I am up and about so much throughout the day that listening through the computer, even my laptop, isn't ideal unless I carry my laptop with me wherever I go. Same goes for connecting my iPod or iPhone to a docking station because I can't hear it from various rooms in my house unless I crank it in the room where the docking station is located. Even if I do crank the music, I can't hear it outside.

Because of such things, my lament of late has been that I don't listen to music as often as I used to or want to. But that's all going to change now, thanks to the Q2 Wi-Fi Internet Radio I recently received for free to review. I've had it only a day, and I love, love, love the little thing.

Rather than write a long explanation of what it is, I'll just show you, via the video produced by the Q2 makers. Take a look:

I received the black version, which was exactly the one I would have chosen if I were to purchase the Q2 myself. And I take the box o' music all throughout the house with me. I've played it in the kitchen while making dinner, at the dining room table while my husband and I ate dinner (replacing the stereo we typically play in the living room next to the dining room), in the bathroom while I showered, in the study while I worked on the computer. I've even taken it outside, walking as far from the house (and its Wi-Fi connection) as I could without losing connection, just to see how it'll do when I take it outside while doing my weeding, watering and relaxing.

Like I said, I love, love, love my Q2. It's super easy to set up—it took me less than 10 minutes to download the software and get the Q2 connected to set the four different Internet radio stations I wanted to listen to. In all honesty, it took me far longer to figure out the stations I wanted to try. As I'm not enthralled with my local options, even though most are available as Internet stations, I sought out varied stations from around the country. Cool thing is that I could include stations from other countries, if I were so inclined. Podcasts can be played on it, too. I plan to listen regularly to various NPR podcasts.

The Q2 would be an ideal gift for Mother's Day, for moms or grandmas. Even the least tech-savvy moms and grandmas as it's so easy to set up. The Q2 would actually make a great gift for most any occasion: Father's Day, graduations, birthdays, etc. It would even be a great gift for kids as there are plenty of Internet stations featuring music for kids only. Plus, with no knobs or buttons or remotes, it's easy to operate. Just turn to change stations, tilt to adjust volume.

What I loved about the Q2: It's so simple—to set up, to operate, to switch the four pre-set stations. I also love the size and portability. The four-inch cube is light and easy to take from place to place, with no cords to worry about. Also, I'm used to listening to a Bose stereo, so sound quality from the single speaker was a concern, but it's surprisingly quite good, even at the highest volume (which is pretty darn loud).

What I didn't love so much: Sometimes songs cut out and stations lose their signal. That's more an issue with Internet radio than it is directly attributed to the Q2, though. Also, I was originally a little bummed that I wouldn't be able to see the song title and artist on songs I don't know, which is a no-brainer with Pandora and other music services. But I quickly remedied that by using the SoundHound app on my phone to get song title, artist and more.

Bottom line: The Q2 has quickly become one of my all-time favorite review items. I have no doubt music, talk radio, news radio and podcast lovers of all ages will appreciate the big sound, simple setup and use, and portability of the Q2.

The Q2 retails for $129 and is available through Amazon, AHALife and Radio Shack. Radio Shack has the Q2 on sale for $99 through the end of June. Also, there's a Q2 giveway currently running on the Q2 Radio Facebook page.

Find more information on the Q2 Wi-Fi Internet Radio website.