Drool Radio for iPhone review
Drool Radio for iPhone and iPod touch, is a simple and affordable way to turn your Apple device into an Internet radio tuner with the potential to receive thousands of channels. The application mimics a traditional radio right down to a fun digital dial to scroll through favourite stored channels, with the option to even add some amusing virtual static between stations.
Drool Radio offers a chance to discover favourite radio stations by a search function or by browsing by country, region or genre, more of which later. The application also gives access to some 30,000 plus SHOUTcast Radio listings, a useful service that covers free MP3 and AAC radio stations broadcasting online. You can save a limited number of favourites so they appear on the tuner wheel when you launch the Drool Radio. Digging around you can soon build up a favourites list as the default settings only show channels it believes are local.
Where broadcasters include such information, Drool Radio will display track and artist information along with some station information. Users also have the option to turn the iPhone or iPod touch sideways to view a fairly useless but pretty spectrum analyser. According to developers DroolApps, the application will automatically adjust streaming quality to match available bandwidth, with the ability, should you wish, to disable playback over mobile data network, to save on monthly iPhone bandwidth limits. Tuning between channels proved pretty fast, with little in the way of lag, although this is clearly reliant on iPhone coverage and Wi-fi connection for the iPod touch. Drool Radio also includes radio alarm clock and sleep functions.
What lets Drool Radio down is the radio listings, which are very hit and miss, despite the thousands of channels available. Regional UK listings omit many major towns and cities and those that are listed occasionally appear arbitrary. DroolApps claim regular channel updates will ensure this improves, but currently it can be a frustrating experience trying to find channels. Some channels unfortunately appear dead, which is something the makers have little control over. DroolApps point out a Wi-fi, GPRS, Edge or 3G Network is required to listen to streaming Internet audio. A free version with limited functionality is also available.
We loved the intuitive Drool Radio retro interface and the ability to access thousands of streaming radio channels from around the world. We'd love to see more consistent listings for the UK, region by region, to make this a must have iPhone application. For now Drool Radio shows great promise and hopefully future updates will improve upon a very good foundation.