Slim Devices Squeezebox 3 network music player
Computer-to-stereo music streaming goes mainstream
Review I first reviewed Slim Devices' network music player, the Squeezebox, in April 2004. We're not quite two years on from that, but the machine has already undergone two major revisions: first, in March 2005, an upgrade of its networking capabilities and audio engine, and then, just seven months later, a complete case redesign...
I didn't get a chance to check out the Squeezebox 2, and since the Squeezebox 3 upgrade is largely cosmetic, this review is as much about the second-generation product as the third. But it's fair to stay with the new, stylish design, Squeezebox is finally ready for prime time. It's no longer a cute toy for the techies and early adopters, but a quality item ready to sit at the heart of any modern home's music system.
So what's changed? Since Squeezebox's debut, the product has gained Ethernet networking in addition to the wireless connectivity offered since day one. Wireless support has been updated to the latest 802.11g spec, with support for the latest security techniques, including WPA 2. It's now got two antennae and both have been put inside the box.
Gone too is the squat, set-top box look, replaced by an upright design in aluminium and shiny plastic that's frankly more assertive, particularly the black version - there's also a white model. It looks like consumer electronics kit should. The old Squeezebox was far from ugly, but the new one is far, far more stylish, fitting in smoothly with either a modern metallic-look hi-fi or a stack of older, black separates.
Squeezebox 3 sits back at a slight angle, held up by a fixed tubular metal stand. Above it are arrayed the ports: 3.5mm headphone socket, stereo RCA jacks, a digital optical output and a digital co-axial connector, the Ethernet port, and the power pin.