Aluratek Internet Radio Alarm Clock with Built-in WiFi – AIRMM01F Review

I suppose I am old fashion, but I like to listen to radio, I always did. I still remember being a kid and listen in the dark at Radio Free Europe with my family when the electricity was cut of by the government to save money. But that was a different country and different life. The nostalgia remained though. So I looked around on the internet to buy a radio that would receive international stations (I already have a Sony World Band Receiver ICF_SW7600GR – who the heck comes up with these names?) which is a very good receiver in its own right, but the reception sucks in my city and anyway, they are very few foreign radio stations that broadcast strong enough to receive them in SOCAL.

Enough ranting, I managed to find two different internet radio receivers, a Philips NP1100/37 and an  Aluratek AIRMMF01F (another weird name). I bought both of them! The last one is the subject of today’s review.

[simage=40,400,n,center,]

The Aluratek radio in itself is a small wonder. It allows you to receive over 11,000 world wide radio stations without monthly fee (including NPR, BBC, etc) neatly organized on categories and countries. But this is not all!

This is the list of features, as listed on the manufacturer’s website. I will add my comments for each of them:

  • Choose between more than 11,000+ radio stations worldwide via built-in vTuner with no monthly cost. (works as advertised, you can even add your own stations)
  • HD stations supported
  • No monthy fees or subscription costs
  • Easy install and setup (mostly yes with the sole exception of typing the WPA key, I’ll talk about this later)
  • Time and date automatically sets
  • Search music by genre, i.e. classic, pop, talk, news, sports etc. and geographically over 150 countries
  • Compatible with universal Plug-n-Play audio servers such as: Microsoft Media Player 11 (WMP11), Microsoft Media Connect, MusicMatch Jukebox(what it doesn’t explicitly says is that it implements a DLNA client – I successfully connected to PS3 Media Server)
  • Wireless access WIFI 802.11 b/g, Ethernet and USB 2.0 (host only) connectivity (the wireless connection is crappy, never worked reliable and I have two modern wireless routers, but i have most of my house gigabit Ethernet wired)
  • Built-in FM radio tuner for local FM broadcast service (don’t use, as I mentioned in my area the reception sucks across the whole spectrum)
  • Access music files stored on a USB 2.0 flash drive, MP3 player or Hard drive through the unit’s USB port (works really well, I am using it with a 400GB western digital pocket hard drive. you need to use FAT32 though, NTFS is not recognized)
  • Alarm clock function with 2programmable alarms wakes you up to internet radio, FM radio, digital music, or choice of several alarm tones
  • Integrated amplifier: 2x2W stereo
  • External plug for headsets (3.5mm)
  • 2 RCA plugs (Stereo Lineout) for external speakers
  • No PC is required (it is required for DLNA though, or just use some NAS+ DLNA)

Not specified, but if is connected to a wired connection, it can work as a wireless access point. The remote control is small, with tiny buttons, but once you learn it is easy to find the buttons in the dark. It has dedicated buttons that will take you to mp3 player, FM tuner, web radio, etc. the quality is not great, so at some point you might decide to use a universal one (I have a Harmony 880)
Sound quality is pretty good considering the small speaker, if you need, you can connect it to an external receiver via the supplied RCA jacks.

As happy as I am with the radio, it has some annoying issue though. Nothing major, at least for me but good to know:

1. The wireless connection is not very reliable even with the latest firmware. The radio works fine but the DLNA access drops every several minutes. on wired, I experienced no issues.

2. For some weird reason, the sleep times doesn’t work after 11:00PM

3. It is a major pain to use the remote control to type your WPA key. Just horrible!

4. It has 4 brightness level: off, very bright, ultra bright and midday SO CAL in the summer bright. It won’t let you sleep, however it will  chase any local vampires and bogeymen away.

All in all, a very good and useful little radio that now I cannot do without, well engineered and at a very low price.

[salbumphotos=2,max,3,n,n,uploaded_timestamp,center,]

Related posts:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • gary

    Did you have any problems using this aluratek with ps3 media server?

    It seems to hang on me on a bunch of different mp3 files. I can’t determine why. It’s not the filename, so I can only assume it’s the song name embedded in the file.

  • No, no problems, at least no problems while using wired connection. While using wireless, is a complete different story with a lot of timeouts and weird behavior while streaming from PS3 media server. Did you try to copy the song on an USB stick and play it directly? At least it should tell you if is the song itself or something else.

  • gary

    It acts the exact same way whether it’s wired or wireless.

    Plus it’s able to play the files from a usb drive fine.

    Could be the firmware that I upgraded to. It’s R1.47a1

  • gary

    I submitted a ticket on the aluratek website friday and received a response on monday. very impressive on their part.

    They sent me a newer firmware and once installed it worked great! So now it can play from ps3mediaserver wirelessly.

    I’m very impressed with this device as well as aluratek.

  • Glad to see it worked that fast for you! Did you notice any other improvements with the new firmware?

  • gary

    I did see some improvements with the new firmware. It was more responsive. Wifi works well too.

  • Marm

    This is a simply WONDERFUL device. It gave new life to my old sterio audio system and replaced the tuner completely. I can not recommend it higher.

    To those who find the device drops the connection on WiFi, I suggest three things:
    1) Updated to the latest firmware.
    2) I changed the WiFi antennae to a 5.5dbi WiFi RP SMA Antenna bought on eBay for less than $10 a long time ago for my old D-Link WBR-1310 router. I don’t recommend that router and mention it just to tell you what model antennae works on this unit. It stops the signal drop problem even to my garage 80 feet away and through my entire house to the router in the basement at the other side of the house.
    3) Get a better router. I love my cheap Belkin F5D8236-4 v2, dual band, N-G router that cost $30 on sale. I have used both D-Link and Linksys routers that that cost more and did not work as well for my purposes.

    To those who say entering the WPA key is horrible, I say GET A LIFE. The process is simple and exactly like texting from a phone that only has a numeric/alphbetic key pad. All you do is keep hitting the number or letter to cycle first to the number, then each capital letter assigned to that key and then each lower case letter. This is not as easy as I would like, but it takes only a minute or two and you only have to do it once so get over it.

    To those who don’t like the audio from the speaker, I suggest sending the audio to a better sound system as I do. As I want a volume control, I use the earphone jack.

    Things I would like to see:
    1) An earphone jack at the front
    2) In the setup, the ability to have the volumne to the RCA jacks controled by the remote or not. The way it is, the remote controls the speaker and earphone volume but not the signal to the RCA jacks.
    3) Two USB ports. Many small 2.5″ hard drives require two USB ports to power and serve data from the device. These are small hard drives and work well with this device but need an alternate power source.
    4) Drop the FM radio. Any station worth listening to is on the web in my area.

    5) Ability to host a high speed USB-based satellite modem.