Developer: Endless While Loop
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.3
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Streaming internet radio has been around for a good long while. Heck, I was part of a pirate stream over RealPlayer (if anyone even remembers that) back in 1998, for that matter. Having a breadth of options available that far outstrips conventional terrestrial radio makes discovering new music an adventure and sometimes a person wants something a bit more organic than the auto-generated stations Pandora offers up. There’s a lot to be said for that human touch.

Dial ostensibly offers a simple application to keep all those favorite streams just a swipe away. The interface is bare-bones, but that’s apparently the intention of developers Endless While Loop. All of the bells and whistles have been stripped away and the interface emulates the standard iOS styling and layout. And while I can appreciate the want for simplicity and elegance, it does feel a bit lacking in a few areas.

For those who may not already listen to streaming radio Dial comes fairly packed with over 1000 preset streams, sorted by category or genre, giving the new user a wide range to choices to explore. Assuming that one already has a few favorite stations, there’s also an import feature that lets listeners input their favorites, or even submit them for possible inclusion in future app updates. Unfortunately, there’s no option to edit newly added stations on the off chance of an errant URL typo; deleting the whole thing and starting over is the only solution.

Performance-wise, Dial runs without a hitch, for the most part. I did notice a few lags and small freezes every now and again when switching screens or selecting options; never anything that hard-crashed the app, but noticeable regardless.

Having the option to add tracks from a stream to Rdio or purchase them directly through the iTunes store is nice functionality to have when discovering new music, but it’s also dependant on the stations in question having their music meta-tagged correctly. I had instances where a few well-known songs couldn’t be located on iTunes because the station in question had bad tagging that included symbols or other elements that threw off the search. Likewise, this can also glitch out the artist bio. However, that’s not really something we can blame Dial’s developer for; just an issue to keep in mind.

In the quest for a simple, streamlined interface, Dial comes off feeling unnecessarily skeletal instead. Because of this, the current asking price feels a touch too high for me, but that’s a decision consumers will have to make for themselves. The app is functional and does what it promises, but not much more.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Music, iPhone Apps and Games, Music, Reviews

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