Developer: Weather Underground
Price: $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.7

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

img_00383Blog readers may have spotted the application ‘Wunder Radio’ being mentioned in Glenn Head’s A Day In The Life. This was actually the application that I reviewed that worked towards my acceptance into the 148 writer team, but it was put to the bottom of my mailbox and long forgotten. When I spotted Glenn’s post, I found the mail and formatted it ready for an official 148 review. Sit back – because this is a good one.

Wunder Radio is an internet radio application that streams live radio from the internet directly to your iPhone. It can do this through Wi-Fi, 3G and in some cases EDGE – meaning that whenever you’re on the go and have a connection, you can listen to radio that’s playing (quite literally) on the other side of the world.

On the outside, it has a simple yet effective design that takes full use of the generous iPhone screen. It is very similar to the contacts tab within the ‘Phone’ application (see screenshots 1 and 2) – which is perhaps why it is so easy to navigate and find your way around. There’s no need to fiddle around with advanced settings, and if you really want to dig deep it has its own section within the ‘Settings’ application. Opening this will offer you the option to change the theme, MP3 buffer time and default bit rate (see screenshot 3).

img_00422The user has the option to browse for radio channels via category (sports / music etc), genre (type of music) and location. Each of these categories has sub-categories to make for easy navigation. Sport is divided into sections such as “NBA”, “NASCAR” and “Major League Baseball” to name a few. Music genre divides all stations into 18 genres, ranging from “Oldies” to “Alternative Rock”. Finally, location is split into continents and main locations, eg. “Africa”, “North America” and “Antarctica” (I never knew that there were stations in the arctic!).

Once you have found your way through to the correct type of radio that you’ve gone through the categories and sub-categories to the radio that you want to listen to, you’ll be offered a generous choice of stations to choose from – each with their own bitrate and symbol stating how it can be streamed (Wi-Fi and 3G for all, EDGE for some) (screenshot 4). When you are in a station, you then have the chance to edit a few more settings if you wish (Buffer Time, Preferred Bit Rate etc – with explanations telling you which option will do which {lower bit rate more reliable, higher bit rate better sound etc}).

img_00441I’ve made this sound like a rather long drawn process, but it isn’t at all. As soon as you click on a station it will start to buffer and play, connecting seamlessly and as long as you’re connection is strong enough then, unless the web stream goes down, you’ll stay connected and listening. It can play when the iPhone’s screen is off, too.

One feature I’d like to take note of is the ability to add ‘favourite’ radio stations. This means that at the touch of a button, you’ll have access to all the stations that you have chosen to be a favourite – handy, as it stops you having to go through the categories again. Of course, there is a search option to reduce time wasting also.

But what sets this above other applications of the same category? There are plenty of radio applications out there, some cheaper than this. Well, apart from its seamless integration with the phone, you are not just limited to radio. You have access to scanners (monitor police bands, air traffic control) and other station directories such as the Internet Archive and Icecast Directory. Everything just works – there’s no messing about and no hassle.

You could call it a real ‘Apple’ application. Wunderful.

Note: many carriers, including 02 and AT&T will charge for excessive data usage and in some cases forbid it. Be gentle. Enjoy radio.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Music, Reviews

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