The radioSHARK is another in Griffin's line of slightly obscure but infinitely stylish products. The premise of the device is pretty cool. It is essentially a personal video recorder (PVR), but for radio. It offers the ability to play, time shift and record radio through your PC, which in essence makes it a modern cassette player. We found it to be a unique and very nifty little device, however it is plagued by a few problems that really hold it back from being fantastic.
- Great functionality, Looks awesome
- Noise when typing
A funky, original device that takes the radio into the next millennium.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
We can't help but have a soft spot for the radioSHARK because, to put things simply, it looks really cool. Bearing a striking resemblance to the fin of an albino shark, our first few minutes with this product were spent making swimming motions and humming the theme to Jaws. While the colour scheme screams "I go with an iPod," we still think it looks fantastic. There are several small LED stripes that light up blue when the unit is running and change to red when recording; definitely a nice touch. The design fits in perfectly with a svelte, modern iMac setup (as seems to be intended), but it even looks great with a regular PC.
Supporting a variety of formats including WMV and WAV, you can store audio at a quality that works best for you. On the default WMV setting our 13 minute test recording occupied just under 10 megabytes; just under a megabyte a minute. To put that in perspective, it is roughly 2000 hours of radio on a single 120GB hard drive; more than enough for anybody.
The time shift function works hand-in-hand with the recording. By default it is off, but switching it on in the preferences menu means the radioSHARK will start recording from the moment you fire it up. You allocate a certain amount of hard-disk space, and it will record till it fills that up, and then begin to re-record from the start. This allows you to do all kinds of things, like pausing a song for a phone call or re-listening to something that catches your fancy.
Another cool feature the radioSHARK has is the ability to program it to record at a set time. Acting just like a PVR, you can put any time and date in and it will record all your favourite programs. Unfortunately there is no EPG-like service available in this country to actually tell you what is coming up, but this is no fault of the radioSHARK itself. Still, if you know there are specific programs that are of interest, then this will be a useful feature.
The only other feature we wish the radioSHARK possessed is the ability to record and listen simultaneously. Obviously you could buy two of them, just like you buy two TV tuners, but building in two separate radio receivers shouldn't be a big deal and this would enhance the product's value no end.
Unfortunately, there is one large problem that stops the radioSHARK from being a truly great product - it suffers noticeably from electronic interference. When plugged in to the USB slot next to our keyboard, whenever we typed rapidly we would get jumping and hissing sounds that really stopped us from enjoying our music. Moving the radioSHARK to a different USB port helped considerably, but we still copped a little interference from time to time.
Despite this problem, sound quality when not typing is fairly adequate. There was a little bit of radio fuzz, but this is to be expected and overall we were satisfied with the audio quality. Just be sure to have somewhere with a bit of height to place the unit, as we struggled to get decent reception on the lower parts of our desk.
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