The number of Wi-Fi radios on the market has exploded the last couple years, but we've always been struck by how few portable units are available. Grace Digital is looking to fill that relatively empty niche with its new portable radio, the Allegro GDI-IRD4000, which includes the features we like on the company's stationary Wi-Fi radios, plus the ability to be powered by six AA batteries. Even better, the Allegro has a built-in charging circuit for NiMH batteries, so you don't need a separate charger if you go the rechargeable route.
Like other Grace radios we've tested, the Allegro can tune into Internet radio stations using Reciva's database of stations. The Allegro can also stream Pandora and Sirius (with a subscription), plus digital audio files stored on a networked computer. While many smart phones can now stream a variety of Web audio sources (Pandora, Slacker, NPR), it's nice to have a dedicated device around the home with a decent built-in speaker. If you're too far to see the display, Grace also has developed its own iPhone app making it easier to change the station from afar. Grace is claiming the Allegro will last 8 hours on a single charge.
Although the feature set and design doesn't quite live up to the offerings of the Logitech Squeezebox Radio, the pricing is aggressive. Yes, the list price is an unpalatable $170, but it's $130 on Amazon now. The Squeezebox Radio is only $150 at Amazon, but if you add the cost of its accessory pack (which includes a remote and battery pack--it still hasn't been released yet), the overall cost is quite a bit higher.