Radium review: a beautiful internet radio player

By , Aug 28, 2013

Radium 2I’ve always wondered why Apple doesn’t include a radio feature with its iOS devices. You can download millions of songs, listen to hundreds of thousands of podcasts, and even fill your iTunes library with as many audio books as your device will fit. But if you want to listen to the radio, you’ll have to download a third-party app.

Radium is an Internet radio app that features more than 8,000 stations across the globe. Additionally, you can save your favorite stations and sync them through iCloud to your Mac Radium app…

Design

The app features a simple design with controls that are easy to use and hidden from sight until you need them. The top half of the screen shows you the album art for the song you are currently listening to. The bottom half of the screen shows you a list of the radio stations that you’ve added to your favorites. You can hid album art and make the list of your radio stations visible on the screen with just the current track’s information listed at the very top by “shoving” the artwork upward. When your iPhone screen is locked, the artist’s name, song title, and album art are displayed.

Pause and play songs by tapping the play button in the image window. Access the app’s settings by tapping the gear icon in the right corner of the window. Tap the screen to access links to purchase music from iTunes or Amazon. You can also share a link to the radio station on Facebook and Twitter, or copy the link to send in email or text message.

Each radio station has an icon next to it that represents its genre. For example, a news station might have a newspaper icon or a sports station may have a basketball icon. You can change them to one of 20 different icons of your choosing. If you want your oldies stations to be distinguished from your 80s metal stations, use the record player for the oldies and the flying “V” guitar for the metal.

Radium 1

App Use

To start listening to music, find a radio station. You can search for stations by name, genre, region or a combination of them. For example, if you remember the call letters of the college radio station you like to listen to, type in “KDVS” or whatever they are. If you are looking for a local college radio station, but have no idea what it would be called or what dial number it is, type in something like, “Berkeley” and “College” to find it.

Radium streams Internet radio from web based services, as well as local radio stations that have their own Internet stream. So, you can listen to stations that are only available online, like Absolute Radio, or find the web stream of your local radio stations, like KBZT 94.9.

Once you’ve found a station, tap it to start listening. If you like it, tap the heart to add it to your favorites list. You can easily remove stations you don’t like by swiping left or right on the station’s tab to bring up the “broken heart” icon. Tap the icon and it will be removed from your list.

When the music starts, many stations will include artist names, song titles, and the album’s name and artwork. To buy the song you are listening to, tap the album art. Then, tap the button on the left that looks like a “download” icon. You can view the track in the iTunes store, tap a direct link to Amazon’s MP3 store (but not the actual song on Amazon, you’ll have to search for it), or add the track to your Wish List. When you add a song to your Wish List, you can listen to a sample of it right from the list. You can also purchase the song from iTunes or visit the Amazon MP3 store by tapping the “buy” tab.

To share what you are listening to, tap the album art and then tap the button that looks like a “Share” icon. You can send a link of the radio station to Twitter and Facebook. You can also send it through text message, copy the link to send to someone in email, copy the track title to paste into a search bar, “love” the song on Last.fm, or visit the website of the Internet radio station you are listening to.

If you send a link to someone, they will need to have Radium downloaded on either their iPhone or Mac in order to access the station.

Speaking of Mac, Radium is also available as a Mac app. It syncs through iCloud, so you can listen to your favorite stations on any desktop or laptop that you have it installed on. The iOS app also syncs in iCloud so you can share your favorites between your Mac and your iPhone. However, I had a difficult time getting the iCloud sync to work on my iPhone and was never able to successfully sync anything between devices.

Tap the Settings icon to access your Wish List, the Equalizer, subscriptions options, and the app’s settings. The Equalizer feature lets you manually adjust the lows, mids, and highs so that you can pump up the bass for a booming sound, or bring up the highs for getting the most out of your metal stations. The app’s equalization is set to auto, but there are also seven additional presets for acoustic, dance, electronica, and more.

You can add a variety of subscription-based radio stations, like SiriusXM, Live365, and CalmRadio. Tap the subscription tab in the settings menu to log into your account.

If you tap the Settings tab, you’ll be able to turn on Last.fm track scrobbling, turn on iCloud syncing, and switch your audio output to Apple TV. It is easy to switch your radio listening to your living room entertainment center with just a tap.

Radium 3

The Good

There is a huge selection of music from thousands of different radio stations. You can find stations that play nothing but 1980s new wave, Sports talk radio, and even French pop from the 1960s.

The Bad

The search engine is not as good as I’d like it to be. If you don’t have the correct name of a specific station, it doesn’t always show up. The search algorithm should be a little broader.

I mentioned above that I was never able to sync my iPhone with my Mac to have my favorites show up in both places.

Value

Radium ~ Perfect Internet Radio is normally priced at $3.99, but is on sale for only $1.99 until Sept. 3. At either price, this app is worth the money for its comprehensive list of Internet radio stations. The app’s connectivity never failed on me, so I know it is a powerful source for streaming media. My iTunes radio stations aren’t even that good. If you already have the Radium Mac app, you’ll love being able to take it with you wherever you go on your iPhone.

Conclusion

If you like listening to Internet radio stations and want a huge selection of genre options, this will suit you perfectly. It is well designed and offers quality streams of Internet radio stations that are about as good as anything you’d get with a subscription Internet radio service. Plus, if you have one, you can add your subscription account for a full featured listening experience. Download Radium for only $1.99 now, before it goes up to its full price on Sept. 3.

Related Apps

TuneIn Radio Pro is very similar and also offers podcast listening. SiriusXM Internet Radio offers a huge selection of stations, but requires a monthly subscription.

Do you pay for Internet radio? Would you pay a one-time fee for free access to thousands of high-quality streaming stations or would you rather just stick with your stereo receiver’s broadcast radio?

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  • Brandon Miranda

    i like it but as of this momement i use itunes radio. i really do like it

  • holyc2a

    how does it compare to TuneInRadio, which I already have. Is there a compelling reason to use this app vs. TuneInRadio? I suppose if you listen on your mac, the sync maybe of use, but otherwise I wonder if there is any significant difference.

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      I guess the UI and sync is the only reason although tunein syncs too with their clunky but functional website…

    • http://www.sacramaniacs.com/ Lory Gil

      It is very similar to TuneIn. If you already love that app, you may not find Radium to be significantly different.

  • Johnnytucats

    The first sentence of this article is ridiculous considering the well-known upcoming iTunes Radio.

    • brooks whiffen seale

      Thats what i was thinking!

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      Not ridiculous at all considering iTunes Radio is more of a music streaming service than a radio app per say. iTunes Radio will only let you listen to virtual stations. It will not let you listen to your local radio for example

  • Kenrick Fernandes

    I love tuenin. Apparently it has some 80000 stations. So why choose this which has 8000 stations and chargeable.

    If there is a good reason I don’t mind.

  • Arjan Vlek

    Why Apple, can’t you just activate the FM radio that’s inside the iPhone 3GS or greater, iPod touch 2nd gen and higher and in any iPad. Then we have unlimited free radio, even outside your country

  • UTuneMe

    With this App’s like this and also TuneIn and UTuneMe You can tune into your local radio station for local news then skip over to another radio station to listen to your favourite Radio presenters, you can’t do that with iTunes Radio which is personalised music streaming.
    UtuneMe has thousands of Radio stations from all over the world and it’s free.

  • rosssimpson

    Bought this seeing this article and in hope of it looking better than TuneInRadio but the album artwork doesn’t work, it doesn’t show the song title playing, it’s kind of well, useless here in the UK! SUCKS.

    • http://www.sacramaniacs.com/ Lory Gil

      some stations don’t upload album artwork. Try different stations.