22 September 2012

A tiny radio...

...but with big sound. It has surprisingly good audio, even from the little speakers built into the unit. I'm really happy with the wifi internet radio I decided to buy, the Archos 35 Home Connect (about 90 euros on Amazon France). I say "two thumbs up."

When I say it's tiny, I mean it. And it's very light-weight and is battery-powered, which means it's imminently portable. I can carry it around the house with me, from kitchen to living room to upstairs TV room. I haven't tried it outside yet (it rained yesterday afternoon) so I don't know if the wireless signal will carry far enough.

The radio with a DVD just for scale

Speaking of the wireless signal, the Archos radio found and connected to our D-Link modem/router sans problème. I had to enter our password, and bingo: there it was, connected. The network connection seems stable, but there were two or three times yesterday when the radio signal got dropped somewhere along the way and the unit went silent. It came back  in a minute or less. I don't blame the Archos.

Listening to old French songs in the kitchen

At first, I found it difficult to navigate through the device's screens and type characters using the little on-screen keyboard — my fingers are too fat. But then I realized I could use a stylus — the eraser end of a pencil, for example. So easy, and a much less frustrating experience than finger-pointing and -swiping. It's too bad the radio didn't come with a stylus.

The main screen: radio, recorded music, clock (with alarms), and photo frame apps

This is an Android unit, using that Google operating system. It can do much more than play radio stations, but that's probably what it does best (using the TuneIn app). So far, I've also figured out how to get my Google mail and read blogs and other web pages on the little Archos screen.

The Archos 35 next to my laptop, again for scale

And the radio is great. It took me hardly any time to find the stations I wanted to have as "favorites" so that I can get to them quickly and painlessly. Some, like France Inter and Chante France, didn't show up on the TuneIn lists of available radio stations (or I couldn't find them). But there's a search feature, and that made it easy. You just type in the name of the radio station and it pops right up — WUNC, for example, the North Carolina public radio station. Then you save it as a favorite. I'm not yet sure how many favorite stations TuneIn can store, but I've already got 16 on my list.

Two stations on my "favorites" list, both local

The radio gets power through a USB connection. I other words, you can plug it into a USB port on a powered-up computer or TV set and not worry about an AC adapter. But there's also an AC adapter that plugs into a wall outlet and has a USB port on it for the cable.

Did you know that Sinatra's "My Way" was originally a French song?

There's also a headphone jack (or line out) so it's easy to hook the Archos radio into your stereo amplifier or a set of amplified speakers. For the kitchen, where I will use the radio most of the time, the built-in speakers are just fine. But yesterday afternoon I had it patched into the upstairs amplifier and speakers and really enjoyed the quality of the sound (listening to Nostalgie Chansons Françaises). Fun.


  1. Ken, could you please tell me if you can find BBC Radio 4 on the list... it will hopefully be there and I can have my bedside table top back!!
    We are...HISSS!...currently list...HISSS!...ening to the Beeb o...HISSS!...n Long ...HISSS!...Wave...HISSS!......HISSS!...and I can't stand it much longer!

  2. You may have started a rush on this product!
    Thanks for the detailed info.

  3. Hi Ken, I always try to listen to French radio while there (talk channels are more challenging than tv, and it's amazing how much vocab you absorb when listening to French songs): luckily our signal(just a few miles west of you) is strong so we make do with an ancient 'ghettoblaster'!

    Just thought I'd flag up the Montrichard Rendez-vous du Pain - it's on 5-7 Oct., and the guest country is Sweden. Sadly we're not there till the following week, but perhaps we could try for an intro/café when we're over?
    Enjoy the sounds!

  4. Ken, I've found Tuneins website and both Radio 4 and Radio 4 LW [for the cricket donchaknow!] are on there... so presumably on the Archos?

  5. Yes, Tim, BBC Radio 4 is on the Archos list. Actually, you can consult the list by geographical location on tunein.com, and here's a link to Radio 4 on TuneIn.

  6. i Ken,

    I like the size of the Archos so can see why you went for it. We listen to a lot of BBC Radio 4 in France, for the cricket (like Tim) and for the Archers (not a programme that you will probably be familiar with).

    The Archers on the Archos has a certain ring about it!

  7. I used to listen to the Archers on my car radio back in the 70s when I lived in Paris and traveled around some in Normandy. It was fun. I can't believe it is still going. I have BBC 4 as a favorite on the Archos and I'll be listening to it some.

  8. Good
    Now you can listen to your favourite stations :-)

    "My Way" -"comme d'habitude"

    Paul Anka said that he was vacationing in France when he first heard Claude François on the radio. He decided to write an English version .

  9. ahh, Beaver, thanks for that Paul Anka info. I was about to say that I couldn't see how it could have been originally a French song, since it was written by Paul Anka, but... I didn't know that he stole it from a French song! :))

    Ken, great for you about the new radio!


  10. Sinatra sang some great songs in our day. Now you have radio "your way" with North Carolina in the mix.
    We are living in the best of times for being connected!

  11. It sounds excellent. I must admit I usually only listen to one or two programmes a day, on the laptop, normally on whatever the radio station website 'listen again' facility is, rather than the live stream. I love having a range of stations available from various countries.

  12. Judy, Comme d'habitude was a Claude François hit way back when.

    Evelyn, it is true. Are you in California?

    McCork, yes, stay in touch.

    By the way, I see that Amazon UK has a better price for the Archos 35 than Amazon France. And the radio comes with a set of plug adapters for the US, the UK, and Europe.

  13. Ken

    Thank you for mentioning the site for nostalgies.fr. I have had it on since this morning - some very very nice songs , sending me down on memory lanes and wishing I was a teenager again :-)

    I have sent it to my sister and I am pretty sure that she will be streaming that station at work .

  14. Ken,

    You'll be surprsed by how racy the Archers has gotten. I just love this 'everyday story of country folk'!!

  15. Beaver, the nice thing about that Nostalgie Chansons Françaises (http://play.nostalgie.fr/nostalgie/nostalgie-chansons-francaises.html) stream is that it doesn't have any publicités or even news. It's just music, and the playlist features a lot of old songs I remember well from the radio in Paris back then, often off albums I would never have bought (I was too poor!). And it's French songs only.

  16. Congratulations on the radio. And thanks for the heads up about the Amazon UK version! My telephone dock, a Philips, also uses TuneIn for radio selection. I love TSF Jazz and "Classic and Jazz" on TuneIn.

  17. Pauline is the cricket fan... not me... can't stand Aggers rabbiting on... and Boycott.. well! Nuff said!
    Darts is my thing... and it doesn't make good radio!!

  18. Ken, yes I'm in LA. Highlights- grandson and seeing the space shuttle Endeavour fly over accompanied by two jets. It's hotter here than in Alabama right now.

  19. Interesting radio. We listen to Chante France on our PCs. We play it through the TV to get really good sound during dinner.

  20. Starman, try the Nostalgie Chansons Françaises steam (link in my post, I think) — you'll like it, I'm sure. I like better than Chante France now.


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