The Griffin RadioShark has been out for a while now…basically, it’s a Tivo for radio.
It’s a great concept, but the overall functionality of the device is a mixed bag.
The look of the device, I have to say, is pretty cool. It looks like a slick white shark fin, with three illuminating lines on each side of the it. The RadioShark looks right at home next to my Mac Mini, and the lights are a nice touch. They glow an eerie red whenever the unit is recording, so you always know when it’s working.
Here’s where the first issues come in. The RadioShark software looks kind of like a Winamp Skin from 1994, and doesn’t quite match the style or coolness of the device itself.
Other than that, it functions pretty well. Recording is easy enough, and if you wanted to, it is precise enough where you could go in, select only one portion of a recording (say, a talk segment…certainly not a song…that would be wrong) and separate it for easy listening later on. It also does a good job of recording longer shows…again, talk shows for example….without too much trouble.
The only major flaw in the software is the lack of a guide of any kind for the radio stations. I’m not sure, however, if it would even be possible to provide a guide for every radio station in the world (or even in the US for that matter)…so I can’t really fault the RadioShark for not having that feature. It’s just something that Tivo users have become accustomed to, and it’s hard to get used to using the software without it.
Here lyes my single biggest complaint about the RadioShark. It simply doesn’t have enough range in my area. I can only clearly pick up one radio station in our city, all the others have static on them, and the stations that I listen to that are out of town are completely out of the question. I should point out that my alarm clock can pick those other stations with no problem.
If I mount the RadioShark higher in the building I can get slightly better reception, but not clear enough to listen for any length of time.
The RadioShark does some things well. It’s designed well, and the software functions like it should, the biggest problem I have with it is the lack of reception that I’m getting. I can’t speak for it in other areas, but I live in a city with approximately 1,000,000 people in it (and surrounding communities), and we have a dozen or so radio stations. I feel like I should be able to listen to more than one of them.
Still, if you live in more metropolitan areas, you might have better luck. If you can get the stations, it’s well worth having, but if you’re limited in your reception area, you might want to wait for a future RadioShark, or look for another product.