Product Review: Grace Innovator 3


Grace Innovator III Radio Lacks Signal Power

By Ken Bryan

If you haven't taken advantage of the benefits of an internet radio you are missing out on a wonderful resource that provides access to more radio content than you will ever be able to take advantage of.

And as wonderful as the internet radio experience CAN be, like any technology it can be filled with setbacks which is what this article is all about. The GRACE brand Innovator 3, IR2500 digital radio promises a lot but has technical problems that make it a poor choice as far as internet based radios go.

Let's start with the positives. The Innovator 3 is a well designed unit with not too many buttons and the firmware seems standard for the 3 other internet radios I have experienced. It does take some learning to understand how to get stations and use the search system, but once you get it, although its tedious its not that bad.

The sound on the Innovator 3 is very good. The larger cabinet seems to enhance the bass and overall tone to be above average as internet radios go.

Where the Innovator 3 really fails is signal pickup strength. This unit being the third internet radio I have tested it is by far the worst at picking up the wireless signal from within the home. In side by side tests with a small and battery driven apple Ipod touch, the Innovator 3 would regularly lose the signal while the Ipod kept playing. In comparison to the Ipdio internet radio the Grace Innovator 3 again fell short.

What's even worse is that the Innovator 3 firmware would often lose a signal and never again pick it up unless the power cord was unplugged and then plugged back in. This again had something to do with the firmware that was installed. However, even when the firmware was updated this problem persisted. The radio would search and search for a wireless connection and never find one. However once the unit was unplugged and then plugged back in the unit would instantly find the signal and link up to the station.

Upon repeated attempts to understand why the unit could not pick up the signal when, another i-radio, and Ipod and laptop all could, the technical support system was of no help. The tech support could also not explain why the system would lock up and not pick up the wireless signal until the power cord was unplugged and plugged back in.

All of these technical faults far outweigh the sound benefits and the overall quality construction of the unit. And while you would be missing out if you never discovered the benefits of the Internet Radio world, you would give up quickly on the concept if your first experience was with the Grace Innovator 3 radio.

I cannot speak for all Grace Internet radio products, so possibly the other models they manufacture have better results, but in this instance you would be best to try another brand.

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