Global Radio – “Radio Goo Goo, Radio Ga Ga”

Global Radio

Global Radio are the company behind some of the UK’s largest commercial radio stations such as Xfm, Galaxy, Heart, Capital FM and Gold. They have also made a respectable entry into the Android Marketplace by releasing a range of internet radio apps that give you access to their whole range of stations.  As you can see here, each app is named after each station but thankfully they all do the exact same thing so, unlike Pokemon, you don’t need to grab them all; it’s simply a choice of whichever station you want as your default choice when the app starts. Each app gives the choice to stream from a number of commercial radio stations from all over the UK covering all kinds of aspects of popular music directly to your Android handset. The only downside is that many of these are local variations of the same radio station (Galaxy Manchester, Galaxy Birmingham etc) and therefore have the exact same playlists, still for a free app it’s not a bad deal.

Visually the app is pretty bare, just three self-explanatory buttons along the top (favourite, channel lists and power on/off) leaving the rest of the screen free for station info and the inevitable pop up ads. Luckily the pop-up ads don’t get in the way of using the app or listening to the music, the adverts on the station itself may be another matter however.

So what shall we listen to, some Heart? How about some Heart? Can you get Heart on this thing?

You can easily leave the app playing in the background and on a wi-fi connection it’ll confidently stream content with no hassle, on 3G however the connection can drop out from time to time. There doesn’t seem to be an option to optimise the stream quality for 3G connections, in fact settings are limited to just one option, whether you want the screen to always stay on. This aside the app operates very well, scrolling through and cueing up new channels is quick and hassle free and the audio quality sounds perfectly fine. You can build up a list of your favourtie stations simply by playing a channel and pressing the ‘favourite’ button in the top left of the main screen. You can remove stations from your favourites list with a simple ‘long press’. There is also a widget which, despite looking plain, gives you access to your favourites list, the app itself and a simple play/stop button; not overly flashy but perfectly functional which in many ways sums up this series of apps.

Bottom line : For something that is free (albeit ad-supported) this is actually a pretty solid app. Regarding the content, there’s a lot of overlap but it’s simple to use, it’s runs smoothly and (if you don’t mind commerical radio) offers a varied range of music to listen to.

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