Are you the kind of person who can’t live without the radio on 24/7? Then you’ll love the free TuneIn Radio app for Android and iPhone, powered by RadioTime.
TuneIn is a free, ad-supported download for Android phones, while iPhone users will have to pay £1.19 ($1.99) for the privilege. We tested the Android version on an HTC Hero, and we were highly impressed with the results.
TuneIn offers you a choice of over 40,000 radio stations from across the globe streamed live to your phone. You can search the list of supported stations to make sure your favourite is on their list. More than that, TuneIn also lists available podcasts from popular stations such as the BBC, so you can catch up with programmes you missed on the live stream.
Streaming results from a sample of local stations were great, with sound quality decent even with low bit rate sources. The only interruptions came with loss of signal, which could be a problem if you plan to listen live in an area with spotty reception.
The app makes it easy to find the stations or shows you want, with the option to search by location, genre (sport, music or talk) or broadcast language. Tapping the 'Local Radio' link always takes you to a list of local stations, useful when visiting a new city and trying to pick up local news and culture.
When you've settled on a station, the selection screen offers a complete schedule of shows, similar results from other stations and the option to set as an alarm. Clicking the 'Add to Presets' button will also allow you to add a particularly great find to a favourites list for easy access in future.
TuneIn Radio does have its flaws, however. Podcast listening could do with an upgrade, as it is impossible to skip fast forward or rewind playback. The selection of sports-focused stations is also disappointly poor, with most devoted to incomprehensible American pastimes such as NASCAR racing or college football. It may also be the case that RadioTime doesn't index your favourite station, although we struggled to find an example.
TuneIn Radio is without a doubt the best radio streaming application we’ve seen so far. While most of this content could be picked up online for free, the convenience of having it all indexed in one easily accessible location with a logical and simple user interface is immensely satisfying. The free Android edition is well worth the download, and iPhone users should seriously considered laying out the small fee for a copy.