Music lovers: last.fm, Pandora and Spotify will ring musical bells with you. What do all of these radio applications have in common? They allow listeners to tailor and personal individual programmes. This is accomplished thanks to a number of complex algorithms that are designed to understand a user's taste in music and make recommendations accordingly.
laut.fm Radio is a service that has a lot of stations and personalised musical selections.
Find out more about the official app to go with this radio service in our review after the jump.
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Features & Use
Test device: Sony XPERIA Active
Android version: 4.0.4
laut.fm Radio is what is referred to as a "User Generated Radio™", meaning that the radio is produced by people (rather than a computer). We're not casting judgement on whether this is better or worse than other services that work with algorithms rather than hand-picked-by-humans selections – that's for you guys to determine for yourselves!
The app laut.fm Radio is set up in a way that makes it nice and easy to navigate. The landing display is sectioned into five parts:
- Top 50
Check out the radio overview to see which stations are currently running or if you want more infos regarding a current track. Cover images are displayed provided they are available. Stations can be added to your favourites list and you can share tracks via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
You can add your own favourites to a list by clicking on the star. Another fun option is to look for new stations using the Genres list or Top 50. Every station comes with a brief synopsis to help new listeners find their bearings. A feature that's missing is a number of current listeners.
The search function did not work during our test runs.
The pencil symbol located at the top right can be used to display a song watch list. Add current songs, delete tracks or search Amazon should you be really into a given track and wish to purchase it.
A practical feature: hit the clock icon in order to programme when playback should end; you can set up to 120 minutes. I found this feature to be pretty cool whenever I was in the mood for listening to music before falling asleep.
Another plus: the app warns users that data volumes will be used in order to playback via mobile networks, meaning that additional costs may arise. This notification can be deactivate in the settings.
laut.fm Radio performed rather well during our test runs. Most functions did what they're meant to do, save for the – rather important – search feature. The faulty search feature is kind of a big deal as many users rely on precisely this function to help locate artists, albums and tracks, but we do like this service and the app that goes with it and are awarding the application a “good” rating in this category.
Screen & Controls
Using laut.fm Radio works out nicely, even on smaller displays. Most of the app's function are intuitive, but I personally did not particularly warm to the pencil symbol for the track list. Furthermore, it isn't made clear how to exit the list.
If you like the Holo style you're in luck: the app's design is quite nice.
Speed & Stability
laut.fm Radio wasn't as solid in our test runs as we would've liked. The Play/Pause button would occasionally display a pause symbol even though nothing was playing, and the app crashed once.
The app's speed is fine: everything loads quickly enough, including the station lists and stations. Playback worked well throughout our test phase, no sputtering or lagging.
laut.fm Radio is completely free of charge.