Many problems & possible solutions (for next update)
Hi there, at first I want to share a little review, that explains why i come to the conclusions of lacks and solutions down and why these solutions would be fair for the customers of the NP3700. The conclusions can be read as a constructive critic in the name of the customers and a lucrative job for the developers of the firmware.
I have the Philips NP3700 for two days now and I'm thinking about taking advantage of my right to return unsatisfactory products.
There are many reviews in the internet that speak a similar language about this highly talented problem child.
It seems that Philips is just ahead of the breakthrough in the WLAN streaming radio sector, but the only solution for this is a user-oriented work on the firmware, because just releasing new products will cost more than enough time, promotion and status and would dismiss the role of the NP Series as the flagship of the touchscreen controlled, streaming-audio-station.
As long as the market is new and overflowed with some expensive high class und much overpriced low quality, it is possible for the customers to keep the faith in the NP3700. The squeezebox touch does not even have speakers, but the development goes further.
Review: I was told in the store, that the NP3700 is an alarm radio with WLAN & Stream support and that was the reason I bought it. For the price of 250 Euros the Sound was OK and after a little EQing it became way better. That's the sound part of the radio. The WLAN part worked for me. Twonky is just a gimmick, nothing I would use for streaming. Windows Media Player streams way better, because of its great integration in the OS. The sound is, all in one, together with the stream quality a nice choice in this price segment. I am an audiophile, but I have not to be told to dedigitate, when it comes to talking about spending around 250 Euros. If I want the full power of my Hi Fi, I can link the NP3700 with my amplifier (by jack to cinch).
In general the NP3700 is faster that the NP3900. The keypad is a little bit lame, too, but that fits, when I wake up, trying to open my eyes^^
If you grew up with cassette radios, you can remember, that you always have had the time to look for a well selected song on a well selected tape.
I think listening to music should become more conscious after all the speed evolutions in skipping after seconds from junk to junk.
Ironically, instead of this i really enjoy to be forced to slow down and take my time with the great pleasure of internet radio. It gives me back that feeling of diving slowly into the sound and it gives me the feeling that there's no time to waste with the junk. Yes, music is a pearl.
Even though the tempo of the keypad can be a "benefit", there's another point, which leads to the constructive conclusions.
Constructive conclusions: All together, a satisfying sounding WLAN radio, with the access to the world of REAL music (global music) and your own collection though still requires a QUICK access, when you are reaccessing your media.
That's the point which leads me to the next parts. Once I programmed the NP3700 I don't want to always reedit the bread and butter functions.
Bread and Butter Function 1: the alarm part of the radio is for my opinion insufficient.
At first, in this price segment, the rival "squeezebox" "touch" comes with 7 (5 is minimum!) alarm times AND a touchscreen. This would always be the reason why customers, who want an alarm radio with WLAN & stream would buy the squeezebox articles.
The good news for philips customers is: the NP3700 comes with a hardware-internal software, that can manage files in folders.
It's already possible, that the NP3700 can manage ONE alarm time, spreading it out to 7 Days from Monday to Sunday.
So 7 additional sub-folders at this path would ease the pain of resetting your alarm every day, when you have multiple work times.
Each day another station would be cool.
Bread and Butter Function 2:
Adjusting the sleep timer doesn't work quick enough. I always have to go deep into the settings.
Does it save the last shutdown time? I didn't try it.
I just thought, that a normal shutdown function would do the same job, which could come with a minimum of only 1 shutdown and a maximum of 7 shutdown times (each day another time to sleep), but i guess we all want to sleep at 11pm to be fit the next day, right?^^
The main problem with the sleep timer is, that I can't autonomically adjust one station to it, that has nothing to do with the station last played. I just want to assign one station to the sleep timer and (an)other (station)s to the alarm timer.
The reason is simple: I prefer a relaxing station to sleep and I don't want the same music in the morning that makes me wanna sleep again.
Bread and Butter Function 3:
The screen saver could be more adjustable, by adding the possibility to change its start-time.
Bread and Butter Function 4:
One on the most important necessities I do with my internet radio stations in my laptop is SORTING them.
For this purpose I create Playlists in iTunes like "Funk, Soul & Jazz" and I add all the stations I like, that play these genres. I can export them. The same goes with Winamp.
I expected from the NP3700, that I can make parent-folders, i can rename.
Renaming each station is another point. I know, that the stations send their own ID3 Informations that overwrite a name in a player, but editable parent folders would do the whole job of sorting it in the player.
So the renaming of a station can only be done with the station-exported playlist on the server. I don't know, if the NP3700 stores the urls, oder the stream-playlists on its harddisc.
Storing the stream playlists would be a great advantage.
Not only because of the luxury that customers can stream Internet-Radio playlists to the NP3700, which makes the saving of favorites a walk in the park (otherwise opening a streamed Internet-Radio playlists results in the phrase "list empty"). This would ease the Pain of naming parent folders with the key-pad.
The next point is, that the NP3700 could treat playlists as storable, sortable files and the user could assign ID3 Tags (including genres) to them for better browsing.
As long as the stations can be searched by genre, why can't they be stored this way?
Bread & Butter Function 5 (!):
In the last 2 days i had 2 complete breakdowns of the software. Both using AccuWeather. The first happened during opening the local weather, the second happened, while i was scrolling through the countries.
After each time the NP3700 hung, I had to reset the settings of the NP3700 to gain access again to the Internetradio, which told me ("list empty"), after I clicked it after the first breakdown.
If the firmware is this buggy and I have to research the stations I'm listening to every week, I will give the NP3700 quickly back.
Thanks for advance!