The idea of an internet radio is a bit of a tough sell in 2017. After all, why buy a separate dedicated device purely focused on streaming music when every device we carry — along with plenty of standalone speakers — can already access music online?
Grace Digital — a company that tried to kickstart internet radio with its original product, the Mondo, almost five years ago — is back to give it another try with the Mondo+.
The most important addition to the Mondo+ is a built-in Chromecast, which vastly expands the streaming options that the device has to offer (the original could only access Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Napster). And like the original Mondo, the Mondo+ can still get internet radio, terrestrial AM/FM radio, and SiriusXM satellite radio. The Mondo+ also has a few hardware upgrades — it now has Bluetooth for local streaming, and the USB port on the back can now function as 5V charging port in addition to pulling local music off a flash drive. Through the Chromecast, it can also pair up with multiple Mondo+ device (or other Chromecast speakers) for multi-room audio setups.
But there are still some shortcomings that the Mondo+ holds onto from the original version. It can function as a portable speaker with up to 12 hours of battery life, but only if you’re willing to shell out extra for an optional battery. And visually speaking, the Mondo+ is virtually unchanged from its predecessor — there are fewer buttons on the Mondo+, and the software interface has been updated, but it’s still a long way from the industrial design of companies like Sonos or Como Audio.
The Mondo+ will retail at $200, but is available now to back on Kickstarter for an early discount at $175. (For reference, the original Mondo costs $179.99.) Grace Digital is an established company that’s shipped plenty of products (which begs the question of why bother with Kickstarter at all), but the usual risks of crowdfunding still apply.
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