Lightweight Radio Player for Your Desktop

very good
key review info
application features
  • Multilingual cross-platform application
  • (2 more, see all...)

We often find ourselves enjoying music when using our iPhone, while working on the computer or even while driving. If you want to find new music or see what's popular right now, radio stations will help you do all that.

Portable Radio Player is a lightweight application that will help you listen to various radio stations on your Mac and save the ones you like to a list of favorites. Radios are grouped by default, so you can easily find the music you like just by selecting the desired genres.

Portable Radio Player is a good solution for both avid and casual radio listeners. It allows you to manage hundreds of radio stations and listen to them at any given time.

The Looks

Portable Radio Player has a simple interface that consists of a single window where you can browse music genres, radio stations, create favorites or access the application’s settings.

I think that providing access to all the program’s features from a single window is a good design decision since it makes the application feel more compact and easy to use.

The Works

After launching it, you need to select the desired music genre; based on it, a couple of radio stations will be displayed. Some of the available genres are Alternative, Classical, Dance, Electronic, Rock&Metal.

If you're not sure what you want to listen, you can select the All Genre option and browse through the available radio stations. Right clicking on any of them allows you to rate/delete the station or add it to the favorites.

Double clicking on a station transfers you to the player window where you can view the station logo, change the volume, as well as start or stop the playback.

I was a little disappointed to see that some stations couldn't be accessed, which is strange since most of them displayed the No Error message when connecting.

The Favorites feature provides a great way to organize the stations you like but, unfortunately, you can't sort them based on rating or even drag and drop them around to create a certain order.

Most stations come with alternative streaming links so if the first one is not working, you can try the other ones. Some of them come with 6 or even 7 alternative links, which is great, considering the fact that small stations tend to change their hosting quite often.

The station's logo is also a hot-link to its website. I found this to be a very useful feature, helpful to anyone who wants to see the latest news or comments on a station's website. However, since the application is not updated that often, you may encounter broken links at times.

Unfortunately, Portable Radio Player has some small issues that tend to ruin the fun of using it. I’ve tested it on both Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion, and the memory consumption was similar on both platforms. When listening to a radio station for more than 20-30 minutes, you may find that the applications is occupying 300 or even 600 MB of RAM.

While this may not be a problem for users with 6 GB RAM or more, depending on the overall amount of RAM consumed by the operating system and all running apps, those who have less memory installed on their Macs might notice that other applications are non-responsive at times. A simple solution for this problem is to restart Portable Radio Player when memory consumption is too high.

The Options window lets you change the application language, skin or buffer size. You can also save window position and the last radio station, so that playback is automatically resumed the next time you open the app.

Here you can also choose to display or hide the splash screen, connection errors. If you want to launch the application minimized, in most cases it might not start, so you’ll have to delete the prp.ini file in order to make it work or even re-download it.

The Good

Portable Radio Player allows you to listen to radio stations and rate / add them to a Favorites playlist. The application also features smooth stream playback and a large number of stations (over 1000).

The Bad

Portable Radio Player has some issues, such as broken links and huge memory consumption when used for a larger amount of time. There are some workarounds for these problems, but, hopefully, they’ll be fixed in the next version.

Station management also feels incomplete, you can't sort stations the way you want, they are just listed in an alphabetical order. It would also be great if you could add new radio stations to the player, instead of using the default ones.

The Truth

Despite the memory issue and the lack of station management features, Portable Radio Player is a solid radio player that comes with a great and wide-ranging list of stations that you can enjoy at any time. 

The application is also useful for finding new music while browsing through its list of predefined radio stations. If the bugs are fixed, Portable Radio Player can become the best solution for people who simply want to listen to radio. It's also free, and is available to download right now.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 4
features 3
ease of use 5
pricing / value 4

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good