I have now had my Touch for coming up to two months and am overall still delighted with the SQ and overall value-for-money. However it hasn't all been plain sailing. Having lived with a Sonos system for about four years now my initial impression is that the Slim/Squeeze/Whateveritscalledthisweek software environment pales by comparison. In short, my impression is that it is clunky, sluggish and flaky. Some examples:
- The server installation on a pristine Win7 machine failed first time without any explanation or error message. Subsequent attempts also failed until I completely scrubbed off the broken installation using Revo Uninstaller. I haven't even attempted to install it on my ReadyNAS NV+ yet.
- Settings that seem obvious to me (maybe coloured by my Sonos experience) such as setting the library to automatically scan for updates daily, are buried several layers deep in an 'Advanced' sub-menu. Others like turning off wifi require logging in to the Touch with ssh and manually editing a config file!
- The responsiveness of the touchscreen interface on the unit itself is good, however both the browser-based client on the PC and the iPeng RC client for iThing are quite ponderous and sometimes take seconds to respond.
- The PC UI seems to have been laid out in quite a haphazard way with small buttons scattered about that you have to hover on to see what they actually do. The screen drawing routines also appear to be a bit temperamental, with text frequently spilling over album art, things appearing on top of each other when they should be beside each other etc.
- Whoever decided to use drop down list boxes as a navigation mechanism clearly hasn't read the Windows Style Guide. This very effectively hides several important menu screens. Very hard to understand how such a glaring faux pas can have slipped past QA.
I now have my Touch in what seems to be a stable configuration doing what I want it to do, however this involved several hours of futzing.
By comparison the Sonos software is really polished. The UI has a nicely consistent look-and-feel across the Sonos Controller, PC and iThing environments and is nicely responsive in all of them. With the exception of a couple of occasions when the Sonos Controller has frozen necessitating a straightforward hardware reset the software has never crashed or behaved strangely. IMHO it is light years closer to 'consumer audio' than the Squeeze.
This is my first first-hand experience with Slim products and after two months my initial takeout is the hardware is (really) nice, the software needs a lot more work. I intend to keep the Touch to feed hi rez files to the bigrig but will continue to use Sonos in the rest of the house.