We review iPeng an app that lets you control Logitech's Squeezebox audio players
If you own a Logitech (or, previously Slim Devices) Squeezebox, you'll already know how great it is for playing your music collection, internet radio and podcasts.
However, the complex interface isn't always easy to operate using the standard remote control, regardless of which Squeezebox model you own. iPeng fixes this by taking full advantage of the iPhone and iPod Touch's colour screen to allow you far easier control over playing tracks, albums, playlists, radio stations and much more.
We thought it would require a fair amount of configuration to get iPeng talking to SqueezeCenter, the server software which all Squeezeboxes use, but it located it on our network and worked straight away.
As if that wasn't impressive enough, the user interface is well designed. It's fairly complex due to all the controls available in SqueezeCenter, but help screens appear to guide you through. iPeng starts on the Now Playing screen. You can see what's currently playing, control and select your Squeezeboxes (multiple players are supported and can be synchronised to all play in time with each other), and manage the playlist.
The clever part is that Now Playing is actually three screens, and you flick between them as you would with the iPhone's multiple home screens. In the centre is the cover art of the track currently playing. Flick right and you'll see the player control page where you can choose which player you want to control, and select which players are synchronised.
Flicking left shows the current playlist where you can easily select, delete and rearrange tracks and save the playlist. This is a huge bonus as the only way to do this without iPeng is to log into SqueezeCenter's web interface.
There are three play modes, which you'll need to be aware of when choosing music to play.
The mode is shown by an icon at the top of the screen. In default mode, when you select a song, iPeng clears the current playlist and plays the whole album or playlist. In Add mode, when you select a song, only that song will be added to the current playlist. Last is the Play Next mode, which inserts the song you selected into the current playlist after the currently playing track. Again, this makes it incredibly easy to play exactly what you want with the minimum of fuss.
Browsing your music library (plus all your SqueezeCenter plugins like Last.fm) is just as easy as using the iPod or iPhone's music player, since it uses exactly the same interface. You even get the usual icons at the foot of the screen for Artists, Albums, Genres, and these can also be customised.
Tap More.. and there's a wealth of other ways to browse music, including a list of internet radio station services like Radioio plus a highly useful search facility for your local music colleciton. You can also play recently added music, a random selection, or by year.
Thanks to the great responsiveness, which makes iPeng feel just as natural as using a real remote control, iPeng is an essential purchase if you own a Squeezebox. It's far better than Logitech's own Squeezebox Duet remote, and it costs £220 less. Need we say more?
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Platform: iPhone/iPod touch
Developer: Penguin Loves Music
Website/Demo: Penguin Loves Music website