Anyone got their hands on a M5Stack Dial in the UK?

I am looking at options for a music streamer / active speaker, and the commercial options are largely disappointing: mostly one has to spend over £1k+ to get something with a display on it. Often they use a mobile app instead, which I find cumbersome; I don’t want to unlock my phone just to change the album, for example.

So I have a cunning plan. I plan to buy a decent BlueTooth/networked speaker, and then use a small Pi-like device with an integrated screen as the streamer. My current design is two devices:

  • A Pi Zero W 2 to pull FLAC/MP3 data from a remote server over Wi-Fi, and to feed it to an active speaker via USB or BT
  • A ESP32 device with an integrated screen paired with the Pi via BlueTooth, with a custom touch interface, to act as a controller

It would be nice to do all the above with the ESP32 device, but I don’t think it will cope with music decoding.

I think the M5Stack Dial would be excellent for the ESP32 device - the dial device would be great for track and album selection. But I can’t find a supplier in the UK that is in-stock, and I’ve even tried a few European suppliers, and I am getting no joy there either. It looks like I can order directly from M5Stack, but the worse-case lead times are rubbish, and there are customs risks too.

Anyone know of any secret stashes? 😃

An update for readers. So Pimoroni don’t stock this at all, The Pi Hut have it coming but there’s no ETA. Direct from M5Stack requires cheap slow shipping (15USD, up to 60 days) or 7-day shipping (23USD).

Finally I found some stock on Chinese site AliExpress, and they can deliver in 14 days for a nominal sum. The website is a ropey shocker from circa 2005, and I did worry it was going to run up an impressive cocaine bill with my debit card, but the world hasn’t stopped spinning on its axis yet. I shall report if it arrives!

Well, despite the seller website getting my address wrong and being unwilling to change it, it still arrived at my front door, and within 10 days too! I’m going to have fun trying this.

The device doesn’t have an integrated lithium battery as I’d erroneously assumed, but I reckon I can still make use of it. Despite the bright ABS colours, it feels like a quality device. The default firmware is much better than most Chinese-to-English efforts; it’s not optimised for the circular screen, but it shows what the device is capable of, and I think one replaces this default boot anyway. The colour display is vibrant, and the capacitive touchscreen does work well, though possibly not so well at the edges.

So if anyone was worried about ordering from overseas, well perhaps it is not as risky as one would have thought.