Posted March 27, 2008
There’s been a lot of buzz for a long time (more than a year) about the Slacker Portable Player, a much-anticipated MP3 player that is finally just hitting the market. So far, the word in Nerdville is that, amazingly, it pretty much lives up to hype. Basically, if you enjoy Internet radio, you’ll love that Slacker now lets you take it with you. I signed up for a free account at Slacker.com, created a bunch of stations in a matter of minutes (e.g., you can create a station that plays nothing but, say, songs by your ten favorite bands), and then a few days later I got a Slacker in the mail already loaded with those stations. (There are more than 2 million songs in the Slacker library, and you can listen to them all for free if you’re willing to endure a few minutes of commercials per hour—or you can pay $10 a month to upgrade to commercial-free.) The unit’s sort of bulky (about the size of a first-generation iPod), and it lacks a touch screen (you use a scroll wheel to navigate the menus on the beautiful LCD display), but it’s generally a pleasure to use. And the brilliant thing about it is that whenever you’re around a Wi-Fi connection, it updates your stations with new songs—making it a powerful, portable music-discovery engine.
$199.99 and up at Slacker.com.