Slacker is a web based music service that offers both a free and paid version. The Slacker clients stream music via the web as well as many smartphones. I’ve subscribed for about 6 months because the paid version of Slacker allows me to skip as many songs as I would like while listening to the service. What I really like about the paid version is that you can use a special Slacker MP3 player to store music for when you’re on the go and not connected to the web UPDATE: Both the free and paid versions allow you to connect a Slacker portable player – a paid account gives unlimited skips and no commercials. The newest model of the player – Slacker G2 – is available in both 4 GB (25 music stations) and 8 GB (40 music stations). My friend Nan Palmero has been testing the G2 and has these observations.
The player seems to take some time to boot up which can be frustrating when you’re at the gym and ready to get started. The interesting thing is that if you time it, it’s only about 10 seconds. I guess I’m just used to my iPod’s snappy startup.
People seem to be fascinated by the player. We frequently use it on the Slacker Dock to stream music at our Friday Pity Party’s at the office.
The first thing people want to do when they grab it is press the Slacker badge right below the screen (which doesn’t perform any task). I did the same thing when I first received it.
If this is a consistent theme, Slacker should consider making it a button. Speaking of the Slacker Dock for the G2, it has a line out port, headphone port and usb port for charging. I’m not really sure what the difference is between the line out and headphone port. The dock is very well built and it actually carries a significant weight to it. You can tell that the Slacker folks really care about quality thanks to the great plastics used in their player and accessories.
The battery life has been more than acceptable to me. I really like that it uses a mini-usb port to power it. Very convenient.
The belt clip is a nice bonus and I use it daily at the gym. It grips well without being overly stiff. I wish all music players would include these. I hate arm bands.
Sound quality was robust. I noticed very little digitization of the songs via my Koss KSC-55 headphones. Furthermore, I was able to use the Slacker G2 while mowing the yard and had plenty of volume to spare. I can’t say the same about my iPod Nano.
Navigating around the Slacker G2 made sense to me. Wifi setup for syncing was easy, even though it always told me it had a weak signal, whether it was placed next to the router or not. I did find that the scroll wheel was clunky and could use some speeding up. It’d be nice if you could change the speed settings on the click wheel to make it more responsive. Having used a BlackBerry with a scroll wheel, the rolling, clicking and back button were all logical. I would have liked to have controlled the volume with the wheel, too.
What I liked:
Great audio quality
Solid build quality (device and accessories)
Good battery life
Wifi updating of music and system software
What I’d Improve:
Consider an OLED screen for even better battery life, lighter device and great looks
Removable battery – love those!
Make the Slacker logo do something
Speed up the scroll wheel
Speed up wifi downloads
Consider a micro usb connection for smaller implementations