I’ve been living with the Slacker Portable device for about six weeks now and have accumulated a slew of thoughts/insights/revelations on what I like and don’t like about the music player. In case you’re really ADD or just don’t have the time to read the details, here’s the bottom line: the functionality of the Slacker Portable is phenomenal, and far outweighs the hardware and software quirks that come along with it.
First, if you’ve never used the Slacker service online, go check it out. It’s like other customizable Internet radio applications (Last.fm, Pandora), but the personalization tools are particularly flexible and produce great results. So far, having a Slacker Portable is just like carrying the online application around in my pocket, and I don’t need a constant broadband connection.
Like Slacker’s online service, you can use the Slacker Portable to create custom Internet radio stations, or select from DJ-derived stations based on genre. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi, which you can use to transfer station content to the device any time you’re in range of an open wireless network. (No feature yet to enable connections to password-protected networks) In a brilliant move, the Slacker folks let you pre-load your device with stations from your online account when you order it. This is nice because otherwise the first-time download of music via Wi-Fi takes hours. Content refreshes are much faster.