SanDisk slotRadio Player Review: An Insider's Take



Many of the folks who write for funkyfresh work in the technology industry. Occasionally we like to give you an insider’s look at the development of new and innovative products.

SanDisk just launched its new slotRadio player that comes preloaded with 1000 songs in multiple genres of music. This thing is an unbelievable value. We know this because we actually worked on the product. So full disclosure, this is not meant to be a third party review. However, this product is so cool and so much fun to use we wanted to give you the straight dope because we’ve seen some inaccurate information circulating about slotRadio. This truly is a product you have to experience to appreciate.  Look for promotional deals.

We found this deal on SlickDeals.  Not sure how long it's going to last.  But check it out and save yourself $30 on the slotRadio bundle.

Let’s start with the music. Every slotRadio card comes with 1000 pre-loaded songs in playlists ready to go right out of the box. Imagine 40 cassettes stacked on top one another or 50 CDs all packed into a microSD card that’s paper thin about the size of your pinky finger. It’s truly like science fiction. Pop the card in the player and you’re playing music in about 5 seconds. There is no setup, computers, subscriptions, fees…none of that.

So is the music any good? Yes, it’s actually incredible. Anyone who buys a slotRadio player or card will simply be blown away by the quality of the music. SanDisk worked with Billboard to identify the top selling artists of the last 50 years and worked with music experts to design the playlists on the slotRadio cards. Funkyfresh worked extensively on many of the slotRadio playlists and we can assure you SanDisk is committed to making slotRadio cards that music freaks and the masses will both enjoy.

The sound quality of the slotRadio player is very good, especially with headphones that showcase just how good the sound is. We’ve been using our Sony MDR-7500s and are very impressed with what this little die cast aluminum wonder can dish out.

The way SanDisk locks the music to the card allows the cards to be played in any compatible slotRadio player. The music is not locked to the device. This means friends and family can freely share cards without the need to synchronize devices or use computers in any way. If you’ve ever been frustrated by a music service that requires synchronizing your music player once a month with the service you’ll certainly appreciate how freeing this can be.

My niece recently formatted her MP3 player by accident, erasing about 2 gigs worth of music I loaded for her. My sister and her husband love music but just can’t be bothered with downloading and transferring music. I can’t wait to get my niece a slotRadio player because I no longer have to be her personal curator of music and tech support guy. I’m sure a lot of music geeks will appreciate this. And if they still want to make mixes or whatever they can do that on a blank microSD card and just mail that out. No need to have the device in order to load it.

By they way, if you already have a Sansa Fuze from Sandisk you can upgrade the firmware to play slotRadio cards. You don't need to buy the slotRadio player. Plus, the Fuze will display the album art of every track. Pretty cool. Sandisk has been talking of replicating the slotRadio experience on cell phones too.  Here's the link to the support page to download the updater.

So how do they do it? Well, SanDisk is probably the only company that could pull it off. The company has a ridiculous number of patents related to Flash memory technology, some 1500 plus in the US alone, and has packed quite a bit of that IP into slotRadio. The beauty is all of this technology is completely transparent to the end user. Just turn it on and go. There are no menus, no scroll wheels and no superfluous features with slotRadio. There are dedicated buttons for changing channels, skipping songs, adjusting the volume and switching between FM radio and the slotRadio card. Yes, slotRadio has a built in tuner with RDS. It couldn’t be easier. It's all about music made simple.  It's fun and it works.

Visit SanDisk for more information about slotRadio.

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