Product: Sansa slotRadio, by SanDisk
Features: This portable digital music player comes with a slotRadio microSD card, preloaded with 1,000 songs from Billboard charts, arranged into seven genre-themed playlists: Rock, Country, R&B/Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Alternative, Workout and Chillout. It also tunes in to local FM stations. The preloaded slotRadio card can fit roughly 10 to 12 of your own songs in a "My Channel" playlist. It will play any microSD card with music files -- not just a slotRadio microSD card. Has built-in belt clip and comes with a case when you buy it online from SanDisk.
Ups: I liked using it because the songs were surprisingly pretty good and varied between new and old _ and it has many songs you don't find on the radio (wouldn't have guessed the band Zebrahead would be on here). Plus when you turn it off or switch genre channels, the next time you go back to that genre, the song will pick up from where you left off.
Downs: If you are someone who likes to be in total control of your music, you will find this player to be one big downer. Listening to music on this is like listening to Internet radio: There is no back button, and you have to listen to the songs in order. All you can do is skip forward or change genres. And if you use your own microSD card filled with music, the same controls apply -- you have to listen in order.
You also cannot transfer the 1,000 Billboard songs to a computer or delete them -- they are not accessible.
Bottom line: This is good for the person who wants something small and simple like an iPod shuffle, but doesn't want to bother with downloading music. More preloaded slotRadio cards will be sold separately for $39.99. I like the idea of slotRadio, but I have a feeling people would rather buy the Sansa Fuze line of MP3 players: The Fuze has more internal memory, gives users more control over the playlist and order of their music (aka, a back button), and supports these slotRadio microSD cards.
(c) 2009, The Miami Herald.
Visit The Miami Herald Web edition on the World Wide Web at www.herald.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Explore further: Mobile input device Phree invites you to jot, sketch, take notes