|Final Thoughts and Conclusion|
Today we've got a new product from Sandisk on the test bench, the SlotRadio media cards and SlotRadio compatible players. We've taken a look at a few media players from Sandisk in the past (Sansa e270 reviewed here and Sansa Fuze 4GB review here), but the SlotRadio system is something completely new and different from previous Sandisk products in the past (SlotRadio cards are compatible with some of the newer Sansa players like the Sansa Clip+ that we used in our testing).
The SlotRadio system is for people who want a mix of their favorite genre of songs without the fuss and hassle of iTunes. Adding an additional 1000 songs to your SlotRadio capable media player is as simple as plugging in another microSD card and pressing play.
You can find out more about SlotRadio over here at www.slotradio.com.
SlotRadio is nice for the person who wants to press play and not have to worry about making playlists or anything, basically SlotRadio is like listening to your favorite radio station but being able to skip over the song if you don't like it (which is probably why they call it SlotRadio). The simplicity of SlotRadio is however the biggest drawback for the avid music listener.
Before we start taking a closer look at SlotRadio, I need to mention that all the songs on the SlotRadio cards are DRM protected (you won't be able to copy these songs off the SlotRadio cards onto other devices). DRM is a bit of a dirty word anymore and quite a few people are very anti-DRM. But why has Sandisk gone with DRM you ask? In order to offer you 1000 songs for $40 bucks Sandisk has to guarantee record companies that people won't be able to copy these songs (or distribute them to their friends), thus being the reason that DRM is used. If you consider how much it would cost you to download 1,000 DRM-free from your favorite music service you will probably quickly realize that these SlotRadio cards are quite a bargain and I think most people will understand why these songs are DRM protected.
Ok, enough talking, let's take a closer look at SlotRadio.
I used the “Rock” SlotRadio card in our testing which included a nice mix of rock music from the past 30 years. This card was divided into 7 sub-genre’s which included:
80’s – Bon Jovi, The Police, The Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, etc.
90’s – Our Lady Peace, Sublime, Soundgarden, Garbage, No Doubt, etc.
Modern Rock – Incubus, The Cranberries, Beck, Modest Mouse, Blur, etc.
Classic Rock – The Classics from Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones, U2, Thin Lizzy, etc.
Hard Rock – Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead, System of a Down, Anthrax, etc.
Chillout – A mellower mix of songs from Counting Crows, Yellowcard, U2, The Cranberries, etc.
Workout – Upbeat Mix of songs from the Beastie Boys, The Crystal Method, etc.
Chillout and Workout appear to just be a mix of the other genres, however you should be able to find a playlist (sub-genre) to suit your mood.
Sandisk offers quite a selection of different cards to suit pretty much anybody. You can find a full list of cards available over here, with more titles being added on a regular basis.
The variety on the "Rock" SlotRadio card was very good and while not all songs are #1 hits I found that the majority are very decent and for the most part I didn't find myself skipping many songs. These SlotRadio cards offer a mix of very well-known artists as well as a mix of some "lesser-known" artists that you may have never heard of (or maybe totally forgot about).
For our testing we used the Sansa clip+ as well as the basic SlotRadio player that came with one of our demo cards. The Sansa clip+ is a fully functioning MP3 player from Sandisk with the addition of the ability to add the microSD SlotRadio cards.
The "basic" SlotRadio player is pretty basic and doesn't really come with any features other than a pause button and the ability to switch between playlists that come pre-setup on the SlotRadio cards.
Sandisk has also released a new line of SlotRadio+ cards that are able to be used in mobile phones from Verizon as well as select Blackberry phones (you can find out which models are compatible over here). The SlotRadio+ cards also feature 4GB of extra storage so you can listen to your favorite songs as well as still have extra room for whatever you want to store on your phone. The ability to play these new cards in your phone is a nice bonus as most users and these new SlotRadio+ cards retail for ~$49.99 USD.
So that's what the SlotRadio system is all about, it's a pretty simple setup and doesn't really take any setup whatsoever. In the next section I'll share my thoughts about SlotRadio.