Review: Slacker G2

How many iPods are there in the world with music that never gets updated because their owners are too busy, uninspired or just plain lazy? A lot of them, says Slacker. The company designed its music ecosystem to function with the least conceivable amount of human effort: hence the name that conjures up Principal Strickland from Back to the Future. We enjoyed Slacker’s first attempt at a portable device — large and blocky as it was — but this second version, the Slacker G2, solves its design problems, so that the slim, rounded device now slips easily into any pocket, at 3.5 inches tall and 2.6 ounces heavy.

What’s best of all, the G2 retains everything we liked about Slacker service, especially the interactive radio experience familiar to users of Pandora and similar programs to the world. Depending on whether you pick up the 4-GB or 8-GB version of the player, you’ll be able to carry around up to 25 or 40 stations that can be programmed by artist(s) or by selecting one of Slacker’s 100 preprogrammed channels from its catalog of over two million songs (considerably more than Pandora has). Even the programmed channels are affected by your clicks of the Heart and Ban buttons so if you never want to hear “Total Eclipse of the Heart” again, under any circumstances, you won’t. We love that Slacker factory workers load each device with channels the buyer has already created on SlackerIf you pay for a Slacker music subscription any song you “Heart” gets downloaded to your computer and can be loaded onto the device. But at its core, this is internet radio that works when there’s no internet. Isn’t it about time your portable player had Heart and Ban buttons on it for personalizing customized radio stations that update with a single click via WiFi? We thought so.

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