REVIEW: Sansa slotRadio from SanDisk


SanDisk introduces the new slotRadio – an mp3 player and radio that plays media cards preloaded with music to make your music experience near effortless.

First Impressions. Despite seeing pictures of the slotRadio prior to unpacking the lightweight 1.3 oz player, I was taken back by how small the unit was. The media player measures two inches across and is just over a half inch deep. The die-cast aluminum body gives it a solid and durable feel.

The 1.5″ landscape screen provides some entertaining animations for each music category you can scroll through, along with scrolling text info for the current song, next song, as well as the remaining battery life.

The front surface feels as if it has a protective sticker on it that I really want to peel off, but can’t. This coating gives it more of a matte finish and I find myself constantly wiping the screen to hide any fingerprints. The belt clip on the back of the player is reminiscent of the iPod Shuffle’s belt clip.

sansasidesSix Buttons. There are only six buttons found on the player in keeping with their simple design. A slider on the top puts the device in play mode, FM mode, or off. The two arrows you find on the front change the music category (see below). Along the left side of the player you’ll find the up and down volume buttons and along the right side is the next song (or pause when held) button.

One Button Short. I found one important button was missing – the previous song button. You can skip to the next song, but there is no way to go back to a previous song. This was my biggest frustration with the device. Removing this feature along with the inability to browse your playlists makes the player more like listening to the radio than a media player.

One thing the iPods don’t have. There’s no denying that the most popular media player is the Apple iPod line. The slotRadio provides one standard feature that is missing on the iPod – an FM tuner.

Swap out the headphones. As I put the earphones on, I found the music to have plenty of low end, but missing the bright sound I get from my iPod touch. Once I found a song on the slotRadio that I also had on my Ipod touch, I jumped back and forth between each pair of headphones to confirm the difference in sound I discovered. Next, I swapped the headphones between the two media players and I found that the onus fell on the headphones and not the media player. I suspect, however, that I’ve simply become accustomed to the sound my iPod headphones provide and it’s not necessarily that the slotRadio headphones are poor quality – they are simply more bass heavy and have less treble than I’m used to.

No need for downloads. There are two ways you can obtain music for the slotRadio. The slotRadio bundle comes with the player and a slotRadio mix card, which is everything you need to get started. You can purchase additional media cards, with a variety of musical styles, that come with 1,000 preloaded songs. Secondly, you can add your own music (about one album’s worth) to a slotRadio card or you can put music on your own microSDTM or microSDHCTM card. The small USB port and included usb cable provide you with the ability to connect to your PC or Mac and transfer music.

Current hits? I was interested in how up-to-date the music selection was. While I wouldn’t expect it to have music that has come out in the last few months, it did provide a good mix between classics and newer selections.

sansarockCategories. The slotRadio mix card contains the following seven categories: Rock, Country, R&B/Hip Hop, Contemporary, Alternative, Workout, and Chillout. The first five are self explanatory. Workout pretty much contains a mix of upbeat songs from the first five categories, and Chillout contains more mellow songs for the same.

Time to Face the Music. Is the slotRadio for me? Well that depends on a few things. How picky are you about your music, and how tech savy are you?

If you are someone who is fine just choosing a music style and letting the music play then the slotRadio is for you. Also, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on buying music, or you haven’t the first clue about how to get music from your Mac or PC onto a media player, then the slotRadio makes it pretty much effortless. And 1,000 songs on a pre-loaded $40 card is nothing to shake a stick at.

If you tend to be a little pickier about your music and especially would like the ability to go right to a specific song, browse playlists, or replay a favorite song, you’ll likely find the lack of controls (especially no previous song button) a little annoying. The device is designed very simple, but at the sacrifice of leaving out some key navigation features.

Personally, I much prefer my iPod touch to the slotRadio – but in its defense, the slotRadio is a much cheaper solution. I can see this as being the perfect media player for my Dad who wants an easy way to listen to some country music or to tune into the Bills game while he mows his 2 acre yard.

Your Daddy Money: Wasted or Worth it?

For Just play me some Music Dads:  WORTH  IT! 4.5/5 stars

For Tech Savy or Picky Music Dads: WASTED! 2/5 stars

7 thoughts on “REVIEW: Sansa slotRadio from SanDisk

  1. I totally agree with this being awesome for my dad! He adores his slot player and never allows my mom near it. Funny. I bought it for her for mother’s day. Guess I know what I am buying her for Father’s day… 🙂

  2. Great review! I love my slotRadio, but as you mentioned, I am one of those people that likes simplicity; I don’t have the time or patience for downloads, so it’s perfect for me. My husband liked it as well, preferred it over his iPod, but I’m glad to see another male perspective. I think it’s a great gift for any non tech junkie.

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  4. I have personally reviewed the Slot Radio at my local Radio Shack store, and I have to say that the sound quality is great!

    Sure, it would be nice to have a previous button along with a forward button for the tracks. However, one of the nicest things about this little player is that it has a rechargeable battery, which means no need to keep purchasing batteries for the unit. If you also have the right equipment, such as an external speaker system, such as those used for I-Pods that contains a line in jack, you could connect this player to it and share your tunes.

    If you purchase a wall outlet adaptor from radio shack, and you have a cigarette lighter in your car or truck, you could use the device in the car without running down the battery in the unit. However, don’t drive with headphones on. Instead, get one of those FM transmittors to transmit the tunes to your car stereo.

    If you connect the player directly to a set of powered computer speakers via the headphone jack, then you have a pretty good music system that you can use at parties, or family gatherings, or wherever music may be required.

    With the right type of patch cable, you could connect the device to your home stereo for even more listening pleasure too.

    So as you can see here, the Slot Radio is really a pretty darn good deal, especially with paying only $40 for a thousand songs or so stored on micro SD cards. This is sure to be a hit at parties.

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