Naturally, there's also a catch in getting the songs so cheaply: you don't get to pick them yourself. Plus, they're locked to the microSD card, so you can't transfer them to your computer or any other device. You also can't toy with the order of the tracks, though of course you can skip the ones you don't like. However, while you can't move tracks around, the cards themselves are expected to be compatible with the Sansa Fuze and may work in other devices with microSD slots.
User-friendly to the extreme
The SlotRadio player has a nice, sturdy feel to it. It measures 1.9 inches tall by 1.9 inches wide by 0.6 inch deep, is constructed mainly of aluminum, and includes a built-in belt clip--a popular feature according to SanDisk's research. A small black-and-white screen on the face of the player displays the station name, current track, next track, and an animated graphic themed to match the current station. Two arrows flanking the screen allow you to cycle through stations, while a single FF key on the right edge can be used to skip tracks you don't like. The player also includes dedicated volume buttons (housed on the left spine), and the bottom houses the standard headphone jack and a mini-USB port for charging.
The final physical attributes encapsulate the SlotRadio player's few features. There is, of course, the microSD card slot, which can not only accept SlotRadio cards, but also the album-based cards designed for the SlotMusic player and any other microSD cards that you have loaded with music. There's also a power switch with three settings: off, FM, and play. Flip it to play, and your SlotRadio card automatically resumes playback. The FM mode takes you to the integrated FM tuner from where you can set presets and scan frequencies. The device is compatible with the Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS), so it will display call letters and any other data (such as track name) that the station broadcasts along with its audio.
The SlotRadio comes with an AC power adapter that connects to the included USB cable, so there's absolutely no computer required to use the player. This is clearly part of the appeal of such a device; all you have to do is take the player out of the box and flick the switch to "play." However, if you so choose, you can pop a blank microSD card into the player and transfer your own music. In addition to the SlotRadio device, the package also contains earbuds, a protective silicone case, a jewel case, and a media case for storing the cards.
You've probably gathered that the SlotRadio player isn't for digital-audio enthusiasts. Predictably, it's also not for audio purists. Sound quality is about average: there's no background hiss or distortion, but bass is anemic and high-end detail is rather muffled. If you're after bright, crisp sound, you won't find it here. Still, the player suits its purpose, and we don't really expect excellent sound quality from such a device. It would be nice if the rated battery life were higher than 13 hours, though.