Slacker Radio for Android review: Slacker is the consummate overachiever

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Slacker Radio (Android)

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5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Slacker Radio offers powerful Pandora-like radio and more than 200 curated stations. The new My Vibe feature adds Songza-like capabilities. Paid users get on-demand listening as well.

The Bad Slacker's video, audio, and banner ads are intrusive.

The Bottom Line With its impressive menu of listening options (particularly for premium subscribers), Slacker Radio is one of the best streaming-music apps on the market.

9.1 Overall
  • Installation and Setup 9.0
  • Features and Support 9.0
  • Interface 8.0
  • Performance 10.0

Editors' note: This review was updated September 27, 2013, to cover the features added in the latest version.

The latest version of Slacker Radio for Android reflects yet another visual overhaul. The company's previous redesign (earlier this year) brought bright colors, more white space, and a tiled dashboard to the app, but this iteration takes things in a completely different direction with full-bleed images and an overall dark theme with gradients and translucent paneling. While some users may not like the noticeable lack of white space, I happen to think it gives off a more sophisticated feel overall.

At first glance, Slacker Radio might seem like another Pandora wannabe, with its ability to algorithmically generate playlists and rating system for improving stations. But upon further inspection, it is easy to see that this streaming-music service offers quite a bit more than its competitors. To use Slacker you must sign up for an account with your e-mail address or log in with your Facebook or Google+ credentials.

As with similar radio apps, Slacker lets you create a uniquely programmed radio station based on an artist, track, or album. As you listen, you can improve the programming by voting tracks up or down, or by editing a station's settings one by one. You can add different artists and tracks to a station to affect its algorithm. Or, there's a Fine Tune menu, which lets you calibrate your stations based on factors like popularity and release date, and adjust how many similar artists you'd like the app to add to your station. Altogether, these settings make Slacker's programmed radio exceptionally customizable. What's more, as you listen, you can view album art, reviews, bios, and lyrics. You can even share a link to a station via e-mail, text message, or Twitter.

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For the second time this year, Slacker Radio has been refreshed with a completely new look. This iteration is darker overall, which gives off a more sophisticated feel. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

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