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Photos: Slacker Portable Player

The Slacker Portable Player has finally arrived--and we have the pics to prove it. Take a closer look at the interface and features of this truly unique device.

Jasmine France

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As the name suggests, the Slacker Portable Player isn't for audiophiles or music nerds--it's for slackers who would prefer someone else create their music playlists, and it definitely fits that bill.
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Each version of the Slacker Portable can take a certain number of stations--either 15, 25, or 40. These stations are listed on the screen so you can scroll through and select any of them. We had some issues with our stations not completely updating.
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The design of the Slacker Portable Player hasn't changed much from the initial beta unit the company had on hand for SXSW 2007. It's a hefty (4.2 inches by 2.7 inches by 0.7 inch) device with a face-dominating, 4-inch color LCD (480x272 pixel resolution).
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You can also read album reviews on the device.
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The ample screen is great for displaying album art and other info, though it's a bit counterintuitive that it's not a touch screen, as the large size definitely gives the impression that it would be. Instead, Slacker includes an optional touch strip along the left edge of the screen.
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The super large screen allows for a really good album art display--this takes up the majority of the main playback screen. You also get artist, album, and song information as well as a time elapsed/remaining bar. The song that's coming up next populates at the bottom of the screen.
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When you're playing music, you can press in on the scroll wheel to shuttle through various information screens. One of them is the artist bio page, which provides a professionally written blurb on the currently-playing artist.
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The scrollwheel is multifunctional. Flicking it up or down scrolls down selections and pushing it in makes them.
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A home/back key, scroll/select wheel, power/hold switch, and track skip and pause buttons round out the controls on the right edge. You'll notice that there's no reverse or rewind function, because you can't go backward through a radio station.
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On the left side are the two syncing/charging ports: a standard mini USB for a computer connection and a proprietary port for use with the impending car cradle and other accessories. Just above these are the Ban and Heart buttons, which are used for marking unwanted songs and favorites on the fly.
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The top of the player houses the headphone port and dedicated volume buttons, which aren't in the most ergonomic position because of the size and shape of the device--plan to do some finger stretching to adjust the levels.
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The Slacker Portable Player is not your average MP3 player. Rather than just providing the space for you to transfer your digital music (and sometimes video) collection, this device offers an integrated music-listening experience courtesy of the Slacker Web Player.
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The main menu has six menu options: Now Playing, Stations, Library, Playlists, Settings, and Connect. The last one takes you to a screen that lets you search for Wi-Fi networks in range. You can then select the one you want to use as your default.

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