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Posted 13/04/2014 by

 
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Slacker_radio-for-androidSlacker Radio continues its reign as the best streaming music service in an increasingly crowded field. The service and its complementary Android app (free; optional subscriptions from $3.99 per month) have undergone many changes in recent months to help it compete with the likes of Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio. Slacker’s latest update isn’t as massive an overhaul as the 2013 interface redesign, but the under-the-hood fixes make it more stable for sure. Slacker lacks a handful of features found in competing products such as track crossfading and gapless playback, but it has enough great features and content of its own to rise above the competition.

The Slacker home screen has three sections that give you easy access to the service’s deep content well. The top portion is a strip that highlights Slacker’s curated channels. There you’ll find highlighted, curated collections, such as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The Snubs and Katy Perry: Her Biggest Hits. The Stations section holds Slacker’s 30+ genre categories. Tapping the New Music First icon, for example, reveals multiple sub-genres such as Artists to Watch 2014, New Alternative First, and New Dance First. The category king is Decades/Countdown, which boasts more than 80 channels at the time of this writing. The My Vibe section houses curated playlists that are designed to set the appropriate mood based on the time of day (Monday Morning, for example) and activity (Energy Boost).

The My Music section lets you access your created stations, playlists, bookmarked stations, and recently played stations. Three recently played stations also live on the home screen as shortcuts. Favorite Songs is easily my, well, favorite section, as it creates a station around songs you’ve marked as favorites. It’s like having a personalized greatest hits station, and it’s a joy.

Live Radio and Curated Channels The News/Talk/Sports category is exactly what it sounds like—stations that cater to the news, talk, and sports crowds. Comedy, ABC News, American Public Media, and ESPN programming fall under this category. The most intriguing of these stations are the ESPN stations that let you tune in to live sports talk. Unfortunately, ESPN is the only Slacker channel to serve up live programming; iHeartRadio, on the other hand, has over a thousand live terrestrial radio stations under its belt. Slacker’s Men and women’s lifestyle stations (where you’ll hear grooming tips, financial advice, and more) round out the talk options. If you’re looking for a streaming music app that specializes in live radio and lets you build custom stations, iHeartRadio may be more your speed.


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