When it comes to streaming Internet Radio, Slacker Radio is no schlub. After logging on, the dark-themed app lets you simply tap the icons at the top of the stations list to launch favorite and custom stations, which you create and save through an account on Slacker.com. Scrolling down, you'll encounter a search option and top music stations, followed by a long list of musical genres; a logical flow for the iPhone's design.
Slacker also takes advantage of the iPhone's ample screen to prominently display album art as well as artist bios and album reviews (for some songs). The controls to pause, skip, save, and ban an artist are all within finger's reach. You'll be able to fine-tune your station requirements while it plays as well as create custom stations your device. However, don't expect Slacker Radio to flip into landscape mode or let you send your awesome station creations to a friend.
However, sound quality, speed, and access to tunes are the most important ingredients in a mobile streaming radio app, and this app has them in spades--so long as you stay within Wi-Fi range. 3G speeds are fair, but there were more hiccups using the slower network while waiting for songs to buffer. Thankfully, a buffer settings option helps you handle fits and starts. The best features--lyrics, no ads, and infinite skips--are reserved for Radio Plus subscribers, who are also the only ones who get to enjoy Slacker's most distinguishing feature: station caching. The latest version of the app lets you save up to 25 stations for offline playback, which is especially compelling for iPod Touch users, who aren't constantly connected to a network. It also takes less of a hit on battery life to play back music from the device itself rather than over the airwaves.