Device management has been streamlined with Rhapsody 4, especially if you use a Sansa e200R. The e200R's firmware is custom-tailored for Rhapsody 4. Benefits include fast transfer times, increased reliability, and special features.
But you don't have to have the Sansa to enjoy improved device integration--and improved navigation in general. Everything is drag-and-drop within the interface, which is much better than the previous version, where you had to click a "+" button to add things to your library, then drag and drop from there (this button still exists, though, if you want to continue doing it that way). You can authorize up to three devices, and if one happens to be a PlaysForSure device, your subscription tracks will transfer over as WMAs. This is one of the things we like about Rhapsody--it is optimized to work with the Sansa e200R, but it works well with most other players including the iPod (except for subscription tracks).
Speaking of the iPod, when you add tracks to your library, iTunes users will get the opportunity to automatically import their iTunes library including playlists. If a purchased iTunes song is in the Rhapsody Music Guide, it will appear in your Rhapsody playlist as a streamed track. This takes the work or worry out of transferring your library from a closed ecosystem, and so far it's worked fairly well.
As for editorial content, Rhapsody still kills in this area. A slew of music editors provide witty and entertaining blurbs for every artist we came across, and for selected albums as well. We'd love to see this expanded into regular blogs or columns from the writers (à la Napster and Urge).
Rhapsody's performance during testing remained top-notch--much better than some other jukeboxes that will remain not-so-nameless. We experienced no hiccups or crashes, though rating the song in the playback bar was a tad glitchy. Streaming music sounded great, and its CPU usage hovered around a reasonable 15 percent, unlike with Windows Media Player and iTunes. Of course, Rhapsody doesn't offer a "view by album art" sort, so the impressive performance may be attributed to the fact that the app isn't handling a large amount of graphics and other extraneous files (videos and photos). Real, however, expects to add more album art in future versions of the app. All devices we connected showed up under sources, and all were responsive within the interface.
Customer service was also commendable. Real offers a quick guide, a comprehensive FAQ section, and free e-mail, phone, and live chat support. Using this last method, we were able to get live support in less than five minutes. Better yet, you don't need to be a subscriber to benefit from this excellent (and free) support.
- Similar model: $
- Set Price Alert