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The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Satellite Radio

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Buying a satellite radioSatellite radio is without a doubt one of the most cost effective forms of entertainment on the market today.

Think for a minute about the amount of content that Sirius XM Radio makes available to consumers and the price that they are providing it at. It's pretty hard to find any other form of entertainment that can even come close to satellite radio when it comes to getting the most "bang for your buck."

But the amount of features packed into these radios can sometimes be confusing for consumers looking to buy a satellite radio. Have you ever bought a new device only to find out that you could have purchased something that did a lot more for only a few more dollars? I think we all have.

It's with that in mind that I've put together this "Ultimate Guide to Buying a Satellite Radio" to help sort though the confusion.

As new satellite radios come out, I will continuously update this article to provide and maintain a consistent point of reference for anyone looking to buy the best satellite radio receiver possible.
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XM SkyDock: The full in-depth review

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XM SkyDock Review Photo 4
When I first had the chance to play with the XM SkyDock back in August, I boldly stated that Sirius XM Radio "hit the ball right out of the park" with this latest device. I was enamored with the concept of being able to combine my iPhone and a satellite radio in a single neat package.

That was then. The question is, does the sentiment still hold up?

This full in-depth review of the XM SkyDock satellite radio/iPhone dock comes to you after a week of hard testing to find out all the intricate details about it.

But, do I still feel the same about the SkyDock as I did two months ago?
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Slacker G2 Review: Radio's future in your pocket

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Slacker G2 Review
It seems strange that a site dedicated to Satellite Radio would even consider reviewing a Digital Audio Player that has nothing to do with satellites. But that's just the thing, the Slacker G2 isn't a Digital Audio Player in the common sense - so let's not look at it like that - and maybe it's time to abstract the way to look at "radio" as well.

The Slacker G2 is a "radio," just without the reception problems.

Slacker G2 ReviewThe songs you hear on a Slacker aren't the songs you've ever heard before. Or maybe they are. Just like radio. Unlike an iPod, where you're guaranteed to have heard the songs you've downloaded at least once - the G2 is driven entirely by the Slacker service.

Their "stations" - each intuitively labeled as pre-selected genres of music - are programmed by radio professionals, but remain customizable to your tastes to an infinite degree. It's a combination of engineering and human intuition that works remarkably well.

So I embarked down Orbitcast's Long Term Review of the Slacker G2 from the point of view of the casual radio listener, not the iPod user.



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Jensen Rock 'n Road GPS/XM Radio review

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This is a guest post by Mario Rubio reviewing the Jensen Rock 'n Road personal navigation device. You can read more from Mario at Brewed For Thought.

Hey folks. Normally I write about beer at my blog Brewed For Thought but I'm also a big fan of Satellite Radio, specifically XM. I recently had a MyFi installed in my wife's car and began experiencing problems with my power supply, so I used this as an excuse to buy her the unit she's been dropping hints about: the XM-Ready, Jensen Rock 'N' Road GPS Receiver.

When you open the box, you'll find your typical assortment of battery, cheap carrying case, remote control, headphones, windshield mounting bracket, home and car charger and USB cable. There's a quick start guide and a CD with the Manual stored via PDF. There's also what appears to be an antenna for either the GPS or XM, but this is simply a connector with 6" of wire. I threw it away. I immediately put the unit on the home charger and headed to the car to get my wiring set up.

Jensen Rock 'n Road review
After doing all my necessary work, I went back inside to start the unit and play with it a little.  I turned it on and went to the Navigation program. The load time on this program is a little long and requires you to touch the screen to move forward. A little annoying, but seems fairly standard with in-car options. Even though I was inside, the unit found my location and saving my home address was fairly straight forward. I added a few other addresses and when entering these directly, found the predictive text to be very helpful.  More on address/POI searches later. It was time to get into the car and fire up the XM.

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Audiovox Xpress EZ: Orbitcast hands-on review

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XpressEZ

When I first received a pre-production unit of the Audiovox Xpress EZ a few weeks ago, the thing the struck me the most about the unit was it's level of simplicity. Understanding that the target audience for the XM radio is "entry-level" consumers (read: newbies), I did what every other entry-level user would do... I didn't read the manual.

And to my surprise, I didn't have to.

XpressEZ

Unlike most plug-and-play receivers, the Xpress EZ went the ulta-minimalistic approach, featuring only three buttons and a single knob to control the interface.

As a seasoned power-user, I was skeptical as to the level of control that this would allow. But after only a couple days of use, I learned to love the Xpress EZ's approach to channel surfing.

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Delphi SkyFi3 - Orbitcast Review

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Delphi SkyFi3We saw the Delphi SkyFi3 Unboxed and now after spending some hands-on time with the unit (courtesy of The Radio Place) here's the full Orbitcast Review.

The Delphi SkyFi3 XM Satellite Radio is best described as a new "hybrid" plug-and-play receiver. OK so technically it's a plug-and-play receiver because in it's base form it can only receive the XM signal when docked, but it joins a growing category of receivers that offer on-the-go functionality.

Receivers like the Sirius S50 and Samsung NeXus come to mind instantly. Where the SkyFi3 differs is that it's primarily meant for vehicle use - where a majority of radio listening is done.

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Orbitcast Review: Vaja Cases for Pioneer Inno/Samsung Helix

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Pioneer Inno Vaja CasesVaja Cases are well known for creating high-end leatehr cases for mobile devices, so it was no surprise that they would create a line of products for the Samsung Helix/Pioneer Inno. What was a surprise was to find a review unit on my doorstep.

Vaja cases for the Helix/Inno give you full access to all the functions of the unit - including all the ports, volume controls, and power switch. But the real great thing about Vaja cases is the level of customability. They're not just customizable, the ridiculously customizable.

You have an incredible number of colors to choose from, as well as your choice of plastic or rivet clip (my review unit included no clip), and even text or graphic personalization. Awesome.

This case is definitely meant as a high-end case, fitting right at home with any executive who doesn't want their Inno to look like something out of an Anime flick. And they're priced accordingly, with the basic unit coming in at $60 (add-ons like clips and customizations quickly add to the pricetag).

The only negative thing I can say about this case is that I still can't dock it (on the Home Dock) with the case on. This is by-far the slimmest case I've reviewed yet, but still not enough to squeeze into the dock. This isn't too big of a deal though because the case is leather (and a gorgeous leather I might add) that is much easier to slide off than other rubberized cases.

Check out more pics after the jump (plus a special Thanksgiving surprise!) or go play with Vaja's customizing engine for yourself...

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Samsung Nexus - Orbitcast Review

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Samsung NeXusToday I had the benefit of playing with the Samsung NeXus hands-on, courtesy of JJI Electronics, and my overall impression is that this is a great alternative for those who don't want to plunk down the cheddar for the Pioneer Inno or Samsung Helix. The NeXus is also a bit of a breakout concept from the other 'regular' satellite radio receivers, in that it's sole purpose is to replay recorded (and personal) content. This concept isn't what us regular satellite radio listeners are used to, but this device isn't exactly targeted to us - it's meant for the casual MP3 listener (I'll explain more later).

Now unlike the Pioneer Inno and Samsung Helix, the Samsung NeXus does not have live on-the-go reception of satellite radio signal. Instead, it depends on being plugged into the Home Dock (or the optional Car Kit) in order to receive a live XM signal. What the NeXus lacks in on-the-capabilities, it makes up for in size and price. The MSRP is almost half the price of the Inno and Helix (the NeXus 25 MSRPs for $219.99 and the NeXus 50 MSRPs at $269.99).

Samsung NeXus, Helix and InnoThe NeXus measures in at a meager 85.6mm high x 47.2mm wide. When compared to the Inno/Helix, that's 8.5mm less in height, and 8.8mm less in width. To the Sirius S50, it's 13.46mm shorter and 1.06mm slimmer. And with the inevitable comparison to the iPod nano, the NeXus is still 3.3mm shorter, while being 6.56mm wider - not too shabby.

The Samsung NeXus comes with a home docking station with antenna, earbuds, the incredible XM Passport, various cables, a carrying case, and the XM + Napster software to interface with your PC. Read more and check out a whole boatload of photos after the jump...

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Pioneer Inno XM2go - Orbitcast Review

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Pioneer Inno XM2go in the WILDAnd now finally the Orbitcast Review of the Pioneer Inno. My hopes are to answer everyone's questions with this article, and to give some insight into the philosophy behind the new XM2go units. I also want this to be the single place you need to go to find out everything about this unit - so I'll be updating this post with everything we learn along the way with answers to any questions people have.

I truly feel this is a revolutionary device. Comparing it to the iPod doesn't do it justice. The iPod is only as good as the content stored on it, and while I have respect for the iPod, it doesn't compare. The level of simplicity merged with the incredible amount of control, truly makes the Pioneer Inno a disruptive piece of technology. 

But enough of this palaver, onto the features:

  • Record and store up to 50 hours of music and XM programming when 100% of memory is allocated to XM content. I'll explain more on this shortly.
  • Store and Mix individual XM Tracks with your own MP3s & WMA digital music files
  • Create instant playlists (no PC required)
  • Browse, purchase, get recommendations, and manage playlists with XM + Napster
  • Includes home kit & earbuds
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