- Allows any existing car or home stereo to receive XM Satellite Radio's
- five lines of information, including song title, artist, and channel name
- Channel preview – allows you to preview other channels
- Direct numerical key input
- 20-channel programmable preset memory
- The SKYFi receiver must be used with the SKYFi Portable Audio System, Home
Adapter Kit or the Vehicle Adapter Kit (sold separately)
- Dimensions: 1.25 x 4.65 x 2.93
Delphi's potent and pocket-friendly SA10000 XM SKYFi Satellite Radio Portable XM Receiver flits easily between home and car and puts XM Radio's wealth of music, sports, and news offerings at your fingertips, whether you're accessing the service's 100-plus channels via the receiver's stylish faceplate or through the supplied remote control. We found the receiver's display and controls well laid out and easy to navigate. More importantly, XM's radio service is every bit as enjoyable as its hardware is simple.
Use of the receiver requires a paid monthly subscription to XM Satellite Radio ($9.95 per month, no contract required). You'll also need either a car or a home docking apparatus such as the Delphi SA10002 XM SKYFi vehicle kit or the Delphi SA10034 XM Portable CD audio boombox (whose use is by no means limited to the home). The receiver pulls in the signal, while a docking station provides DC power and traditional features like speakers, headphone jacks, and antennas, depending on the accessory. For this review we used the XM portable boombox. It bears repeating: the SA10000 receiver will produce no sound without an ancillary listening device.
The XM service offers good music with minimal repetition whichever direction you turn, all conveniently arranged by category or by channel. Using the remote's display button, you can even view the artist or the name of the song currently playing as you scroll past stations. XM's channels break down into 68 music channels (all of them commercial free), 33 channels of news (ABC, CNN, Fox, and a host of other mainstream networks), sports (led by 2 ESPN and 2 NASCAR channels), talk, and entertainment (Discover, E!, others), as well as instant traffic and weather updates for 21 major U.S. metropolitan areas.
Within the major music categories--rock, "hits" (pop), country, jazz/blues, and urban--subgenres abound, offering many exciting places to revisit classics and discover new favorites. Notably anomalies are channels devoted to new age (Audio Visions), progressive-rock/jazz fusion (XM Music Lab), rock bands lacking record contracts (Unsigned), and great moments and music from films (Cinemagic). There's even a channel for Starbucks' excellent HEAR Music, centered on jazz musicians and singer-songwriters and the musicians who inspired them.
Underserved are classical music (3 channels cover orchestral music, vocal music, and single movements of larger works), children's music (teens may enjoy Disney radio, but XM Kids is just plain soggy), world music (7 channels, 4 of which are Latin and 1 of which is devoted to music from Jamaica), and--most surprisingly--electronica. XM's dance and electronic music leans heavily on beats, going mainstream with hip acts like Royksopp, Moby, and Zero 7.
The receiver offers 20 station presets (2 banks of 10) and 10 memory settings, which recall artist, song, and station after the fact so you can make notes or hunt out CDs later.
To evaluate XM's sound quality we fed the headphone output from the SA10034 boombox to an integrated amplifier and speaker setup. Quality proved remarkably consistent channel to channel. Relative to our CDs and MP3 music files, the quality of the XM service sounds closest to 128 kbps MP3--wholly listenable and usually downright enjoyable, if not as smooth, full-bodied, and detailed as linear (uncompressed) CD sound.
Bass is decent--a little hyped on rock material, like FM radio--and the treble frequencies sound natural and free from most of the artifacts often heard in lossy digital compression. XM's classical programming sounds even better than its rock programming, with fewer artifacts and a wider stereo soundstage. Better than FM? For its silky background quiet and slightly wider dynamic range, we'd have to say yes. --Michael Mikesell
* Simple setup
* Excellent sound quality
* Great indoor reception
* Consistent audio quality, station to station
* Commercial-free music channels
* Excellent pop and alternative-rock selection
* Dedicated progressive-rock/fusion channel
* Deep country/folk, urban/R&B, and jazz/blues offerings
* Includes a new-age channel
* Localized traffic and weather updates
* Not usable without ancillary hardware (a headphone jack would be nice)
* No NPR (though XM Public Radio is a good approximation)
* Minimal electronica coverage
* Limited classical selection
* Weak children's offering