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293 of 307 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2009
I bought an Xmp3 player from Amazon about a week ago. I have to write that it became almost difficult to buy one because I read all manner of both rave and poor reviews. In the end I took a leap of faith and bought one despite identifying with some poor reviewers. The principle poor I read here was absolutely wrong and I want to address that here because the leap of faith I took was in deciding that the poor review was written by someone who likely didn't know how to operate the device.

The poor review stated that you had to view all the channels and could not save favorites so that you could easily go to the channels you like easily. Frankly I couldn't believe that, bought one anyway, and found the feature the review stated was not there in all of 5 seconds. And I am first-time XM device owner and subscriber.

So I want to accomplish two things in this small review. I want to say if you are too stupid to use the device, don't bother writing a review about it. You scare me and anyone else looking for credible information on a device. I just can't stand it when write bad reviews with less then all the facts. This rotten reviewer could have spent a few seconds with the device without even reading the manual and found the settings. It's right on the menu and so I am lead to believe this person has some ax to grind because no one is that stupid to miss the feature.

I do have some complaints, but for the most part, anyone would like this device.

The xmp3 has a very simple menu system on the device itself. You start off by being able to see all channels in a long list or seeing them by group. Once you find a channel you like, click options, then click Add to Favorites. It's so simple I don't know how one bad reviewer missed it. There is a paper channel guide sitting on top of the manual too. So if you just want to type in a channel, like 129, just press the keypad button and type it in. So in just 2 steps you are into whatever channel you want. I know CNN is 122, so I can go to my favorites, or just punch it in. I can't see how to make that any easier.

Someone here mentioned signal problems. I very much want to cover this because that also scared me. I live in San Francisco. And I take public transportation all the time. Buses, BART, I walk, etc. Some city streets allow just 2-way traffic. One lane for cars in each direction. If I walk on those narrow streets with 2 to 3 story houses on both sides, then the signal cuts out. If I want on wider streets, it's fine. And there are two kinds of signals. Terrestrial and Satellite. You can get one or the other, or both. And there is a setting in the options that shows you both signals while the music or news plays. So you will see how little signal you need to get the programming. Unlike regular radio, a limited signal does not mean poor quality. It's all you need to get the full experience. It's digital, so it's perfect or it's not. It doesn't need full strength to get a perfect audio output. This is important. Now, the Xmp3 came with a home kit, and I bought an extra one for work. I didn't have to mount the antenna outside at all. Just place it on a window ledge and watch the antenna signal. Aim it around and watch the signal response. It's stupid-easy. I did the same thing at my office. So when I am home or at the office, I plug the xmp3 into the doc, which is already plugged into the external antenna and I get great audio. It comes with a remote control with every home kit. A pair of self powered $20 speakers is all you need to use these with the home kits. It works fantastically and you need only the one device.

Some wondered if you can truly record more than one station at a time. Yes, you can. Keep this in mind because it's important and I'll explain why in the next paragraph where I explain the battery issues also raised in review.

Some complain the battery only lasts for 4 to 5 hours in live mode. First, live means you are listening to Xmradio live, and not recorded. The XMP3 player can play MP3s, WAVs, and recorded XM radio, plus live XM Radio. There is an easy way to extend the use of the radio to meet anyone's enjoyment needs. I have owned 5 iPods, 4 Zunes, 3 Zen Players, and 2 Rios, plus a Sansa. I have listened to over 200 audible books. I listen to podcasts more than anyone I ever met. I've been listening to portable audio for over a decade. So Xmp3 has a lot to live up to. I'm just as tough on a device as anyone else.

I want to give a quick example of how I use it and you can apply this to the battery issue. Because my method solves all the problems of battery, signal, etc in my opinion. So open those eyes wider and pay attention. The reality that this records 5 stations at once is the key. In the morning before the New York Stock Exchange Opening bell, I am up and getting ready for work. I record CNN, Bloomberg, and CNBC at the same time for about an hour. I can mostly listen to one of those live as I get ready for work, but the other 2 are recorded at the same time. When I hit the street to take my bus, I listen to the other recorded programs to avoid any signal issues. The information is still fresh, and I get no signal problem as I did record this while the unit is mounted into the external antenna. Playing back recorded programming, audible books, or mp3s makes the battery last 16 hours. So my point is, when you are listening to something live take the opportunity to record other stations so you maximize your listening time. It's easy, and it works well. And you get to use the device all day. Again at 4:00PM at work I set it to record the stations I want for an hour. So that at 5:00PM when I leave, I am listening to recorded shows from 1 hour ago and again, little battery drain, and no signal problems on the way home because it's recorded playback. What's the difference in listening to 1 hour ago programming? In fact, it's better. Let me explain why. When you record a channel for 60 minutes or more and then play it back, you can skip ads as easily as you can hit the "Next" button. The recorded shows are divided up by every change. If a ad comes up, it's considered a segment which can be skipped in playback. So when I listen to record news, I can quickly listen to the news by skipping ads. And it's even easier than a tivo! Just one tap of skip, skips one ad. If there are 3 ads in a row, you can skip 1, 2, and 3 times to skip all three ads. Easy as pie and you'll love it. So believe me, you want to take advantage of recorded shows when you go for a walk. You skip the bull, get perfect audio, and can listen just like live or skip ads. Up to you.

So I have to say, in terms of the device itself, it's a 5 star device. After reading poor reviews, I'm glad I tried it anyway. If you are on the fence, go for it. You will see as I have see that the device is fantastic. That's where the rave reviews come from. Those are from those folks that have a brain in their head and don't have some ax to grind.

Now I do have gripes, but they have to do with the XM2Go Music software. This software is not a music manager as you might think. It should not be compared to iTunes or Media Monkey, because it's honestly not a music manager at all. It's more of an upload tool to upload mp3s or WAV files to the device. Read on...

I thought the XM2GO app would be a full music manager, but rather what it does is allow you to easily setup a program record time if that's what you want. You can use it to upload music to your SD card. But the best way to do this is by organizing what you want to upload to the device into a single folder before you upload it. If you already have a full music collection on your hard drive that is stored in the file system by artist and you want a small subset of favorite tunes, you're going to go crazy with XM2GO because you will have to pick one by each song using a director tool in XM2GO to hand pick each song and choose upload. It's insanely stupid.

I use Media Monkey instead of iTunes. And in Media Monkey, I can take my favorites playlist and sent a copy of the songs in that playlist to a folder on my desktop in Windows. Then I use XM2GO to upload the contents of that single folder to the SD card. This gives me my favorite MP3s on the XMP3. I find this the fastest, easiest way to deal with the extremely lousy XM2GO software, which didn't even come with my player. I had to download it. The one real complaint I have with the XMP3 player is not with the device. It's with the Music app from XP / Pioneer. These two companies absolutely blew it on the software. You can work around this as I said, but it would have been great to have a more full-featured music app so that you can easily manage podcasts and mp3 playlists on the device. The way it's done now makes me want to visit with Pioneer and XM and slap these stupid programmers. I don't know why it is so hard for these companies to see what needs to be done to make something simple and enjoyable to use. It's as if they have no brains in their skulls, and know that's not true. It's not a show-stopper. I'd buy the device all over again even knowing what I know now.

You can add audible content to the Xmp3, but not on the SD card. It goes on the devices built in memory. And recorded XM radio also goes on the device memory. So the SD card is truly good for MP3s and WAV files.

Now a few other points for first -time XM people. If you use the web app to play content online you can click a button and buy the song from Amazon. I love this feature. So listening via a laptop over the internet is a good idea and can help you discover new songs to buy. BUT! And I mean BUT, some stations are not available online. No Bloomberg or CNBC for example. Don't count on every station being there exactly the same way as on the device. Because of this, I strongly recommend getting a home kit for your home and office. If you just think it through a little you'll find that the battery, being mobile, etc are all not a real problem. Even for those walking around dense cities as I am.
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93 of 108 people found the following review helpful
REVISED 10/21/09

If I could reduce my Amazon rating of this product to one or fewer stars, I would. The Pioneer GEX-XMP3 has failed for the second time is just a hair over ten months. The first time around, Pioneer took far more than a month to replace it and Sirius/XM customer support was worse than useless. It took five people there to finally tell me that I needed to contact Pioneer for warranty support. Pioneer immediately lost my request for an RMA. Sirius/XM would not credit me for the month of service where I had no receiver.

A bit more than a year ago I had three XM accounts. Changes in programming after the merger led me to cancel two of those accounts. If I wanted to listen to moronic AM music stations, I'd tune in on the radio, not a service I'm paying for.

Now I have one XM account and as soon as I get this GEX-XMP3 replaced by Pioneer, I will have no XM accounts and the radio will be offered for sale.

I am totally down on Sirius/XM and Pioneer. With all the alternatives, both companies are a bad deal.

REVISED 6/15/09

Durability of this product is questionable. The unit I purchased on 12/15/08 died a few days ago. Trying to get a replacement from Sirius XM is a nightmare. The first call, the rep hung up on me because I asked her to speak louder. The second rep referred me to XM's online shop. The third rep referred me to a "product specialist" that turned out to be the general number for Pioneer Electronics which was closed at the time and doesn't provide any information on its website for XM radios. Five calls in all without a tangible result - except to convince me that canceling my other two XM subscriptions was a good idea.

All the calls were handled by offshore personnel who spoke heavily accented English that was difficult to understand.

Sirius XM programming has deteriorated to the point where the classical station I listen to most now carries a great deal of NPR and WFMT-FM programming, which I can receive for free on an FM radio. Why should I pay for it?

At this point, I cannot recommend Sirius XM for any reason. The programming is awful. The customer support is terrible. They lost 400,000 customers last quarter and I suspect that is only the beginning of a flood of subscriber losses.

I had a high opinion of the GEX-XMP3 initially, but it frequently loses its activation which is irritating and, as I said, it died on me a few days ago after less than six months of use.

My advice: stay away from Sirius XM - it is not s company you want to do business with.

Original Review:

The Pioneer GEX-XMP3 Portable XM Satellite Radio Receiver is a technological marvel. The unit, however, has no useful existence without the companion Sirius/XM service and I have grave reservations about the newly merged service which I'll address below.

The XMP3 is a vast improvement over the original INNO. It is smaller, lighter and has more features. The unit measures 2 x 3.6 x 0.6 and weighs 3.1 ounces: definitely shirt-pocket sized. It has a 2.5" screen that displays information such as titles and program guides in vibrant color. (Unfortunately, the screen is useless for displaying your own photos or video as will be explained.)

The battery supports 4 hours of live XM playback or 16 hours of recorded audio playback. A second battery or backup power supply is a must for active use when playing live XM. I recommend the Tekkeon TekCharge Rechargeable Li-Poly Battery for this purpose.

The XMP3 feature list is long and impressive:

It takes microSDHC cards up to 8GB. With 128kbps MP3 audio, that's enough space for about 120+ hours of recorded music. Because the XM service cannot be dependably received in buildings and some other locations, you will definitely appreciate this capacity.

The 2GB of internal memory will store 75 hours of programs or 10 hours of songs. I have no idea of why this peculiar limitation exists, though it probably has something to do with the RIAA.

You can record up to five channels simultaneously. Recording setup is quick and easy. There is also an interesting automatic recording feature which will "learn" your music listening preferences and automatically record up to 30 hours of programs from five channels.

Another very neat feature is the ability to pause live audio and then playback up to 30 minutes. Kind of like an audio TiVo and very handy if you have to interrupt your listening for a short while.

The user interface on the XMP3 is delightful. Four physical buttons, a scroll wheel and four touch sensitive buttons. Menus are explicit and very easy to follow for all available functions.

There's a 3.5mm audio jack and the volume is sufficient to ruin your hearing, if that's your choice. Audio range is adequate, but not outstanding. There is, by the way, no built-in speaker.

You can tune in the XM program guide, which is helpful, and there are TuneSelect and GameSelect features. These latter two features allow to find your favorite artists whenever they are being played on any XM channels. You can input up to 30 names.

There a bunch of other features that I don't have a lot of use for, but you may. You can play audio books, make up playlists and more. There is also well designed software to managae your XMP3 music from your PC. Best to visit the Pioneer website to get all the information on the XMP3.

XM reception with the built-in antenna is surprisingly good, but if you get one of these, expect to use it as a pre-recorded music player much of the time when depending on the internal antenna.

What don't I like? My biggest dislike is the merged Sirius/XM service which I'll get to momentarily.

I don't like the fact that the unit is so expensive. I bought mine through a special XM promotion with home and car docks and while it represented a considerable savings, it is still too expensive in my opinion. Pioneer and XM put outlandish prices on the docks, in my opinion, to discourage users from using one receiver in multiple locations. A dock costs as much as a year's second XM subscription. Considering that they sell many perfectly adequate XM receivers for just a few dollars or even give them away free occasionally, you can see their logic: they want you to buy multiple radios, each of which needs its own subscription.

I'd rather use one radio and have one subscription - XM does all it can to discourage that approach.

Second, I think XM really limits its market by not including photo and viewing capability in this unit. I'm not an engineer and I have no idea of what it would take to add such capability. But I do see many other reasonably priced personal media players that include music, photo, video and even FM tuner capabilities at one-half or less the price of the XMP3 and don't require a subscription. In fact, as I wrote this paragraph, I have to question why I own this unit especially considering what has happened to the once superb XM service.

Sirius and XM recently merged. I had never been much interested in Sirius thinking that any station that paid Howard Stern hundreds of millions to be vulgar wouldn't have much to offer me. XM offered truly wonderful programming. Their programmers or disc jockeys or whatever they were called loved their music and it showed.Almost every channel was an adventure when you first tried it. You might not like the genre, but it was apparent that whoever compiled the playlist loved what they were doing.

When the merger took place, most of the XM programmers were apparently let go and Sirius programming was put into place. Sirius programming isn't much different than what you would find on any AM or FM station. It is dull, uninspired and often permeated with way too much talk. For example, where XM had commercial free classic rock, Sirius has Wolfman Jack in some form or other (I don't know if it's the real Wolfman Jack or an imitator). I didn't care for the screechings of Wolfman Jack when I was a kid and I sure don't like them now. I'm paying as subscription fee to listen to music, not the rantings of some guy.

Even the country music XM channels are now polluted with insipid talking. Same for the classical stations.

In short, the once truly fine XM programming is now utterly dumbed down Sirius programming.

Not only the programming suffered as a result of the merger, so did customer service. Deactivating an old XM receiver and adding this one to my account took more than an hour, dealing with people speaking heavily accented English and reading from a script. Some of the questions they asked were irritating, such as demanding to know why I was switching from one XM radio to another. Talk about stupidity.

A letter of complaint to Sirius management went unanswered.

In short, Sirius is not XM and, quite frankly, I am considering cutting back to one subscription and giving it six months to change for the better before dropping Sirius/XM altogether. Personally I don't think I'll be alone in this. If what I read in user group forums is at all accurate, satellite radio may be in for a short and dim future as result of this merger. Time will tell.

So, the XMP3 itself is a five-star product. There are a couple of things, most notably photo and video playback, that I'd like to see in it, but I am reviewing the product in its actual state, not my wish list. The revised XM programming since the merger with Sirius merits not more than one-star. Sirius/XM service rates one-star as well.

Thus, if you are really considering this technological marvel, consider the other two factors first.

Jerry
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2009
This is an awesome device.. when it is working.

I loved mine.

Then it gave me the "powering up" or "please wait" signal of death.

This isn't uncommon.. check out the xm fan message boards to see more.

I used mine pretty heavily.. gym, office, car, home... probably 8-9 hours a day

My wife has a unit too.. .i can only wonder how long it will be before it dies.

Pioneer will replace the unit.. then XM will try to charge you fee to switch the subscription, so then you have to fight them to waive that.

I love XM, and I really want my XMP3 to work, but it is not a reliable product... a good product, but not reliable.

Update: Pioneer did send me a replacement unit.. but get this.. I bought my unit in April, I got my replacement unit 11/12/09. The warranty isn't going to be 1 year from 11/12/09 though.. it's still from April. So basically now i'm down to 6 mo. warranty with what I assume is a refurb.

If you are going to buy this product, this is one time I would HIGHLY suggest purchasing it from a place where you can get an extended warranty.. and i'd buy the most warranty I could possibly get on the product.

It's a great unit.. but reliability is TERRIBLE.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2008
I replaced my Delphi MyFi XM2go Satellite Radio with this radio and the old one just now looks like a boat next to this new sleek Xmp3 from Pioneer. I had big power/battery problems with the Delphi even after the battery recall and so far that's the only problem I'm having with this new radio, it seems to burn through battery power quickly (4 hours for live play isnt enough for me). Everything else is terrific. it's very easy to use, very intuituve once you get the logic of it. I love the small size, the low and the low weight. The built-in antenna is great. The ability to record more than one program at a time is terrific. This is a great player at a good price.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2008
I received this as a gift and I've been very happy with it. It's not perfect by any means but it does just what I need, play's music! =)

I never thought I'd subscribe to XM/Sirius. Why spend money on music you can get free over the radio? I travel frequently even within my own area of the country (NYC) and I always hated the fact that I'd lose radio reception of my favorite radio stations as I would go from one area to another. As such I would strongly recommend a portable XM unit to anyone who travels frequently and likes hearing the latest music w/o buying individual songs.

That's where this little unit comes in. I've had it for a couple of days and I can say the audio quality is pretty good. Audiophiles who demand crystal clear high def audio might be disappointed but for everyone else it's definitely better than FM radio.

As far as reception goes, I have trouble receiving a clear signal in my apt. It does come with a home kit which allows you to attach an antenna (included) that you can place on the nearest south facing window and that takes care of the problem.

The nice thing about this unit is the recording features. I love how I can set it to record several stations continuously. This way if I'm on a flight or train ride with a weak signal, I can turn off the antenna and just listen to pre-recorded music. (It also allows you to insert an SD HC card of your own music and play that too) Works for me.

A few gripes about this unit as some others have mentioned is that although it allows you to record individual songs or programs, it has an annoying fade in/out 'feature' that you can't turn off. It fades in at the beginning and fades out at the end. It's annoying when listening to a playlist of songs you've recorded from the radio.

Unlike an Ipod, it doesn't show you the album art. Not a big deal but with such a crystal clear color screen, it would be nice if it took advantage of it to show something other than the default backgrounds.

The navigation could be improved as it takes several clicks of different buttons to get to the features but I got used to it after a while.

Overall, nice unit. Not quite a 5 star but it's good enough for me.

UPDATE: 1/16/2009 - a new firmware for this unit v1.18 resolved the fade-in/fade-out annoyance. It makes playing back all the recorded songs and programs so much more enjoyable! Love-it!

UPDATE: 11/15/2009 - I've seen a lot of people talk about faulty units. I must be lucky or they must be unlucky. Mine has taken a few (unintentional!) drops and bruises and still keeps on ticking. Noticed a few times the loading screen of death or the no power up scenario but holding down the power button for a few seconds, leaving it off and then trying again worked for me. That or putting the unit in it's home base unit to charge got it back to normal. Battery hasn't been an issue for me. The most recent firmware for the unit does a good job of turning off the antenna when listening to recorded audio so that saves a lot of battery. Even after almost a year of use it still lasts me 3-4 hrs. Enough for a train ride from NYC to Boston. I still keep my 4 star rating.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2008
The Inno was the best portable xm radio until now. This improved version is thinner, lighter, has a bigger, beautiful screen, can record several channels simultaneously (!!), has more memory (75 hours), an sd card slot, and the best of all, now lets you look at the program guide on the screen so you can see what programs are coming up. The old push buttons have been replaced by a touch wheel. Pioneer does it again!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2009
I purchased the Pioneer XMP3 through XM Radio in December of 2008. Since that time I've replaced it 2 times. I am currently on my third unit. XM only sells the unit and subscription. The only assistance you get from them is the telephone number for Pioneer Electronics. The first unit that XM sent me worked for 1 week, then the MP3 function stopped working. It would not read the memory card, but identified the card as full. Pioneer had me ship the unit to them at my cost and they replaced it. After 5 months of moderate use, 2 to 3 hours per day, the 2nd units on/off switch stopped working. The unit would not power up when using either the battery or the AC adaptor. I contacted Pioneer and they asked me to send the unit in again at my cost. I did, and they replaced it. The new unit works OK, accept now my original battery will not hold a charge and I have to by a new one. The battery is not apparently in the warranty.

I give Pioneer 1 star for their no questions asked return and replacement policy, but I wonder how long this will last.

In hind site, I made a mistake going with this high end portable device and should have gone with the lower cost Audiovox, without the bells and whistles. We have 2 of those and they have never given our family memebers any trouble.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2008
The XMP3 is my first portable XM satellite radio receiver. I've had XM radio in my cars for several years and love it, and wanted to be able to listen while in my sunroom or on my patio. The XM signal is fine with the radio alone outside of my house, but, as I expected, I need to use the home docking kit with external antenna when listening in my sunroom. Placing the antenna was sort of hit-and-miss until I discovered the XMP3's antenna placement option with its signal strength indicator, then it became a snap.

The XMP3 is a nice-looking, well-built radio. I would have no problems recommending it to anyone looking for a portable XM radio. Both the looks of the screen and the sound quality are excellent. The included earbuds are much better sound-wise than those that came with my iPod Touch. These earbuds will be sufficient for most users I believe, but the sound quality really jumped when I plugged in my Shure SE530 Sound Isolating Earphones or my Shure E3g Gaming Edition Sound Isolating Earphones for Portable Gaming Devices. Overall I'm very happy with the XMP3.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2010
Beware this device!
It has a well established software issue that will completely disable the unit.
Pioneer replaces this device if under warranty but if it happens after the warranty is up, you are just out of luck.
The first time your battery runs down completely, you will get a message "powering up" or "please wait".
This is caused by some software issue, it seems the boot system looks for the battery, but it is dead so it does not find it so..
it reboots and looks for the battery again etc. etc.
The geniuses at pioneer have not fixed this despite years of negative feedback about the issue.
It would probably take someone about 30 minutes to fix and issue a software upgrade but nothing has been done.
In short this unit performs as advertised for about 1-2 months on average use. You just can't avoid letting the battery die sometime and then that is it for your radio. Of course you will have to continue to pay xm radio for unusable service. It is really a sweet fraud.Please contact your class action lawyer friends!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2009
Don't waste your money. I have 3 satelite radios in my cars, so I know their limitations. However, this one is terrible. Unless you intend to huddle somewhere in the corner of your house by a window don't expect to get service. And if you use it for walking, expect to have to hold it in your hand constantly moving it so the antenna points exactly south with no trees in the way or you will not pick up anything 70% of the time.
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