Most helpful positive review
293 of 307 people found the following review helpful
XMP3 expanded review
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.