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on March 22, 2012
I've waited a few weeks to write a review so I would better know what I liked and didn't like. The Starmate 8 works exactly as advertised and wasn't very difficult to install in my Prius. The pause feature works well and the display is nice. It doesn't come with a remote control, but I ordered the "Sirius Sportster Universal Remote Control" and it works with the Starmate 8 (and only costs $5.49). It's nice to not have to reach for the dash whenever you want to change channels.

I'm giving a 4 star review because while everything works fine, the audio quality of the music channels is not great. It sounds like a highly compressed 64 kb audio stream: decent but not nearly as good as music on my mp3 player. I'd say it is on a par with FM quality although it has the advantage of always being a strong signal (no static). Still, if Sirius/XM increased the bit rate (and dropped a few channels I suppose), I would like the system better.

Important tip: consider buying the "A La Carte" programming option. They don't advertise it much (it's hard to find on their website) and you actually have to call them on the phone to sign up for it (once you have your radio), but it is well worth the effort. You get to choose your 50 stations and the cost is only $7.99 a month.

Two suggestions for the Sirius/XM company: increase the bit rate on the music channels (even if you have to cut some to make room), and consider adding a USB option so people can use the Starmate 8 as a mp3 player too.
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on November 30, 2011
This radio is based on the XM XDNX1V1 Onyx not the previous Starmate versions.

Here are some different features added or removed compared to the Starmate 2,4 & 5 that I have used in the past.

-Better looking display, by default it uses white text with a background blue gradient to black.
-The color of the display can be changed to 6 different colors.
-You can scan channels
-It has changeable trim rings, by default its black but can be changed to blue or grey.
-If you press one of the programed preset button too long it ask for confirmation that you want to change the preset.

Since it's a XM based radio it dose lose some features that the previous Statmate versions had.
-No artist/song alert
-No sports team alert
-Only 10 + jump presets compared to previous Starmate versions that had 30 + jump presets.
-You can't jump back to the previous channel.
-This radio doesn't include a remote control but you can use an older Sirius remote, it will work except for the features that were removed as listed above.

Even with features removed I still would recommend the Starmate 8 over the Starmate 5. Over the past year I have owned two Starmate 5s, both were defective. No mater what button i pressed it would pre-set to the 1 button and the up button stopped working. Since the Starmate 8 is a XM designed radio I'm hoping it is constructed better. I have been using this radio for a couple of weeks with no problems.
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on September 14, 2012
I bought my first Sirius Radio back in 2003 on a lifetime subscription. That was when you made one payment and counted the number of months it would take to break even in the event Sirius didn't make it. Which was at that time questionable. Sirius says you can transfer a subscription up to three times to a different/newer radio for a transfer fee of $75 each time. I've been a subscriber with two radios - one for 9 years the other for 7 years. All was well until......

I purchased a Starmate 8 from Amazon, without issue, and it arrived as promised. It took me a couple of hours to uninstall my old unit from my truck and install the new one. The activation of the new radio, required hours on the phone with Sirius' call center in India. I was disconnected twice and killed the battery on one phone trying to get the transfer done. It was the same each time I called; "I need to transfer you to a specialist", "I need to check other resources", "where did you buy the radio", etc.. Very cheery but not helpful. The radio was finally activated and I was told the transfer fee would be on my credit card. A week later the new radio died.

Back to speaking for hours (literally) and was told my radio was defective and would need to be replaced and I could buy one from them and they could make a better deal, never mind Amazon.

Amazon performed beautifully. On a Saturday they sent a new radio at no cost that got to me on Monday. Plus a PP return label for the broken one. I have nothing but praise for the service reps at amazon. And the whole transaction took maybe 5 minutes.

Back to hours on the phone with Sirius to activate the new one. That would require another $75 transfer fee since it was "technically" a new radio. Never mind the defective one. Because it wasn't purchased through them. Didn't matter that it was factory built brand new in a factory sealed box. I once again struggled with Sirius on the activation and now fees. They waived an additional $15 fee. For unknown reasons the first radio was activated in "trial" status. Which was good news because the $75 transfer fee was never made (their mistake - my luck). The last thing I was told was that the second radio was activated and that a $75 transfer fee had been completed. And all was good.

I called Amazon's customer service and told them my story. They were sympathetic and very helpful. What a contrast to Sirius. Listening to my story I was given the option to return the second radio for a refund or keep the radio. I decided to wait a day or two to decide whether to cancel both subscriptions and move on. Or leave it the way it was. Again - maybe 5 minutes of conversation.

Two days later the radio was deactivated for unknown reasons. Back to the hours long phone call(s) that included a dropped call and one "bad number" call (they gave me the number). Sirius couldn't tell me why my radio was deactivated. They couldn't tell me why I now have a new $350 bill due in a week and a half but agreed with me that the account on my other radio was prepaid for another year and that only $75 was due for the transfer fee. But that they couldn't activate the radio because they were experiencing system wide computer issues. The service rep was apologetic but asked me to call back tomorrow and start the process over again. I told the rep that I was not authorizing a credit card transaction of $350 and hope I don't have to fight that. But there was nothing she could do because of the computer problems.

I like the music streams that Sirius has but it's time for me to rethink satellite radio. Oh yeah, there aren't any other providers since Sirius purchased XM.

Love Amazon and their service policy. Not so much with SiriusXM. If you buy a satellite radio you better pray you don't have a problem and have to call them. And if you're not a believer in prayer.....I wish you good luck.

AFTERWORD - Waited til the next day. Again, I attempted to activate the radio with Sirius and again it would not activate. They elevated the status to "executive" and that someone "would call me in three to five days". After all of that I found that what they were really good at was canceling subscriptions. It took less than five minutes. I am supposed to receive a credit for what was left on my other radio. And not charged with a transfer fee. We'll see.
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on January 17, 2012
I just received my radio several days ago. Installation into my work van was very easy, it took about 25 mins. The following day I was on the road. I got about 15 miles away from Washington DC and all I heard throughout the day was static so I turned it off. I attempted to call Sirius XM Tech support 2 times during the day, both times after giving the customer service rep my info he then indicated he was going to transfer me to a tech. The reps dropped both my calls so I waited til I got home to try again. I got home called a 3rd time. Finally I got a "Tech" on the phone, I told him what my problem was and I had found out during the day that the FM adapter would possibly solve my problem. The Sirius Technical Support "Technician" had no clue what I was talking about and the only question that he could ask me (3 times) was "Is your radio an after market radio"? The adapter and my question had absolutely nothing to do with that. I finally got frustrated enough to ask him, " Are you or have you ever been a technician and installed the radio units in vehicles before"? HIS REPLY "NO"! I am a Service Technician in my occupation, the last thing that you would want to do it put someone in TECHNICAL SUPPORT that has never even installed, troubleshot or even not know all the different types of devices that would be needed to correct someones issue. I advised this person he needs to go to his supervisor and tell them that he has no right being in Tech Support. I hung up. I then called my local Best Buy and spoke to their radio installer and within 10mins, I had my questions answered and even the part numbers that I would need to attach to the FM Adapter in order to make it compatible with my radio. The one and only thing that I expect anyone who reads this to get out of this is....DON'T CALL SIRIUS XM TECH SUPPORT, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL RETAILER WHO SELLS AND INSTALLS SATELLITE RADIOS...GOOD LUCK.
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on February 15, 2012
I've just purchased the Starmate 8 yesterday and I'm disappointed.
I have the Starmate 4 and the power plug wire to the cigarette lighter broke, I thought I'd go buy a newer version of the radio thinking I would get even more bells and whistles -while keeping my Starmate 4 for the house. After buying the radio, and after mass confusion and at least 2 hrs of trying to straighten problems out (another story), I felt I ended up buying a basic sirius radio.
Starmate 4 had a remote control, a clock, 1-1/2 hrs of playback, a 20 or 30 song memory (alerts you when a song you stored in memory would be playing) a suction cup to set radio eye height via windshield and 30 presets for fave channels.
However I was happy to learn that I can use the power plug of the Starmate 8 with my Starmate 4. I still have my old fancy radio for my vehicle (my job consists of 5 hrs driving a day) and a plain jane one for my house so not all is lost. Overall, Starmate 8 caused more problems than it was worth.
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on July 18, 2014

I bought this radio because the title said "Sirius SST8V1 Starmate 8 Dock-and-Play Satellite Radio with Vehicle Kit ..." The Starmate 8 is the only radio that works with the SiriusXM A LA CARTE plan. When I contacted SiriusXM to activate, they informed me that this is actually the ONYX. The ONYX is not compatible with that plan. It is NOT A STARMATE 8!!! The item title is FALSE.

So what do you do at that point? I've already spent 2 hours running wires behind the vehicle weatherstripping! I am totally hosed. Not practical to take it all down and return it.

You win this time, you tricky, deceptive people. But I definitely will stay away.

Also, there's actually a reviewer under this product who says, "you should all buy the A LA CARTE plan." Guess what? YOU CAN'T. At least not with this radio.
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on March 29, 2012
I have been a Sirius subscriber for over 8 years now and I replaced a broken Sportster with a Starmate 8. The Starmate is a nice looking small unit. All of the buttons work precisely (my previous Sportster models had buttons that tend to stick or require multiple pushes to work correctly). The display supports multiple colors and the text is easy to read.

Cons (based on previous exp. with other Sirius models):
1. All of the functionality of favorites is missing. On previous models you could favorite a song, artist or sports team - that feature is completely missing.

2. The 'Band' feature is missing. Pressing Band on previous models would allow for another set of stations to be programmed; previous models supported 30 stations total. This was nice for the family. I have 10 stations that I listen to, the wife had her 10 and the kids had their 10. Now, there are only 10 total.

3. No remote, enough said.

4. Jump button is gone. The jump button allowed basically an 11th station that worked regardless of which 'band' was selected. So if the Jump button was set to CNN, CNN would be available regardless of which station presets are currently selected (mine, wife's or the kids').

5. Display is missing time. Sounds petty, unless you want a quick way to check the time if it's not readily available in your car or near the dock. Again, this is something that was always on previous models.

The auto mount forces the radio to close to the dash. If you are familiar with the previous Sportster car dock, the radio sites up a couple inches, this one is significantly closer to the dash. This may be more of a personal choice, but I'm putting it out there. The mount neck also doesn't allow as much of an angle to be used. If there is a display model in a local store, you'll see what I mean compared to past dash mounts.

When you buy a newer version of a product, you would at least expect the same features as a previous version and possibly some newer ones. This radio in a multitude of ways is a step massive backwards for existing customers of Sirius radio owners. For the lack of features, this radio should easily be in the 25-50.00 mark and should be marketed as a feature-limited budget model. If you are a lifetime subscriber, you will def. hate this radio.
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on July 5, 2015
As usual, the order process is fast and efficient from Amazon. Received the shipment quickly and well packaged. They always have what I need at a much better price than anyone else. The satellite radio is nicely designed and I like the color screen. It has all the features of my sportster 4 to include rewind, pause, sports team alerts and song memo alerts. I have only two complaints. There is no included remote, which is makes it easier to use in the car vs having to look at the radio while driving. All the previous units had one and although it appears universal because my previous sportster 4 remote seems to work. I need to test all the buttons. My other complaint and it's a bigger issue is the screen brightness. I can set it where I want but it auto adjusts to light. You can't disable the auto adjust and at certain angles in the day it's to dark. This may not be an issue if you at looking at it from an angle of mounted to the dash or air vent. I have a small bracket mounted and so the radio faces me head on. You should be able to set it and leave it. Other than that the sound quality is good and I have it hooked to an aux port. Easy to install. Now I will update on durability as I have not had a radio last more than a couple years. Again, probably my fault since I leave it in the car in the dead of summer or winter. Anyway, overall a 4 star product and process. One ate lost for lack of remote and the auto brightness.

P.S. - I like the variety that satellite radio brings with no commercials outside of talk radio. I have listened to local radio and it's terrible. I would say that you should negotiate during renewals. I never pay the full subscription price and when the radios break I get the activation fee waived for the new radio. It's also great to travel between states and not have to change the station. Enjoy!
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on September 19, 2013
First of all, I see comments about it having only 10 presets. I say who needs more than that? If you have 30 favorites, how can you call them "favorites"? What's the point? Just manually tune them. I listen to maybe THREE stations regularly. Seven others occasionally. The other 100+, I could lose them and never even miss them.

This little radio fits perfectly inside my center console - completely out of sight! And it's portable from vehicle to vehicle, to the backyard, out on the boat, wherever. All my past vehicles have always had it built in... Then it was a feature I had to have added or optioned in new cars, and I switch cars often.

Plugging into the aux jack is the way to go. Yes I know - everyone says "just get a Smart Phone with Pandora, etc." Well, our company provides us with Blackberries... UGH! And I'm NOT going to be carrying around 2 phones all the time. Forget it!

I like the color changing display, I like how it allows you to switch channels by category and direct tune, etc.

The features are better than a lot of $300+ head units you can buy. Reception is excellent - haven't had any problem with the antenna hood-mounted passenger side in the corner by the windshield. I ran the cable under the floor mat, through the passenger door seal by the hinge, then along the body panel gap to the hood. 5 minutes to install!

Switching service to this device was SUPER easy! Literally less than 5 minutes on the Sirius website. Then pulled the car out in the driveway, and it activated almost instantly. I dunno, maybe I got lucky?? No, I'm not the luckiest person I know.

This unit is worth every penny! Those without fancy cell phones, do not hesitate to buy this little gem!
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on October 5, 2012
I purchased the Starmate 8 several months ago and I'm pleasantly surprised. It works well and does what it's supposed to do.

For background purposes, I started out with a Starmate 2 and then had terrible experiences with several other Starmate receivers. My opinion of Sirius is that I love their product but hate their hardware.

This receiver is the best one since my original Starmate 2. The Starmate 8 has 30 minutes of replay (compared to 58 minutes on the 2) and has 10 preset stations (compared to 30 on the 2). Downgrades for sure, but I'm just happy to have a durable receiver that works every day. It's been a long time since I've been able to say that.

This receiver is perfect for listening at work/home and the car. Sirius has clearly put nearly all of their attention into factory-installed car kits and neglected the portable receivers over the past few years. Sirius has made it a great challenge to listen in more than one location while keeping costs down (i.e. one receiver on one account). This receiver succeeds in keeping your account to only one radio.

The reason for my title is due to the fact that one really needs to hunt for this receiver on the Sirius website. It's not advertised well and I didn't know it existed until typing "Starmate" into the Amazon search box and seeing the "8" pop up. I'm not sure why it's such a big secret- this receiver is worth the advertising.

If I didn't love the Sirius product as much as I do, I probably would have bailed on the service due to my inability to find a decent receiver. With the Starmate 8, I can finally get back to enjoying the service without worrying about fixing broken receivers.
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