Top positive review
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Works great...if you know what you're buying
on August 7, 2010
Anybody who is reading these reviews for the purpose of buying this product should be aware that a portable satellite radio is not based on the same technology as a Walkman-type radio sold back in 1980s. Satellite radios work by line-of-sight, which requires an unobstructed path between the receiver and its signal source. When properly installed and used, the XMp3i works great for recording and listening to live XM/Sirius broadcasts. However, you must ensure the unit is receiving a strong signal to make it work. If you plan on using it mostly in an automobile (with a live signal), that means purchasing an additional car cradle/antenna. If you wish to use it mostly indoors, you'll need to install the included home dock/antenna properly.
I've had a good experience with the Xmp3i so far. In fact, I was able to listen to live XM/Sirius radio while biking over the weekend with very little interruption. I also used the home dock to record some of my favorite shows for playback later. I believe it is the ability to record programming which is this unit's strong suit. You can record up to five channels at the same time, so getting vast amounts of music/talk on to the device in a timely fashion is easy; provided you have correctly installed the home dock. The playback is flawless and is much more convenient than listening live since you can skip songs, commercials, etc.
The interface seems a little sluggish at times and is not the most intuitive, but it works. Thanks to the microSD slot, you can load up your MP3 library and play your own tunes as well. I was impressed by the overall sound quality from both the satellite feeds and my MP3 files.
The Xmp3i is best-suited for users who will pre-record their music/shows to bring along in the car for playback. It also works well as a standalone device for plugging into your home stereo system. Do not buy this if you want to listen to live XM/Sirius broadcasts when you take the subway to work, or while you're hanging out in mom's basement waiting for some laundry to dry. Though it has a built-in antenna for live reception, the manufacturer clearly intended that to be used in outdoor-only situations.