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As if the satellite radio devices were not small enough, now you can
even enjoy a pocket satellite radio. A paradise for gadgets seekers.
As the name of these devices imply, these tinny devices are so small
that you can carry them in your pocket. As a matter of fact, it's the
first truly Walkman-like satellite radio, since you can use it in the car,
at home, or anywhere in between.
Delphi and XM have announced the MyFi, the world's first portable
satellite radio. It isn't cheap, but they did toss in some nice extras
like an FM transmitter if you want to listen to XM on your car or home
stereo (though obviously there'll be some loss in sound quality), and
some built-in memory for storing up to five hours of programming.
MyFi is first and foremost billed as a portable audio player. It also
doubles as a home and car player, with an impressive array of
accessories. There's no hard drive inside or slot for adding
removable memory. There are two ways to listen to music and other
XM programming on the MyFi. In Direct mode, you tune in to the XM
satellite service in real time as you normally would. Obviously, this
requires that you get satellite reception, which means you have to
either have a fairly unimpeded view of the sky or be in an area
where XM has placed a lot of repeaters.
With the MyFi you can prerecord up to 5 hours of content into the
device's memory buffer and listen to it essentially as you would if you
were using an MP3 player, with the ability to skip from track to track.
You can either hit the 2Go button to record what you're currently
listening to, or you can preprogram the device to record a certain
station at a certain time, just like a VCR. The nice thing is that you're
getting refreshed content on a daily basis, rather than the same
stagnant content that sits on your player's hard disk.
On the MyFi you can store up to 30 preset stations. The sound can
be muted with a touch of a button or locked down by holding the
same button. You can also store up 20 artist names or song titles
and continuously check whether they're playing on any XM channel.
It also displays sports scores and works as a clock and an alarm.
The MyFi has been designed to be also used at home and in the car
and comes with all the cables, antennas, docking stations, mounting
brackets, and chargers to make that happen. A protective carrying
case with a belt strap is included, along with a remote, earbud
headphones, and an extra rechargeable battery, which is rated at 5
hours of battery life, though times will vary depending on whether
you're listening to direct or prerecorded programming.
MyFi's sound quality is not too impressive, especially when we were
using it as a portable. It doesn't sound bad, but it is a little volume
challenged. However, for more casual listening, both at home and on
the road, the sound quality is acceptable. The MyFi is a great pocket
satellite radio and a truly groundbreaking product.
Another great pocket satellite radio to consider is the Samsung Helix
XM2go. The Helix provides live XM reception for portable listening,
as well as storing MP3s, WMA files, and XM satellite radio content for
playback later. Plus, the Helix lets the user "tag" songs heard on XM
for online purchase from the XM + Napster service. The Samsung
Helix XM2go player weighs 4.5 ounces and measures 3.7 inches high,
2.2 inches wide, and 0.6 inch deep. It comes packaged with all of the
accessories needed for portable or home use. An optional car
docking station is available separately.
The Helix was introduced with a price around $400, but now it's
selling for about $100, the price of an iPod Nano. At the new price,
the faults of the Helix are minor, and a better value when compared
to the Nano. Using the Helix with the car adaptor is fairly simple. Just
hook the unit into its little docking station, plug in the DC cord, place
the antenna receiver on the top of the car (where it stayed secured
via a strong built-in magnet), and synchronize the FM radio station
to be used. Sound quality is excellent and the Helix performers quite
If you live in an area with good ground transmitters, you can usually
get good reception – whether indoors or in the car with the built-in
antenna. For the times that you can't get radio reception, you can
pre-record hundreds of songs and store them in the Helix's half-
gigabyte flash memory. The home dock is convenient and reception
is improved with the indoor antenna (included) attached to the dock.
Generally speaking, satellite radio reception requires a “line-of-site”
to one of the satellites, or you need to be in an area where the
terrestrial signal is strong – typically in and around major metro
areas. The display features on this amazing pocket satellite radio
So if you're looking for a feature-packed, affordable, satellite radio
receiver and music recording device, the Helix has everything you
would want and more.