Satellite radio gives you access to the immense universe of XM and Sirius satellite radio stations. But like all multimedia playback devices, radios and stereos, the hardware you can buy ranges from the basic to the full-featured. Which portable satellite radio is best for you depends on your needs and which features you’ll find valuable. This review takes a look at some of the top-rated portable satellite radios.
Best Basic Satellite Radio Player - XM Onyx Dock-and-Play Radio - $58.99
As an entry-level satellite radio, the XM Onyx Dock-and-Play Radio won’t break the bank, but it’ll still deliver an excellent satellite radio listening experience. This makes most sense for satellite radio fans who like to take their tunes beyond the car. It comes with a car kit and FM transmitter, making it easy to get up and running in any vehicle. But you can also dock it at home, the office or anywhere else using optional accessories. Beyond basic playback, the XM Onyx Dock-and-Play Radio comes with favorite channel presets, parental controls, a large color display and an aux-in cable. There’s also a handy button that lets you jump to the local weather or traffic station and then go back to whatever station you were listening to with a single key stroke.
Runners-Up: Sirius Stratus 6 Dock-and-Play Radio (Retail: $58.99), Audiovox XMCK30PXM Xpress-RC Receiver (Retail: $109.99)
Best High End Satellite Radio Player - Sirius Stiletto 2 Satellite Radio & 2GB MP3 Player ($284)
The Sirius Stiletto 2 Satellite Radio & 2GB MP3 Player costs as much as you would pay for an iPod or Zune, but that’s because it does everything that the standard personal multimedia player does and more. This lets you listen to satellite radio on the go, with headphones or in your car or in the office by docking it or hooking it up via an adapter. The Sirius Stiletto 2 Satellite Radio & 2GB MP3 Player comes with a built-in SD card reader, which lets you vastly expand upon the 2 GB of built-in memory. It also has a Wi-Fi receiver, which lets you stream radio in the rare instances when you don’t have satellite reception. It’s built-in memory allows you up to 60 minutes of live rewind (it’s like TiVo for the radio) and the Sirius Stiletto 2 Satellite Radio & 2GB MP3 Player features a full color screen.
Runners-Up: Pioneer GEX-XMP3 Portable XM Satellite Radio (Retail: $269.99), Delphi MyFi XM2GO Portable XM Satellite Radio Receiver (Retail: $208.95)
Before choosing a satellite radio, consider your needs and your budget. Do you listen to your satellite radio in the car primarily, or would you like to hear satellite radio while jogging or in the gym? If you want satellite radio everywhere, go for one of the more full-featured portable satellite radios. If you’re satisfied with listening to satellite radio stations in the car or at home, then choose one of the dockable portable satellite radios.