Product Review (August 2007) - SAMSUNG
Helix XM2go Portable Satellite Radio Player
with MP3 Recorder

XM Satellite Radio: 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.

Features include:

• Live XM Satellite Radio, at home, in the car, or while traveling
• Flash memory for MP3 files, WMA files, and XM content
• Samsung Helix can store up to 50 hours of XM programming
• Color display screen rotates 90 degrees when unit is turned on its side
• Easy-to-use interface lets users save and delete content
• Interface also lets users create personal playlists
• And find and play back favorite songs
• XM + Napster feature allows users to bookmark names of songs heard on XM
• Allows connecting the Samsung Helix player to a PC.
• Can purchase the bookmarked tracks instantly from the XM + Napster online service.
• Ability to store XM content by song, artist, channel, or scheduled session
• Ability to create playlists with a mix of XM content and personal music collection
• Enhanced storage features, which allow more recording sessions at various times
• Memory buffer for catching the beginning of a song
• Customizable stock ticker and sports ticker
• Category list for saving and accessing favorite channels
• TuneSelect alerts the listener to favorite artist or song on any XM channel
• Integrated, wireless FM transmitter for beaming XM to any FM radio frequency

The Samsung Helix comes packaged with all of the accessories needed for portable or home use. An optional car docking station is available separately (but was included in my test package).

The Helix was introduced about a year ago 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.

The Ownership Experience
I unpacked the Helix, read the directions, and charged it up. I set it to record a station one morning after I had left for work. That evening, I had hours of music to listen to. I can also listen live to over a hundred streams of music, sports, news and comedy. I keep the songs I like, and delete the ones I don't. The Helix can also be loaded with songs via computer using Samsung's Napster service, similar to iPod/iTunes.

Using the Helix with the car adaptor was fairly simple. I just hooked the Unit into its little docking station, plugged in the DC cord, placed the antenna receiver on the top of the car (where it stayed secured via a strong built-in magnet), and synchronized the FM radio station to be used. Sound quality was excellent and the Helix performed quite well. I would, however, recommend pre-setting your music playlists or XM stations before driving, as trying to operate the small controls while driving could present a safety issue.

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 the Unit are excellent. The battery life is good, about 4 hours.

A Few Minor Complaints
The earpieces aren't great - they could use some improvement. The Napster software only works with Windows (thus leaving out some Mac machines). More memory wouldn't hurt (but haven't run out yet.). The car cord should come with the main unit. Channel preset buttons would be nice. It would also be nice if it picked up AM & FM radio.

Conclusion
If you looking for a feature-packed, affordable, satellite radio receiver and music recording device, look no further. The Helix has everything you would want and more.

- Jeff Mathews

Editors' Note: This article also appears in LA Car, where it is entitled, "Satellite Radio To Go." LA Car is the automotive counterpart to LA Audio File. To view LA Car, aim your Web browser to www.lacar.com.





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Review at a glance
SIRIUS S50 Portable Satellite Radio Player with MP3 Recorder

Features

  • Live XM when portable or docked
  • One touch recording, MP3 (WMA) storage and play
  • 50 hours of storage*
  • Compatible with XM + Napster
  • Home dock included
  • Built-in wireless FM transmitter
  • Artist and TuneSelect
  • Sports and Stock Tickers

    *When 100% of memory is allocated to stored XM

    Included in the base package
  • Remote
  • Home Stand
  • Home Antenna
  • Power Adapter
  • RCA Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Belt Clip/Holder
  • Ear Buds
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • XM+Napster CD
  • Product Manual

    Accessories (sold separately)
  • Vehicle Kit
  • Belkin Vent Clip
  • Boblbee D-Pak XM Receiver & Accessory Case
  • Boblbee XM Travel Case
  • XM Micro Vehicle Antenna (may require vehicle kit)
  • XM Home Antenna (Requires use with home kit)
  • Shure E2 Isolating Earphones
  • Shure E4c Isolating Earphones
  • XM Sound Isolating Earphones

    Specifications
     

  • 3.9 x 1.9 x 0.7 inches
  • USB-Rechargeable battery lasts up to 6 hours

    Package Contents
     

  • Full Function Remote Control
  • AC Adapter
  • Ear buds
  • USB adapter
  • Car kit with wireless FM modulator
  • Low profile antenna
  • Belt clip
  • Vehicle power adapter
  • Universal mount
     

Company Information

SAMSUNG Consumer Electronics
105 Challenger Road
Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660
Tel: 1800-SAMSUNG
Fax: 973-601-6001

Customer Service and Technical Support
400 Valley Rd, Suite 201
Mount Arlington, NJ. 07856
Tel: 1800-SAMSUNG
Fax: 973-601-6001

Source: Manufacturer Supplied
MSRP: $299.99 (substantial discounts frequently available)

Consumer Care Service: 888-539-SIRIUS
Link to manufacturer 

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