Product Review (October 2005) - Sirius
Sportster Satellite Radio Receiver

By Kevin Nakano

SIRIUS has emerged with the new Sportster radio receiver that is geared for music and sports fans alike. The Sportster is a compact, detachable unit designed to work in the car, home or on the go. The unit plays all 120 Sirius satellite radio channels and lets you store up to 20 of your favorite songs and artists, and alerts you when one of them is available on a channel. The Game Alert feature lets the user know when their favorite NFL or other sports teams are currently playing. The unit can also notify the listener if a particular artist or song (previously saved) comes over the air. Pressing the Memo button stores a song, artist, sports team or city for later notification. The Category buttons are used to select the genre (Pop, Rock, Electronic/Dance, R&B/Hip-Hop Country/Christian, Jazz/Blues/Standards, Classical, Latin/International, Sports, Entertainment, News/Talk and Traffic). We had both the car kit and home kit for this review and they worked perfectly in their respective environments. The vehicle was a 2000 Toyota Sienna using the stock radio for playback. The cassette adapter worked best for us, but users can also make use of the FM modulator built within the Sportster. Los Angeles has very crowded FM bands, so finding one that does not cause occasional noise can be a problem. Rural areas with fewer FM stations allows the Sportster's FM modulator to perform at its best.

The face of the Sportster has a large backlit display with 10 buttons for tuning favorite stations. Three sets of presets (30 in all) can be selected or the user can manually enter the station number. Both the display and the button backlight color can be independently selected from amber or green. We found that the amber color offers better contrast, making the buttons easier to read in the dark. However, the green color has a more pleasant look.

Remote
The 25-button IR remote included with the unit is ergonomically designed, but small in overall size. The small design makes it a challenge to use, yet the most frequently used buttons (station up/down, category select and volume) are larger than the others. It is actually fairly easy to remember the button locations after using the remote for a while. The Menu, Band, Direct and Memo buttons are located next to the volume controls. The Mute and Jump buttons are near the bottom of the remote. A full set of numeric keys are available for selecting any of 30 preset stations (using three groups) or using the direct channel entry. A red transmit light illuminates when the remote is sending an IR signal. The remote is powered from a single lithium battery (CR2025). We could control the receiver from at least 20 feet away with no problems.

Car Kit
One of the docking options available for the Sportster is the Car Kit (SP-C2), which includes the mobile docking station, a suction-cup mount, a DC power (cigarette lighter) adapter, and a magnetic roof-mount antenna. The long 20-foot antenna cable allows for flexible mounting options using the magnetic base. This kit is ideal if the user plans to mount the unit to the windshield. The adjustable arm makes it easy to move the unit to a desired position. If you prefer to dash mount the radio there is an alternate Car Kit (SP-C1) available that includes an adhesive mount.

Home Kit
Moving the Sportster receiver unit to your home audio system is no problem with the SIRIUS home kit (SP-H1). The SP-H1 ($49.99) includes the stable base unit, a 120V AC power adapter, an antenna with stand, and a patch cable for connecting the audio signals. Connecting the base unit to your existing home sound system is simple and allows the user to enjoy the same quality programming in the home or car. In addition, Sirius offers a portable boombox that allows users to take their Sportster virtually anywhere a signal can be received.

Conclusion
The SIRIUS Sportster is a great design that has a host of features and is simple to use. No longer do you have to rely on local broadcasts for premium radio channels. In addition, the same programming is available no matter where you travel in the country. The large backlit display is easy to read and contains detailed information about the channel. Programming from Sirius Radio costs $12.95 per month for more than 120 digital radio channels. Up to three additional units each costing an extra 6.99 per month can be enabled. Once you get used to having Sirius programming, it is difficult to give it up.

- Kevin Nakano




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Review - At a Glance


SIRIUS - Sportster Satellite Radio Receiver (Model: SP-R1)

Features

  • 30 channel presets
  • Preset tune mode
  • S-Seek
  • Built-in wireless FM transmitter with variable frequency settings
  • Direct channel entry
  • Wireless remote control
  • Auto dimmer
  • Time-based features (alarm, program alert, etc.)
  • MSRP: $99.99


    Sirius - Sportster Car Kit (Model SP-C2)

    Features

  • Car docking station with suction-cup mount
  • DC power adapter
  • Roof-mount antenna with magnetic base and 20-1/2' cable
  • Cradle dimensions: 4-3/4"W x 2-5/16"H x 1-11/16"D
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • MSRP: $49.99


  • Sirius - Sportster Home Kit (Model SP-H1)

    Features

  • Cradle and mounting base
  • AC power adapter
  • Indoor/outdoor antenna with 20' cable
  • Patch cable
  • Cradle dimensions: 4-13/16"W x 2-3/4"H x 3"D
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • MSRP: $49.99


  • Company Information
    Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.
    1221 Avenue of the Americas
    New York, NY 10020
    Phone: 800-869-5590
    sirius.com

    Source: Manufacturer supplied
    MSRP: $99.99 (Radio receiver only)

    URL:
    www.sirius.com/


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