GSI: S50 Review

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I wanted to get something out today about my S50. Sorry for any typos just put this together very quickly! If you have any questions about the S50 email me.

The SIRIUS S50, all I can say is wow! This thing is wonderful over all, but yes there are something’s that I personally do not like. I have broken this review down with bold sub titles. Look for updates on this review over the next few days. .

Out of the Box

When you open the box, there is layers of stuff, from very thick books to a little baggy to hold the S50. There is everything you need to get the S50 working in your car. A very nice antenna, and a multiple mounting options. There is also a belt clip and remote. The size of the S50 it supper small, I put it next to the JVC KT-SR1000 (one of the first PNPs) just to show how far SIRIUS has come!

Activation Problems
First off I had a problem with the S50 when I went to activate it online; It told me over and over to enter a valid ESN number. After I tried 3 or 4 times I called SIRIUS to activate over the phone. I was told that my ESN number was not in the system and was told to try back in 3 to 5 days!! When I questioned this I was told, “Sir, you have to be patient in the matter!� I did not like that answer so I called back 3 more times. Luckily the customer server folks got better, the first lady needs to be fired. From what I could find out some of the S50 ESN numbers were not entered into the SIRIUS system by someone. I was told it was the retailers’ problem by one Customer Service Rep, this was also wrong. I then called the S50 Product Support number (1-800-869-5364). This was the winner, I got the help I needed, and they added the ESN number to the system and told me it could take up to 24 hours for it to “work the system� but I should try every hour online. Three hours later I was able to activate my S50! I do know of some other folks that had this same problem, once they called the “Product Support number� it also fixed it for them.

The Display

My oh my! Stunning! No photo can tell how nice this is! The backgrounds, the station logos, the blues and blacks! Just Stunning! The font is bold and clear, you can see it when driving, a quick look and you get all the info. There is also large symbols that pop up when you REW/FF/PLAY/PAUSE. The display also gives you so much info then any other radio out there, you can turn on a sports ticker that will show up on any station, you still get that stations info at the same time, as the ticker. Very cool! Each station has its own logo, each category has its own background, and each sport has its own themed background. The S50 is smart also, say if there is a basketball game on Bloomberg radio, the S50 will not display the Bloomberg logo, but puts the NBA logo in its place! Now that is cool! You can also look at what is playing on other stations with out changing the station, you can roll station to station just looking around!

The S50 speaks
The S50 is a female, and she has one sexy voice! The voice navigation is very nice, when I first read about this, I was sure that I would turn it off right away.. Hell no I’m keeping this on! Very nice voice, she tells you the station name as the station is loading. She will talk over the music at times, but it sounds very nice. You can talk back to her as I do, but it will not do a bit of good.. The voice navigation also gives menu info, and warns you if you try to change a station when recording a song or show. You can turn this off, but I like it.

Replay Functions
If you have a replay model nothing new here , but it is still nice . Press the REW /FF button once to skip an entire song or hold it down to scan. You can also pause live radio.

Got to LOVE the Love button
The press of one button you can save an entire song on the S50. If you just tuned to a channel and press the love button it will tell you that the song won’t be complete, if you try to change the station when recording it will ask you if you are sure… On talk stations you can press and hold the love button to select a start and ending point. You can also love songs off “My Sirius Channels� (more about them soon)

Station Navigation
The magnifying glass button switches between browse single channels, categories, and your presets. Once you pick on of the above you can spin the wheel, and you will fly around the dial. If you pick single channel navigation you will go to each station in order, in the categories it will spin around just that category. If you pick presets, it will go in the order of your 30 presets. There is also a jump button, that you can set to any station, or to a city for traffic. To use the jump button, hold the “Jump� button down. The same Jump button will also get you back if you get lost. There is also game alerts, for as many teams as you like. The list button, will get you to your play list, and recorded content. Once you get into that menu and you get lost a few times you will get it.

The Remote
Small and very nice looking, you can enter in a station number with the remote, and also move around the S50. You can point it any were around the unit and it works nice.

FM Transmitter
I live in the middle of 3 major metro areas and there is very few open FM stations, so I never have luck with the FM transmitter. I do like how you can preset station frequencies to broadcast to, so if you do start to get some interference, you can easily change the station the S50 will broadcast to. The FM transmitter is in the base unit, so it must be docked to transmit.

Recording content
The S50 will record 3 of your most listened to stations, these are called “My SIRIUS Channels� You can also record songs at will, just hit the love and they save to My SIRIUS Songs

Playing back My SIRIUS Songs
When you listen to some stations DJ’s, liners, and songs overlap the song. SIRIUS did something very nice here! When you play back “My SIRIUS Songs� the S50 will fade up and down the song, so the music flows better, and the talking (if any) is not very noticeable.

Loss of Signal – No problem!
I drive in the Baltimore harbor tunnel daily, and there is no signal under the bay. To my shock the S50 said to me, sorry, no signal, would you like to access your playlist? Hit on button then I got music! How cool!

Uploading MP3 to S50
Easy!!! The SIRIUS studio software is very nice and will let you pop Mp3s into your S50. I even loaded an Mp3 over an Hour long, (some Mp3 players will lock up with big files like this) the S50 played it fine! Also the display on the S50 will use the ID3 tags.

The battery

Very nice life out of it so far, 5 hours pasted with no problems. The batter will also charge off your computers USB when connected. There is also an A/C power supply to charge the batter at home, when dock in the car it will also charge.

The lack of live portable content
We all knew that the S50 would only get live content when docked. I personally had a MyFi with XM, and was not impressed with the drop outs when walking around with it. The MyFi did fine were there is ground repeaters, but it was not all that in other places. I know a lot of folks want something to get SIRIUS live on the move, there is only one way to do that with SIRIUS right now and that is with the XACT power pod. Check it out here. This is big and bulky and if you are not in a big metro area with ground repeaters, this may not work that good for you. I think that S50 makes it so easy to record live content and upload your Mp3s that you will never worry about not having entertainment on the go.

Over all
The S50 is the best! Got to love it, the Mp3 functions are better then any Ipod out there. But this also get Sat radio in the car and at home! It takes some time to get around the menus. I have had mine for a short time, and tell you that in a few days I will find more cool things. Every time I power it up something new pops up. So check back for more reviews and some better photos in the coming days. I’m sorry for any typos in this review, but wanted to get something out quickly for you all to read…

Were to get it
I got my S50 from The Sirius Store! Grade A customer service! Once more they got it before any of mine local stores. I did preorder and it looks like this is going to be a big seller this holiday!

Other stuff
Download S50 Manual
Download My SIRIUS Studio Software
How to power S50 car kit in your home


Blogger Sev said...

TSS Rules! Fantastic customer service.

As for the activation problems, next time GET NAMES and turn them in. You'll be doing some other person a favor that might get the same person. I hate rude people!

And unless you like the pretty GUI from the sirius software I'd ditch it. The WMP 10 was a ton faster for me. That sirius software was nothing but bloat big time.

Sat Nov 26, 12:13:00 AM EST  
Blogger Doug said...

I wanted a S50 so bad but could not justify spending over $300 for a portable MP3 player. I already have an iPod. Essentially you are paying for the S50 hard drive.

I settled on the Sirius One unit for my car for $50.

Sat Nov 26, 09:13:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you feel it is necessary to slam the MyFi?

I have a myfi and don't live near a repeater, yet I almost never have bad reception. Mine has the extra headphones that come bundled with it at Sams Club.

Just because the S50 can't receive live programming you feel you need to put down the competition? Save your breath.

The MyFi delivers, and I'm sure the S50 is great, too -- it just isn't quite up to par with the MyFi.

Sat Nov 26, 11:37:00 AM EST  
Blogger Dr. Droo said...

And yet, anonymous, you couldn't be bothered to identify yourself alongside your arguments.

The MyFi has live reception, the S50 doesn't, no news there. But aside from that, the S50 is outright a more innovative product by far. If you thumbed through the manual or actually used one, you'd understand why.

Here XM reception is spotty at best, let alone trying to use a MyFi here, no matter what antenna you use. For this reason, amongst others, I don't feel that Sirius was in the wrong for deciding that on-the-go live access was a feature that would result in more headache than good.


Sat Nov 26, 02:48:00 PM EST  
Blogger Damian said...

I did not slam the MyFi, it is a nice unit but I was not happy with it. I found it necessary to bring up the MiFi it can get live content when portable, and the S50 can not. The MiFi has sold very well, ands some like it, but I want a unit that will play music that will not break up when cutting my grass, when I pass under a tree, or when taking a bike ride in the forest. If you have a MiFi in the woods, or inside the house not attached to a cable you get nothing with the MiFi, with the S50 you get to listen to saved content, and your Mp3s. If SIRIUS had a unit like the MiFi I would have made the same comparison.

Sat Nov 26, 03:37:00 PM EST  
Anonymous John K said...

I have to say I have had XM for about a year. I have a MyFi, and love it. Now I just got the S50 for SIRIUS. It makes my MyFi look like an Atari. I'm sure over the next few year XM and SIRIUS will one up each other, and that is going to make me spend more money! BTW I'm liking SIRIUS content a better then XM, but I will keep both services for now.

Sun Nov 27, 11:33:00 AM EST  
Blogger davebosox1967 said...

Can I use the car kit magnetic antenna at home if I place in a window at an angle?

Fri Dec 02, 10:49:00 AM EST  
Blogger P_Geezy said...

Thanks D! your review rocks!

I can not wait till I get my S50 sometime in the next couple of days.

Keep in going bro!

- Gerard
Hook'Em Horns!

Sun Dec 04, 05:38:00 PM EST  

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