Liftoff for portable XM receiver
A new Xm radio receiver is available from Delphi. The SkiFi3 is a basic looking receiver with lots of features.
Delphi has officially launched the portable XM receiver it quietly announced last month. Marketed as "the first Micro SD Compatible MP3 Satellite Radio" the SkyFi3 is a lightweight unit (65 percent smaller than the ) with a built-in receiver that can be used in concert with the Live Wearable "antenna" headphones (a $49 accessory) for true portability. It's near impossible to track down a photo of these 'phones (I've tried here and here), (probably because they're big and dorky).
However, the SkyFi3, with its big-buttoned interface, big and bright 9-line 2.8-inch display, and vertical and horizontal flexibility, is ideal for car use. It ships with a car dock kit and will be available December 1 for $229.
The device can record up to 10 hours of satellite radio and store songs in the unit's built-in flash, and it includes a Micro SD slot that allows you to play back MP3 and WMA files. Like the SkyFi2, this version can pause live recording and rewind 30 minutes of content. Additionally, the SkyFi3 features a strong FM transmitter.
I played with an early unit and noticed its lightweight build and good button layout. The screen is nice and big, but you'll have to do without the luxury of color and station graphics. As mentioned, you'll have to get the special headphones in order to listen to live XM between your house and car. The battery life of 90 minutes of live XM is pretty weak, but then, this is not supposed to replace the MyFi (or Samsung's Helix or Pioneer's Inno). It may not be the smallest or fanciest satellite radio receiver/recorder/MP3 player out there, but it does a lot for the price. Look for our full review of the SkyFi3 in the coming weeks.