All of Sirius's original satellite radio models were targeted for use in mobile interiors--inside cars, trucks, and boats. With the introduction of Audiovox's SIRBB1 boombox, you can enjoy satellite radio anywhere. The SIRBB1 retails for $99.95, but you'll need to pony up another $99.95 for Audiovox's shuttle tuner pod (as pictured). So you're actually looking at a $200 boombox. That's only slightly less expensive than the other satellite radio service's boombox option, the with the attachment. On the upside, you can use your SIRPNP2 shuttle module tuner in the SIRBB1 or in your car for one subscription of $12.95 per month.
Aside from the docking cradle for the tuner pod, the SIRBB1 has a pair of four-inch speakers, a removable top-mounted antenna, and an auxiliary input so that you can connect an MP3 player or another portable device. The pod's large, pale-orange display is easy to see, and tuning any of the 100 music, news, sports, and talk streams is a completely intuitive process.
Figuring in the pod and the eight required D-cell batteries, the whole SIRBB1 ensemble weighs about eight pounds, so it's a handful to lug around. The unit sucked the life out of our Super Duty Panasonic batteries in less than three hours, so hard-core picnickers may want to invest in nickel-metal-hydride rechargeables. The boombox's awkwardly designed carry handle tested our patience, and after just five minutes, we had to keep swapping the SIRBB1 between our left and right hands. More gripes: unlike the new and improved XM-compatible from Delphi, the Audiovox doesn't include down-to-earth features such as an AM/FM tuner, a CD player, or tone controls.
Reception in our Brooklyn, New York, apartment was possible only when the Sirius antenna was carefully positioned in a window, and we expected that. But reception outdoors was perfect on some blocks and nonexistent around the corner. In your town, you may do much better--or worse.
We performed a brief face-off with XM Radio's original SkyFi portable. The XM model's squeezed bow-tie look is easier on the eyes than the Audiovox SIRBB1's classic boombox shape. Sound quality isn't stellar on either model, and neither produces much in the way of boom or bass. Still, we give the overall sound-quality nod to the XM system.
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.