The Good Samsung's Helix YX-M1 takes satellite radio to new heights with a pocket player for listening to digital music and recording satellite radio programs. With an easy-to-learn interface, a connection to downloadable music, and a color screen, all the world's music is at your fingertips.
The Bad With space for 50 hours of music, the Samsung Helix YX-M1's 1GB capacity is adequate, but it is far from enough to hold an entire digital music collection. It lacks a memory-card slot for expansion, you can't burn recorded XM material to a CD, and its computer interface is Windows only. Worst of all, its battery runs for only about 5 hours of XM airtime.
The Bottom Line Small and light enough for a shirt pocket, Samsung's Helix YX-M1 is a one-stop audio entertainment center with an XM radio, a digital music player, and room for 50 hours of tunes, but it comes up short on battery life.
Samsung Helix YX-M1 (XM)
Editors' Note: As of November 2008, this product has been replaced by the Pioneer XMP3.
Following closely on the heels of Pioneer's similar Inno, Samsung's $400 Helix YX-M1 is small and light, has a powerful XM receiver to tap into XM Radio's 170 channels of programming, and can play all your MP3/WMA digital music files. So far, competitor Sirius lacks a similar option. The bad news for the Helix is that, as with the Inno, its battery goes dead all too quickly, it requires a Windows PC to transfer music, and it has only 1GB of capacity. Still, these nearly identical twins deliver audio entertainment practically anywhere, regardless of whether it's from the New Pornographers or XM's NASCAR channel.
Barely the size of a cassette tape, the Samsung Helix YX-M1 matches the Inno inch for inch at 0.6 by 2.2 by 4.4 inches, although we like the Helix's subdued black and brushed-aluminum look better than the Inno's darker, bolder design. Both weighing 4.5 ounces, the Helix and the Inno are the lightest XM radios around, as well as easily half the size and 3 ounces lighter than Delphi's MyFi receiver. While the two players use the same electronics, we like the Helix's earbuds and small button bar, as opposed to the Inno's bulky switches for Mode, Play, and Display, along with its in-ear phones. The layout is similar, with both having a four-way control at the bottom for tuning the radio, selecting tracks, and navigating through the machine's menus. While it is backlit for nighttime maneuvers, we prefer the MyFi's combination of numeric pad and scroll dial for quick channel changes.
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