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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
[ music ]
>> So you want to add satellite radio to your car, but don't want to go through an involved installation. Well the XM SkyDock claims to add live satellite radio to your iPhone with easy installation. Sound interesting? I'm Antuan Goodwin, let's take a closer look at the XM SkyDock to see how well it delivers on that promise. The XM SkyDock is a standard cradle on an arm design with adjustable arms that allow it to accommodate and charge all three generations of iPhone and both generations of iPod Touch, with or without a case. The flexible neck allows the iPhone to be positioned for optimal viewing. And at the base of the arm is the 12-volt power adapter that features an input for the satellite radio antenna and audio outputs. The power adapter features a rubber ring that locks the unit in place requiring a considerable amount of force to insert or remove the SkyDock. There's no way this puppies coming loose unintentionally. The SkyDock connects to your cars speakers through either an analog output, the built-in FM transmitter, or an FM output for use with an optional FM direct connection kit. Once powered up just download the free XM SkyDock app to take control of the docks tuner. Of course, an XM satellite radio service plan is also required. And those plans are gonna start at about $10 a month and max out at about $17 a month for the most exhaustive package. Users can browse stations with Now Playing previews and store up to 12 of their favorite channels. To hear a song that you like hit the Tag button to save the artist and title, with a link to purchase in the iTunes store. Users can also set up alerts to be notified when a tagged artist or a song is playing on another station. The app also supports weather and traffic notifications, alert for your favorite sports team, and a stock ticker. Now one of the main annoyances that we had with the XM SkyDock is that the application must be running in order for the music to play. If you pop out of the app to, say, respond to a text message or check out your map, then the music stops. It would have been nice if the hardware would continue playing the last selected station when you're multitasking. So if you're interested in also using your iPhone for navigation, then perhaps the SkyDock isn't the best satellite radio option for you. Also, while the installation is by no means difficult, it is a bit more involved than simple plug and play, requiring the mounting of an external magnetic antenna to your vehicles roof, deck lid, or hood. So you can't very easily transport the SkyDock from vehicle to vehicle. That being said, we were able to get the SkyDock up and running in our test vehicle in about 15 minutes with no tools required. Over all, the XM SkyDock does deliver on its promise of being an easy to install and easy to use XM radio tuner for users who just want to listen to music. However, multitaskers need not apply. For more details check out our full review. Until next time I'm Antuan Goodwin, and this has been our first look at the XM SkyDock.
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