The Sirius Sportster comes with a few customizable features. The illumination colors, Amber or green, are available for the screen and buttons independently. Presets can be set with the ease of holding down a button for 2-3 seconds while on the desired station. There’s also a Jump button feature that sends you to a geographically themed weather/traffic station for imperative driving information.
I enjoyed 6 Electronica/Dance (obviously my genre of choice) stations, 4 Hip-Hop selections, 8 different sports channels, and 5 R&B choices for the ladies lucky enough to cruise with me in the Honda.
The two different means of displaying song information tickled my fancy. One mode will display the artist and title of the current track in block letters large enough to read from outside my vehicle. The other mode will show artist and title on two different lines thus viewing both simultaneously
There were a few cons to this audio goodie delivered via satellite. I didn’t like 3 seconds of dead air when changing stations. I’m accustom to FM radio’s instantaneous audio transfer that leaves virtually no dead airtime in my car. Also, once in a while I’d get a 2-3 second pause due to loss of reception. I could live with these flaws, but I wasn’t impressed.
The hand piece itself is humongous. My first gen T-Mobile Sidekick is smaller than the device. At 4 ½” x 3 ¼” with a 1 ¼” thickness, the Sportster wasn’t allowing me to do any sports while holding on to it. I am usually agitated with pocket buldge ie. iPod in a front pocket. The Sidekick however exceeds the acceptable size for a front pocket. Since the Sirius Sportster is larger than the sidekick, it’s just too big to carry comfortably without a bag of some sort.
Along the same lines of mobility, the Sirius Sporster appears to be rather portable. The unit can fit in your car, and in a boombox for out of the car use. With these two great additions to the Sportster nobody ever has to miss any programming. Wrong. I was very disappointed with the lack of an internal battery and headphone jack for on-the-go satellite radio enjoyment. A unit of this size should contain a small battery and headphone line out for personal use. I have seen mobile phones integrated with this type of technology, so I don’t suspect that fitting the extra parts inside was an issue. My assumption is a problem with reception. The car kit required an external antenna to be mounted on the top of the car. A boombox addition comes with a telescopic antenna for receiving signals. The hand held unit must require a clunky antenna in order to receive the signal strong enough for a quality playback signal, thus axing the internal battery and headphone features. Or they left the headphone jack out of the design to keep a low price?
I visited Beverages and More while blasting a jazzy cut by Miles Davis when all of a sudden the music stopped. I then realized that I had driven into an underground parking lot, one floor below the surface, and my signal sunk like the Titanic. I don’t plan on extended listening while in underground areas, so I won’t strike the Sportster negative points on this flag.
Up to date summary:
Sound Quality: superb
Ease of navigation: child’s play
Colors: changeable =)
Display: Large and In Charge
Variety: do-able, wouldn’t mind a few more channels
Reception: good, above ground
Coolness factor: I haven’t gotten any digits yet, but I feel them coming oh so soon.