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XM PCR Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating




A number of factors are always considered in rating the overall performance. For this particular device, the software, content selection, sound quality and antenna placement/signal strength were determined to be the most important.

The software interface, which is the only way to control the receiver, provided a number of nice options which are worth checking out. One feature, favorite artist alert, pops up a window to tell you when, say, Garth Brooks is on the country channel banging out his latest tune. You can also set custom channel lists, so you don’t have to scroll through the over 100 stations to find the one you want. Perhaps the coolest feature though is the real time display the channel listings provide, which shows the current artist and song title playing and makes choosing between the Bee Gees and Snoop Dogg all that much easier. One thing which was lacking was volume control, which forces you to have to fiddle with the speaker dials or Windows volume panel.

With regards to content, XM Radio has done a good job at lining up over 100 stations of entertainment and music. Their material is organized by genres, so you can select from rock, country and jazz stations, to name a few. Stations with brand names like ESPN and CNN are available for those which prefer a little talk in their day.

The sound quality for the XM PCR was impressive for the most part. It was stereo, with little interference and no hissing like regular radio. The only thing which could be a factor would be antenna placement, which is addressed below.

As mentioned during setup, antenna placement can be tricky. Claims by XM for the receiver to be able to pick up signals in an indoor environment were mixed, with placement closer to a window or outdoor setting providing stronger results. Signal strength, even in an ideal location, would sometimes drop altogether, though this may be more related to weather or other conditions which commonly plague users of satellite technologies.


$49.95. XM is asking you to part with that much for one of their XM PCRs. Is it worth it? I would have to say yes. The price point is a little high, given that you also need to pay an additional monthly service fee, but the sound quality and number of channels available makes it worth it. The XM PCR is portable enough for those that have a laptop, providing quality music in those cheap hotels were only dial up is available and the only voice you hear on the radio dial is religious evangelists. Satellite radio is a cool technology which should be around for sometime to come and this makes a nice way to enjoy it.


  • MSRP: $49.95
  • Dimensions: 5.12 in W x 1.34 H x 4.76 in D (130mm x 34 mm x 121mm)
  • Weight: 6.8 oz (193 g)
  • Antenna: RF SMB connector
  • Audio Output: 3.5 mm diameter ministereo jack
  • Computer: USB 1.0

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