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Old 09-23-2005, 07:36 AM   #1
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Starmate Replay Review

SIZE:
The Starmate Replay is a perfect size for easy mounting in almost any location. It comes with the suction cup mount and Velcro tape. There is a mounting bracket that supports the AMPS pattern so that you can use any standard AMPS mount. This is also what you use to mount it to the suction cup mount so that you can just pop it on and off so that you can use it either in the auto or home/office.

DISPLAY:
The display is basically the same color blue with black text as the Starbase, but when you turn down the brightness it turns a darker blue. I did test it for night driving and you do have to turn it down because even at the factory level which was half it was too bright. It is amazing that this small display is so bright and crisp and provides for 5 lines of text. There is the 2 line text mod with artist and song title, and the usual top and bottom info lines, then there is the single line large text mode. Unlike the previous Starmate the Replay uses a thinner font and so you see more characters with a great deal less scrolling. However the one comment I got from someone looking at it was the blue was a tad bit overwhelming over the black text and he had a hard time reading it. This is not the case for me, but I did adjust the brightness level and he was able to read the text. This means that the brightness and contrast levels will need to be adjusted to each person’s individual level. I find the display to be very good; I did not see any fading after the tuner ran for well over 2 hours. The buttons for the presets are a tad bit small, but still useable and you get 10, all the buttons are well lit and in fact I think at night lit up this is one cool looking tuner. The Dog Logo on the select button is really cool. I was able to use the tuner in direct sunlight and while you won’t see the blue background as it turns a sort of greenish color the text is still very easy to read. I think the red of the previous Starmate tuner not only faded, but it wasn’t very good in direct sunlight. This tuner doesn’t do so well if you are looking for one that you can see across a room due to the size of the display. But I give it an A+ for use at a desk, bed stand or in your automobile.

FM TRANS:
Though I prefer a direct connection, I have occasionally when bringing my tuner with friends have had to use the FM Transmitter. I found this tuner’s FM Tran to be very good and for the miles I traveled I never heard any static or interference. It provided a rock solid FM signal that I found sounds really good. There is an FM-OUT so that you can hookup a SATSWB if necessary(which I highly recommend). On the front of the tuner that is a button that will allow you to easily switch between FM frequencies as well as turning on the FM Tran should it be off. There is also a button on the front of the tuner for easy access to turning the FM Transmitter on if it is off, or selecting 1 of 5 preset FM Frequencies.

NEW ARTIST AND SONG SEEK:
The first thing I wanted to check out was the artist and song seeks. You get 30 total and you can decide to save by song or artist bases whichever you prefer to add to the s-seek memory. It is really good that Sirius allows you to choose which you prefer and this is a better implementation that XM tuners. The s-seek alert is pretty loud and now seems to come through the speakers when listening at louder volumes so you'll never miss a song/artist seek. When you are alerted it not only shows you the artist or song you matched, but gives you the channel number. I like this because I've been listening to a song and did not want to switch right then, but at the end of it would like to switch channels, but the older s-seek never gave the channel it was playing on for you to do this.

OTHER FEATURES:
You get all the game alert features for all sports, including game zones, clock with alarm and sleep mode. There is also parental control to block certain channels. I think they just renamed this from lock or unlock to parental controls. There is also a jump button for your favorite traffic channel or you can program it with another channel of your choice. For example I use mine for my favorite News Channel. If you push the Dog Select button you can enter a channel # directly. If you push and hold the Dog Select button it will take you back to the previous channel. Pushing and holding the BAND button will put you in preset mode. Pushing and holding the DISP button will bring up a 5 line list of channels, you can then hit the DISP button to go from artist name to song title and back to channel name.

AUDIO OUTPUT LEVEL:
One of the big things that most have noticed about the original Starmate was that sometimes it seemed as though the FM trans was better than trying to set it up with a direct connect. This was because in FM Tran mode it was actually louder that direct connect. This has been fixed in the Starmate Replay. Rather connected directly or via the FM Tran this baby has good volume. It is good to see that they fixed the output level.

HEAT:
I find this tuner runs cooler than other tuners, but it does still get a tad bit warm especially when using the suction cup mount in direct sunlight. Clearly they have indeed made heat improvements with the new 3.0g chipset. I had it on for a few hours and I found it only to be warm not really hot. The black plastic housing on the back of the tuner seems to be where it gets the warmest.

SOUND QUALITY:
I don’t know maybe it is just me, but I found the SQ with this tuner the best I have heard Sirius. There is better separation and the bass was really remarkably better. SQ is such a subjective thing so it is possible I am just imagining this, but it sounds GREAT to me in fact I'd say it sounds better than any other Sirius tuner I have own or tried out. Will it satisfy the audiophiles, probably not.

REMOTE:
This is an improved remote over previous ones I had like it only because it supports all the features. I find it to be too small and not very user friendly. It just not not a comfortable remote, but I am sure with some time you can learn where the buttons are. The only problem is they are so close to each other someone with large hands will more than likely have problems. By pointing it in the general direction it worked good. Anything you can do on the front of the tuner you can do with the remote, including the volume or output level.

REPLAY FEATURE - PAUSE/FF/RW:
You get 44 minutes or more on talk channels to be able to pause, rewind or fast forward. This is handy if you are listening to a football game or talk channel and get a phone call. You just pause it when you are done unpause it and you'll never miss a beat. It works great for music as well. When you change the channel though anything saved to the buffer is gone. My first experience using it was going to the drive through at the bank. I was able to pause it while I was talking to them without missing anything. I also went to a gas station to fill up and always loose my signal because of the canopy, so I was able to rewind it back several songs and continue to listen to music while waiting.

COMMENTS:
This tuner seems to have it all and in such a compact size, which again means you can mount it almost anywhere. The 3 wires on the side can be a hassle if you plan to move it from auto to home or office a great deal. So you may want to consider a PNP with a cradle under those conditions. However, I found that the tuner still looks pretty good even with the wires plugged in as long as you use the wires with the right angle plugs. The advantage over the previous Starmate is that they finally got a clue and put all the wires on the left side. I think this is one of the best looking tuners I have seen. I have no issue plugging and unplugging it. You just have to use care when doing this to insure you don't damage your connectors. This tuner reminds me a lot of the Starbase and I think it has advantages over it because the tuner is all in one, you don't have an external tuner that you have to place under the seat, dash or trunk. You don't have to worry about hooking up stripped power wires, you just plug it into the cig adapter. Most had to get the Starbase professionally installed, I don't see that being the case with the Starmate Replay.

I plan to keep this tuner and I recommend this tuner to anyone looking for a nice small tuner that pretty much has it all.
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Old 09-23-2005, 07:40 AM   #2
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Sounds like a good little tuner DAB. I'm still waiting for the S50, but I think Sirius will sell alot of these.
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Old 09-23-2005, 09:06 AM   #3
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Just thought I'd illustrate your review DAB - hope you don't mind.


*note* The above image shows the Starmate Replay plugged in to my old Sirius connectors - not the ones that come with it which are right angled and don't stick out like the ones above.

Dimensions (at their widest points) 5" wide by 1 14/16" high by 7/8" deep - (note that the depth is more like 3/4" for most of the unit - it's just the circular keys on the right that stick out more.

I should also point out that my camera didn't do the best job of capturing the color of the backlight and keys - they are a darker blu in person - not the blown out cyan that you see here.

Did DAB mention that there's a 5 line display squeezed into this tuner? Nice for browsing what's currently playing.
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Old 09-23-2005, 01:58 PM   #4
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Phamtom thanks for adding the picture. I wanted to do that last night, but I was totally exhusted.

It is amazing that you get 5 lines of text when category mode etc. I really like this little tuner.

What do you think of the SQ. Do you find it any better than other tuners you've heard? I don't know why I think this one sounds a tad bit better. I can really tell it in the bass.

Someone in another thread asked about reception. I have found reception to be very good. No issues whatsoever. I can't say its better than the other tuners, but in the few hours I drove around with it, I didn't have a single drop-out but that doesn't really mean there won't be.
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Old 09-23-2005, 02:20 PM   #5
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Thanks for the review DAB! I just ordered it from CMA today and should get it shortly soon. Plus I called up CMA and spoke to Taylor and I asked him couple of questions and he was great help! Keep up the great work CMA!
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Old 09-23-2005, 02:48 PM   #6
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Great review, this looks great.
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Old 09-23-2005, 03:40 PM   #7
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I also think this is the best tuner out there now, and the price is right. Love the size and looks very nice. The AC power cord from the old starmate home kit will power this unit, but it will not fit the old Home kit stand. I had bright sun, and the blue background works so nice, you can not see the background but the text is super clear..
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Old 09-23-2005, 04:31 PM   #8
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Sweet.

Plan on ordering mine today.

One question someone may be able to answer.

Is the antenna in plug the same as the regular starmate?

I'm hoping when I get it, I don't have to remove the antenna, and install another.

Thanks for the review, Can't wait to get it.
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Old 09-23-2005, 05:26 PM   #9
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i wonder if they will be adding accessories like the boombox?

it`s the only thing that keeps bringing me back to the sportster.
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Old 09-23-2005, 05:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mercury
i wonder if they will be adding accessories like the boombox?

it`s the only thing that keeps bringing me back to the sportster.
There is none coming that we know of, but then we didn't expect the last Starmate to have one either and Xact came out with one that worked. So I honestly think there will be one, but I can't make any promises. I am basing this on the last Starmate having a boombox.
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Old 09-23-2005, 06:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avediswolf
Sweet.

Is the antenna in plug the same as the regular starmate?

Thanks for the review, Can't wait to get it.
Yes... it is the same... The only thing that could not be the same.. the 90' angle plug end... but all the Antennas from old units will fit..
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Old 09-23-2005, 07:37 PM   #12
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You can see it's definately a smaller receiver! WAY SMALLER!











The only thing I don't like, the visibility when not looking straight on isn't as good as the other Plug and Play recievers. For those who this annoys, the tipper from Pana-Vise is likely your best bet for a dash installation.


This mount does support AMPS pattern mounts, so all indash mounts will work!
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Old 09-23-2005, 08:26 PM   #13
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What is that button right above the band? It looks like either a boombox or a set of car headlights...
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Old 09-23-2005, 08:40 PM   #14
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Any ideas of when a boom box will be available for this model?
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Old 09-23-2005, 08:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenDee
What is that button right above the band? It looks like either a boombox or a set of car headlights...
You can select up to 5 different FM Radio stations to transmit on, that button cycles through all 5 frequencies.
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