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Stiletto Stiletto...it's not just for shoes. Come here to talk about the new SL2, the SL100, or the SL10. Share tips, tricks and pointers, all available via WiFi...just like your music!

 
 
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:06 AM   #1
Thrasherduck
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Default The Thrasherduck Stiletto 100 Review

OK. First things first. I managed to get my hands on a Stiletto Saturday. Have no fear TSS, I will NOT be cancelling my order. Bring it ON! The Misses wants one too! Oh and by the way, the real coup would be if you guys get your hands on the home and vehicle kits first. THAT would be the real inside scoop. This thing is great but very limited in my opinion without either dock.

There are PLENTY of pictures of this thing floating around on SBS so I will focus on a true review with only a few “required” pictures to make this what I will call the first OFFICIAL review of the Sirius Stiletto 100, not just a smattering of quick first impressions. Also, I have never owned or even held a S50 in my hand, so I can make NO comparisons to that device. It is also very late, or early, depending on who you are, so if you have a question that is not answered here let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it. I will be at the Falcons game most of the day today, so it will probably be Sunday night before I can reply.

Let’s start at the beginning.

PACKAGING
Coming from the printing and packaging industry, it always amazes me how much a company will spend on packaging in order to make you “want” to buy something just by looking at the box etc.
I have to say, in my “professional” opinion, the packaging IS expensive, but not worth the money spent. Next time sell the product in a printed box and ditch the plastic overlay with foil stamping and save me $5 bucks on the device.





UNBOXING…Some people really seem to get off on pictures of opening up boxes. Not me. But here are a couple of obligatory “unboxing” photos for those of you…and you know who you are.
LOTS of stuff in here, EXCEPT a belt clip or holder of some type, that would be VERY useful and obviously not deemed important by the higher ups at Sirius.


Software and User Guide box, which had a My Sirius Studio CD, user manual, a bright yellow Internet Radio “Just the FAQ’s” pamphlet, Quick Start Guide, and a full color channel line up (which is laid out incorrectly by the graphic artist and folded thus incorrectly as my professional opinion tells me). Antenna headphones, which sound good, but are somewhat uncomfortable, and will definitely need some modification with some cushioning. Ear bud headphones with 2 sets of “cushions”. Proprietary USB cable, charging adapter and standard and slim batteries. The unit does seem a little large for a portable device. It is bigger than my pocket PC cell phone, which some days feels like a brick. It is however, lighter than my PPC phone.



The lack of a CHEAP belt clip or a CHEAP rubber “case” with a Velcro armband strap, like many MP3 players come with these days, is a HUGE oversight in my opinion. I mean what the hell am I supposed to do? Dance around like this jackass from the manual?

According to it, that is “Correct”. All joking aside, a device that is sold as “portable” should at the very least have a belt clip included.



ACTIVATION
Installed the standard battery, and plugged in the antenna headphones. Upon installing the battery the unit immediately powers up, showing the Sirius dog logo and some circles below it to show boot up progress.


From a “cold” start I timed the unit at 45 seconds to boot to the home screen. Not bad, and I am sure that time will vary depending on how much you have recorded to your device, and maybe even what the last “mode” you were in on power down. I selected the Satellite Radio icon and began to receive a channel update that took about a minute. I then was able to hear channel 184. I then went to Sirius.com to add this new radio to my ever-growing list of subs. For the first time ever, I had an issue with my credit card going through and after 5 failed attempts changed cards and the activation went through. I did add the Sirius Internet Radio option for $2.99/month. It was automatically added to the Stiletto’s ESN. Within seconds, I was receiving all of the live Sirius radio broadcast in all it’s glory. It was a strange, but great feeling to be listening via headphones to a unit I was holding in my hand.

INTERFACE
Menus/Navigation/Satellite Radio. I really like the Zing designed menu system. It is very intuitive, and I think anyone who is “new” to Sirius would be able to get up and going very quickly.


I thought the voice announcements of the channels would be neat, but quickly turned that feature off after only a couple of minutes. The main reason I turned it off, and this can probably be fixed in future firmware updates, is that while you are listening to a live satellite broadcast, if you go to scroll through the channel line up to see what else is on and stop at a channel for more than a second it announces the channel name over top of the live broadcast. Annoying.
I got at least 50% reception all the time outside, with only 2 brief “skips”. I could even get reception (albeit very weak) inside my house. I plugged in my “comfortable” Sony ear buds, AND the antenna headphones. I was able to listen to live satellite broadcast while sitting at my computer. The game ticker feature is really neat and while listening to live satellite programming, I got a scoring update every time the score changed in the Georgia/Mississippi game, even though I was listening to music. To have this feature work, you must add a “favorite team” to your device, and the team must be “playing” on a Sirius station. It would be really neat if in the future Sirius could have a streaming sports ticker all the time, and not just of games being played live on Sirius.
The scroll wheel feels a little cheap to me, and I hope it holds up over time with lots of use. It feels kind of flimsy, and when using it to navigate the menus it can seem a little “touchy”. I think there should be an option to control your “scrolling speed” like you can do on a scroll wheel mouse. Maybe that can be added in a future firmware update as well. You can also quickly see how much storage space you have used by going to the device settings menu.


One thing that I believe is lacking either through the interface or on the device itself is an indicator light to show if the Stiletto is charging and if it is fully charged. My cell phone and my camera battery, both have a led that is red while charging and turns green when the battery is fully charged. The Stiletto just sits there with a blank look on its face, and I have no way of knowing if it is charged, charging or what. Maybe the home or vehicle docks will have that feature.
Another thing that seems weird to me is sleep mode vs. power off. The manual states that by sliding the power switch down and releasing it the device goes in to sleep mode. The display screen shows the Sirius dog and the words “Going to Sleep”.


If you slide the switch down again the unit comes back “on” or “awake” within seconds. The manual also states that by sliding the power switch down and HOLDING it for 5 seconds the unit will power off. This seems to work, but here is where it gets weird… The display screen shows the Sirius dog and the words “Going to Sleep” again. Shouldn’t it say something like “Woof Woof” or “Powering Off” or at least make an audible “power down” sound like my Sportster Replay does? I am sure this can be fixed with an update. I hope so.

INTERNET RADIO
I set up my internet connection very quickly and easily. I had to go into my router and change it to “mixed mode” to allow it to broadcast in 802.11 b, as I was broadcasting in “g” only before. I also had to broadcast my SSID in order for the Stiletto to find my network. I DO NOT like this. I keep my network very secure and one of the ways I do so is by NOT broadcasting my SSID. I use WPA PSK and the Stiletto connected immediately and without a glitch. I then “disabled” broadcasting my SSID from my router and the Stiletto remained connected. HOWEVER, upon disconnecting from internet radio and going to satellite radio and then back to internet radio, the Stiletto could NOT find my network. My network was still showing up in the “previously connected” to menu, but it will not reconnect. I am hoping that this can be corrected in a future firmware update as well. If I could get the Stiletto to connect by remembering the SSID from before (like my laptop and Pocket PC do) and not have to broadcast it that would be great.
The audio sounded great. I guess there is no way of knowing if you are getting the 128 kbps stream or not as it connected without asking for any usernames or passwords. I would like to believe that it is somehow linked to my ESN # and I am getting that high quality stream that I am paying for. If it is not, it still sounds awesome, but I would like to drop the $2.99/month option as I can stream URGE music service at 128 kbps and I am already paying dearly for that.

RECORDING/LIBRARY
I ‘Loved” a few songs. Man, do I hate that term, and when I went to the Library there they were.

One thing about “Loving” a song is this. If you have some “DJ” or “personality” that likes to run their mouth over the music then guess what, you will hear all or a part of it at the beginning or end of the song. So I recommend recording songs when no one is talking.
I have a “suibscription/to go” account with Microsoft’s URGE music service. Windows Media Player recognized the Stiletto without a problem, and I “synched” some downloaded tracks that I subscribe to (do not own) and they showed up in the library and played without a problem. The synchronization was lighting quick. This is one of the biggest features of the Stiletto for me. Now I can ditch my mp3 player and use the Stiletto for all my portable music needs. Please understand that I only had a 1 GB mp3 player prior to the Stiletto, and that I change out music frequently. I do not have a need to carry around 60GB of music, especially now that I can get Sirius basically anywhere with the Stiletto. It would be really cool if the Stiletto could display album art of songs that you add to the library from your computer, so that it could be viewed while a song is playing. This can probably be added via a firmware update as well.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Well first of all, I am as sleepy as can be. I have “worked” really hard on this review…of course it could be that it is 3 a.m.!
Overall this is going to be one kick ass device for Sirius. The ability to connect via wi-fi is huge. The support of subscription based music services is also very big.
If Sirius and Zing can continue to make improvements and add features to the Stiletto in the future, then this device is well worth the money and could very well be an XM killer.
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:28 AM   #2
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Thank you Thrasherduck, that is a very good review. See there is even more advantages of not being an early adopter, I don't have to do a big review.

You made mention of several things that perhaps could be addressed in firmware updates. Unfortunately SIRIUS isn't very good at those, so I hope with Zing onboard with this design they will be working with the SIRIUS team to provide timely and good firmware updates.

My big hold up is battery life and rather the Wifi is actually using the 128KB stream or the standard 34k stream. The difference is pretty dramatic, but then again perhaps the Stiletto connects to a totally different server all together, since it appears as reported by others that not all the entertainment, sports or talk channels are present on the Stiletto. It seems to only be music. Can you confirm this?

By the way as the first official review, you've earned a sticky
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:40 AM   #3
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Aw shucks! Thanks for the sticky!
Now can you change the title to something like you did in the past? Like this:
The DAB/MM Sportster 4 Review
Maybe "The Thrasherduck Stiletto 100 Review"? Although, I am positive that I do not carry around the kind of weight you do here!

I think/hope that maybe Sirius hooked up with Zing, just to be sure the Stiletto was upgradeable and not as buggy as the S50. Afterall, Zing is really a "software" company.

As far as the internet streams go, it sounded GREAT. I need to try listening to it on the PC on the 34K stream and then compare to the Internet Radio of the Stiletto. And as others have mentioned I noticed there are channels that are "missing/different" on the Stiletto Internet Radio. I'll check later today to give an actual confirmation.
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:47 AM   #4
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Updated your title... Again Good Job and I continue to look forward to any add on tidbits you may bring forward as you continue to use it.

There is no doubt this review is DAB APPROVED! LOL
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Old 10-01-2006, 05:43 AM   #5
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Sweet review Thrasherduck. Thanks for taking the time and sharing those thoughts. The Pink Spiders? What a name for a band! I'll have to check them out.
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:30 AM   #6
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Thanks for the wonderful review and pics. I am totally new to sat radio and became interested only a couple days ago when I learned the MET opera broadcasts have just received a dedicated channel on Sirius. I have read and read as much as I can and decided to buy the Stiletto - I hope to pick it up today at CC. I've been retired 11 years now and I know nothing about this wifi stuff and it probably would not work for me as I am on dial-up (no dsl or cable out here yet). I hardly can get around my PC as is!

The questions I have I can really find no difinitive answers for so maybe you can help. I will listen only to the MET opera channel and what I would like to do is program the Stiletto to come on when an opera I want to hear is broadcast. I understand the Stiletto can record for around 6 hours and this is great as many operas are 4 hours long. Ideally, I would like to edit the performance so that I can have only excerpts I want to hear rather than the entire 4 hour long opera. As I am listening to the playback, can I remove the parts I do not want to hear leaving me with only the highlights I want to save? If not, I would like to "download" the performance to my mini-disk recorder. Then, I can edit the mini-disk so that I can archive only the highlights I want to disks. So, can I "download" the Stiletto to another recording device? One person said the Stiletto will probably have very limited edit ability and also may not be able to record to my mini-disk recorder the saved Stiletto recording because of copyright provisions. Is this true? If so, I'm not sure how I can archive the operas I want.

Another option is recording from the Stiletto to my dvd recorder which has the ability to create music only cds. I could plug the Stiletto to the dvd recorder (via the headphone output using a Y connector pigtail) and simply pause the DVD recorder when there are portions of the performance I do not care for. That would leave me with a cd of highlights I could then burn to my mini-disk to archive the selections. However, perhaps the same thing holds true with the DVD and there is some encoding on the Stiletto playback present that might prevent it from recording to the DVD recorder. If so, do you have any solutions for me?

I am also glad to hear the antenna works fairly well indoors. I will not play this thing outside nor in the car and I am pretty sure out here in the sticks that I do not have any repeater towers near me. I plan on finding a good spot indoors and leaving the Stiletto right there, setting it up to come on when an opera I am interested in is broadcast.

Thanks again for the time to do this review.
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:32 AM   #7
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Great Professional Review!

I especially liked the pictures of how the unit is packaged. I'd like to see the menu tree's since you talked about the Zing Menu system.

I hope you are going to add to the review as there is a lot more to add!

Keep up the good work!

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Old 10-01-2006, 06:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortspark
I am also glad to hear the antenna works fairly well indoors. I will not play this thing outside nor in the car and I am pretty sure out here in the sticks that I do not have any repeater towers near me. I plan on finding a good spot indoors and leaving the Stiletto right there, setting it up to come on when an opera I am interested in is broadcast.
I wouldn't be so sure you're going to get indoor reception if you're not near any repeaters. You might want to consider a much cheaper sat radio with an outdoor antenna if you just want to listen inside.
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:06 AM   #9
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Default $2.99

Can you elaborate on what this additional charge is for?
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmeadahc
Can you elaborate on what this additional charge is for?
$2.99/month is the cost for a 128 mps streaming signal
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:17 AM   #11
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I can easily see why the Stiletto didnt come with a belt clip. The bottom of the Stiletto has the headphones jack, power chord slot, and usb cable slot. The top of the Stiletto probably houses the internal antenna.

Any belt clip for the Stiletto would have to consider those two things. Basically the belt clip would have to hold the Stiletto by the sides in order to not obstruct the antenna and jacks at the bottom of the device.
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shade4five
Any belt clip for the Stiletto would have to consider those two things. Basically the belt clip would have to hold the Stiletto by the sides in order to not obstruct the antenna and jacks at the bottom of the device.
Then that's how they should have done it. Having a portable that you have to carry is frigging stupid.
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetsCuseFan
Sweet review Thrasherduck. Thanks for taking the time and sharing those thoughts. The Pink Spiders? What a name for a band! I'll have to check them out.
I "discovered" them on the URGE music service. I have yet to hear them on Sirius. I am sure they will beign to be played on ALT Nation or Left of Center soon.

@shortspark: As badmotherfarker stated, indoor reception is SPOTTY at best. I was only getting "1 bar". I was using the antenna headphones while VERY close to a window. And as time passsed the signal faded as the SATS had moved their position. You should wait for the home kit and have an antenna "outside" or you would proabably do well with the Sirius Conductor when it comes out. Sirius Conductor Thread
Since it would be hooked up to your home stereo system, I am SURE youcould find a way to record from it. The Stiletto will let you record that 6 hour block and "take it anywhere" so to speak.


@me_rubin: I will be gone most of the day, and if someone doesn't beat me to it I'll post more "menu" pictures.

@tmeadahc: The $2.99/month was my existing Sirius subscriber rate for the new 128 kbps SIRIUS Internet Radio .

Thanks everyone for the kind comments. Especially DAB for officially "approving" this review. And I WILL continue to add to this as I use the Stiletto more over the next few days.
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Old 10-01-2006, 08:21 AM   #14
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great review Thrasherduck! im way too lazy to write all that

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Old 10-01-2006, 08:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thrasherduck
Oh and by the way, the real coup would be if you guys get your hands on the home and vehicle kits first. THAT would be the real inside scoop. This thing is great but very limited in my opinion without either dock.
My order coming from Crutchfield will include the Car Kit, but the home docks are still on backorder.

Thanks for the even handed review. People blowing their tops or creaming themselves is not what the general consumer is looking for here. Would be nice to understand more about the Wifi stream though. If for $3 a month you can upgrade the stream, I might be in for that...otherwise, I really don't use the internet streaming of Sirius.
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