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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 01-07-2007, 11:35 PM   #1
snakester
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Default Stiletto 10 Review

(Note: I left my digicam out in my car tonight, I'll take some pics tomorrow and put them up in a day or two)

I decided to take the plunge and get myself a Stiletto 10. It's a great little radio, that does everything it advertises really well. HOWEVER, there are a few things about it that may be causing me to bring it back for a Stiletto 100, one of these things REALLY pisses me off.

Opening the box:

I went to Radio Shack a few days ago and bought the Stiletto 10 and the home dock. The packaging is very pretty; you'd definately have no problem finding it in the store. Inside the box, there's a little plastic thing with the Stiletto on it and a compartment underneath it (it's really hard to explain). In that compartment is the antenna headphones, the earbuds, the earbud covers (pieces of foam that make the earbuds more comfortable), the big battery, the slim battery, a USB cable, and a power adaptor. I BELIEVE it may have came with a miniplug to miniplug adaptor or a RCA cable, but I'm NOT 100% ON THAT. I'll check tomorrow. Also in the box, UNDERNEATH everything, is a little packet with the MSS software CD, a channel guide, and the manual. Sirius REALLY didn't skimp on the accessories for this one.

Plugging in, turning on:
I put the big battery into the radio, set it in the home dock. I had an antenna run outside from a previous radio installation, so I didn't have to do it again. The battery showed a 50% charge from the factory, like most electronic devices with a Li-Ion battery.

When you first turn the radio on, you are greeted with them main menu. The options are Satellite Radio, Library, Radio Replays, Recording and Settings. I went into Satellite Radio, and recieved 184 okay, so I start the activation process.

I go online to activate the radio, but there is NO OPTION online to activate a new radio on a MONTHLY basis. My only option was quarterly. So I took a deep breath and called Sirius. I got someone who spoke English very well. I gave him the SID, made sure he added it on the monthly plan, and the radio activated within 1 minute of him telling me he send the signal.

Oddly enough, the radio didn't say "subscription updated", so I had no clue how long it took to activate. I just turned the scroll wheel and the channels were there. My first impressions were VERY good, I was going through all the channels, looking at the channel logos, and overall was very impressed by the screen quality.

Sound quality seemed good, but the FM Mod SUCKS on this thing. I had to wrap the little "tail" antenna on my iPod alarm clock around the home dock to even get a signal, even though the radio is sitting right next to it, and on top of that, if I plug a battery into the rear charger port, it seems to cause just enough interference to introduce static to the signal if I even touch the radio.

The radio seems to be built pretty well. there's no "give" if you squeeze it, and the plastic is nice and solid. The only thing that kind of worries me is the scroll wheel. I don't know what it is, it just feels kind of cheap. Maybe it's just because I've never had a device with a mechanical scroll wheel before.


Using the radio:

The radio has a slick, although slightly laggy at times, user interface. It has a scroll wheel, which you spin to scroll through menus and channel lists. You can also click up, down, left, and right on the scroll wheel for different functions. Up is play/pause, right is fast forward/skip ahead/channel category forward, left is rewind/skip back/channel category backwards, and down is record. There are also four buttons around the scroll wheel, labeled Back, Home, Options, and Display.

The current channel display shows the channel logo in the upper right corner, the channel number in the upper left channel, the info display in the middle of the screen, and the signal meter and battery life at the bottom. No clock though. A bar appears right above the signal and battery meters if you rewind, and it shows you how far behind the satellite signal you are if you're listening live, or how far you're into a recorded program if you're listening to a recording. The info display shows the Artist and Song, with the artist alternating to the Composer field every 10 seconds or so. It's not as annoying as you might think, though.

Rotate the scroll wheel and you see a list of channels in the category that the channel you are currently listening to is in. The default display mode shows 3 channels, showing the channel name, channel number, artist and song title. By hitting the display button, this can be changed to show one line of information for 6 channels at once, switching between Artist, Song Title, and Channel Name. if you click Left and Right on the scroll wheel, you switch categories of channels. The radio also has 3 banks of presets, with 10 channels each.

As you scroll through the channels, if you let the selector rest on one channel momentarily, you'll hear a voice announce the channel name. Neat idea in concept, but someone didn't pay attention to the volume levels for each of them (the Howard 100 and Howard 101 voice tags are REALLY LOUD compared to the rest of them) so I had to shut them off.

The radio features artist and song alert, a feature I know was left out of the Stiletto 100. If you hit the Option button while listening, a screen will pop up asking you if you want to add the station to a preset, or set an artist and song alert. I added a few for testing purposes, and when a song or artist on the list comes on, an audible tone is heard, and the radio pops up with an alert. You hit the center button, and the radio brings you to the channel that the song is on.

Radio also has a Game Alert feature. You go into the settings menu and specify your favorite teams. You get an alert when your team starts playing, and score updates throughout the game in the form of popups when scores are made in the game.


Reception:
I took a walk with the radio with the antenna headphones on and the reception was a lot better than I thought it would be. The radio showed a constant 1 bar signal, but I never had a dropout unless I walked directly under trees or other coverings. I was expecting a lot worse, especially seeing as the area I live in has ZERO terrestrial coverage.

The only thing that kinda surprised me was I went on a 45min walk with the slim battery and when I got home the battery life was down to 2 bars out of 4. I remembered reading somewhere it only lasted 2hrs, but I didn't realize how short of a time 2 hours was I guess.

I didn't get a chance to test out the built in antenna.

Recording:
This is where my problems lie. For one, Sirius decided not to include the LOVE feature in this radio. The heart on the Stiletto 100 is replaced by a record circle on this radio. Of course, the radio packaging doesn't explicitly say that you can't record individual songs, which is the one thing that is making me SERIOUSLY CONSIDER RETURNING the radio.

Recording is simple enough, you go to the main menu and select "Recording". Click Setup Recording, and the radio will ask you what channel, what date, what time, for how long, and if the recording should repeat. You can set recordings to repeat once a week, every mon-friday, every day, and weekends. There's a 6 hour limit to each single recording, but you can get around that by making a new recording session.

The one thing you'll start to notice when you start recording things is that 10 hours seems like a lot less time than you thought it would be, ESPECIALLY if you listen to a lot of talk. I'm already up to 85% memory, and it really feels liek I haven't recorded much.

Radio Replays:
The radio will start recording a channel if you listen to it for more than 15 minutes. This is called a Radio Replay. It will NOT interfere with your other recordings, and only records in free memory, so if another recording is made, the radio replays will be deleted before your other recorded content in your library is.

The idea is great in concept, but with the 10 hours of recording time, the replays are gone almost as soon as they are made, making this feature rather useless.

Strange quirks:
There are a few weird things that occur with this radio, and from what I've heard, the Stiletto 100 too. The first one I noticed when I took the radio on the walk with me is that after a couple of minutes of not touching the radio, the backlight shuts completely off, BUT SO DOES THE DISPLAY. You can't see what song is on without hitting a button and bringing the backlight back on.

Another thing is when I got home and plugged it into the home dock, I noticed that the display automatically dims down to 50% after the time you have set in "Backlight Timer" elapses without pressing a button. I figure that if the radio has constant power, why would the display need to dim? It's only a battery saving measure, so why should it have to worry when battery power is not a problem?

I also had it freeze on me twice. Once, I was listening to content in the Radio Replays section, and I went to look at what was on live satellite. The audio output starts stuttering like crazy, and the radio doesn't respond to my button presses. I had to hold the power switch down to do a hard reset, and when it came back on it was fine. The second time I was changing the volume level while I was out on a walk, and the speaker icon got stuck on teh screen adn wouldn't allow me to adjust the volume. I had to pull the battery to fix it.

I also remember it telling me once that I needed to subscribe to listen to my library once, but I pulled the battery and it realized all was well.

I haven't had ANY problems with it for all of today though, and the problems I had were no big deal, and the freezeups happened only once each.

Conclusion:
The Stiletto 10 is a great radio for those who want just portable live satellite radio, however for me, the 10 hours just isn't enough record time and not having the ability to record single songs, which would be the best use of the 10 hours, is strangely missing.

I'm going to keep it for a week or two more, and then decide if I want to return it. I'm not 100% sure yet. Like I said, great radio, just MIGHT not work for me.
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Old 01-07-2007, 11:55 PM   #2
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Wow what a fantastic detailed review for the S10. I have to say my you've confirmed my red flags with the limited recording space. I use the 2 gigs of the S100 for 800MB of WMA's and Radio Replays, along with recording programmings. I always have at least 30 hours or more of Radio Replays. Plus Wifi.. I use it daily.

I think you'll end up bringing it back, because in the long run the limited space will just not cut it.

You did indeed in your review answer a lot of questions I had about the S10.

Thanks very much!
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Old 01-08-2007, 03:36 PM   #3
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Go for the swap. You will be much happier with the additional space. The wifi makes it nice for wandering around inside.

Just 1 question, how is the outdoor reception compared to the inno?
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Old 01-08-2007, 04:50 PM   #4
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The outdoor reception WITH the antenna headphones is better than the inno with Just the inno antenna.

I really can't say too much, as I didn't test the Stiletto with just it's antenna, and I don't have antenna headphones for the inno, so take waht I say with a grain of salt :|.
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:35 PM   #5
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Nice review. I too have the 10 and had some of the same catches. But after a while I like having to clear off and put fresh recordings on there mainly for my wife to listen to on the treadmill. If all chanels were on wifi I probably would have switched, but overall I am very pleased with my SL10.
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Old 01-14-2007, 04:28 AM   #6
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I got a question about the My Sirius Studio software...do I need to be "online" in order to use the MSS? Can I just load the program and plug in my stiletto10 and receive an update? I have version 1.2 not sureif this matters..my sl10 is currently running...zap..1.0.1.18261r.....thanks..
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Old 01-14-2007, 04:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siriusurfer
I got a question about the My Sirius Studio software...do I need to be "online" in order to use the MSS? Can I just load the program and plug in my stiletto10 and receive an update? I have version 1.2 not sureif this matters..my sl10 is currently running...zap..1.0.1.18261r.....thanks..
Yes, you must be connected to the Internet as that is how it would download the updated ZAP version. It appears you currently have the latest version.

But basically you load the program, plug your stiletto in via USB, then while connected to the Internet, check to see if an update is available, by going to Device Setting in MSS.
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Old 01-14-2007, 04:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAB
Yes, you must be connected to the Internet as that is how it would download the updated ZAP version. It appears you currently have the latest version.

But basically you load the program, plug your stiletto in via USB, then while connected to the Internet, check to see if an update is available, by going to Device Setting in MSS.
Thanks DAB, I wasn't sure if the updates were on the disc or needed internet access...I got one mre quick off topic question...I'm not very good with computers so forgive the basic question...if someone close to my location has wifi can I go to Radio Shack and get one of those signal thingys attach to my pc and receive internet that way or do I need more?, sorry for the off topic/newbie question...thanks
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Old 01-14-2007, 05:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siriusurfer
if someone close to my location has wifi can I go to Radio Shack and get one of those signal thingys attach to my pc and receive internet that way or do I need more?, sorry for the off topic/newbie question...thanks
Yes, if someone nearby you has Wifi and you are close enough to receive the signal, you can setup your computer with a Wifi adapter to receive it. Just make sure what type or wireless access point or router b/g that it is, so that you can make sure you get the right card. Linksys makes a really nice USB wireless adapter that you just install the software and then plug it into one of your USB ports. If this person's wireless is open, then it should connect with no problem. If it requires a password, you'll need to get that information.
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