Audiovox's Stylish New XM RX's

By Mike on 7:47 pm

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Audiovox recently brought out a couple new receivers for XM Satellite Radio. The great thing about satellite radio is you have a much wider choice of receivers than with satellite TV, and they don't have to be bought/rented through the service provider. I had a chance to look at the new receivers from Audiovox last weekend so lets take a look at what they offer.

The Audiovox XpressEZ is the budget model and at only $40, it's a steal. It's a plug-and-play receiver meant for car but can also be used at home. However, this is a real bargain basement receiver. It lacks an FM transmitter on board. It requires either a tape deck adapter or FM transmitter for in car use. At home, you can hard wire it with a standard 3.5mm audio jack, which is the best method to get the best sound. Controls are sparse. There are only four buttons and a dial. It holds 10 preset stations, like Audiovox's other receivers but to access the preset, you have to enter the preset menu and scan with the dial. This is a little clumsy. The dial was a nice touch though allowing you to scan channels quickly. The display is fairly small though and the silver and black might be hard to see in some lighting conditions. Previous Audiovox radios used bright blue on black. At only $40 though, it's a great way to get started with satellite radio for cheap, or to use as a second receiver where featured don't matter as much. It's stylish glossy black design reminds me of the PSP and it will look good anywhere.

Next up is the XpressR. Essentially, its an updated version of the Audiovox XR9, which is the radio I own. In fact, it's nearly identical to the XR9 in terms of functionality. It's also plug-and-play for car or home. It's design is in line with the EZ, glossy black. Features are more robust. It can store up to 30 preset channels. 10 of which can be stored to buttons on the radio itself. It has a nice big screen which is also black on gray like the EZ, as well as the dial for changing channels. This radio has two big downsides though. No built in FM transmitter and its more expensive than the XR9. When I bought the XR9, it was selling for $60 as its usual price. The XpressR costs $130. So we're paying $70 more for less features. I would avoid this radio.

The new Audiovox receivers serve up style but lack flare when compared to the previous generation. Whether audio quality has improved or not I cannot say. The EZ is a good cheap way to get into XM and I would recommend it. The XpressR should be avoided due to its high cost and lack of features compared to the XR9. Audiovox has moved the XR9 to their Jensen brand and it sells for only $30 US, same as the EZ. It's still the better buy.

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