Tuesday, October 10, 2006

SSG Review of Stiletto 100

October 10, 2006

You will likely see a few of different reviews here on SSG because more than one of us got our Stiletto’s today. Every person has their own opinion, and thus I have asked that other contributors to SSG do reviews as well.


The packaging of the Stiletto was very nice, and the components well laid out within the package. Included is the Stiletto, a standard battery, a slim battery, ear bud headphones, antenna headphones, a WIFI cable, a charging cable and software.

First things first. There still seem to be many confused about the size of the device. It is tapered top to bottom as well as front to back. The antenna bump also plays a factor. I took several measurements of the device and came to the following:

With Slim battery – approx. 5.911 cubic inches

With Standard Battery – approx 7.5985 cubic inches

I have used just about every model of satellite radio made at one point or another, and I can say with certainty that the user interface on the Stiletto is the best I have seen or used yet. Zing did an awesome job with this, and it raises expectations all around for future units. Navigation is simple and intuitive, and a user can quickly access any desire feature. Scrolling speed is controlled by the user. If you want to scroll slow, medium, fast, or any speed in between you can do so. Menus work both vertically and horizontally, and there is no doubt about what selection is highlighted. The screen resolution is spectacular, and is far and away the best resolution on any satellite radio made.

The navigation wheel (media dial), the select button, and other controls are easy to operate with 1 hand, and the controls all have a good “feel” to them. Accessing channels, genres, presets, etc. is a simple and speedy function. This aspect of the Stiletto sets it apart from the S50. Kudos to Sirius for building a relationship with ZING.

The Stiletto searched for WIFI, and I was quickly able to add my home network to the list. Once accepted, there is no further need to input my password any more. I received WIFI throughout my house. Upstairs, downstairs, in my basement as well as in my garage. Having completed a tour of my house, I went out into my yard. My property is 7 acres, and I utilize about 2 acres of it as my yard (the rest is wooded). I was able to go to every corner of my front, back, and side lawns without losing my WIFI reception. This was impressive. Having accomplished that, I began to venture down my driveway (1/4 mile long). At a bit less than 1/3 of the way down my driveway I lost the WIFI connection. That being said, the WIFI connection will serve virtually anything I am going to do on my property accept getting the mail (my mailbox is out at the main road). The WIFI connection sounded great, and I am looking forward to 128 kbs to arrive soon for the Stiletto.

The Stiletto has a built in satellite radio antenna which allows you to use any headphones you desire. Inside my house I got no reception unless I was by a window in my family room or my office. Outdoors I got good reception for most of my walk around the property. As I neared the tree line I did have a few dropouts, and on one occasion my body did cause a slight drop out. Overall the device operated smoothly, but depending on what I was doing I would likely opt for the headphone antenna if live radio was what I was going to be listening to. There are no repeaters near me so this review is based soley on satellite reception. In an area with repeaters I would imagine that the device would perform without the drop outs that I experienced at the tree line in my yard.

I had seen reports that some felt the antenna headphones hurt in the ears. I did not find this to be the case at all. The antenna headphones are fully adjustable, and I would find it difficult to believe that anyone would find these headphones uncomfortable. Personally I think they feel better than ear-bud type headphones. Once again I toured my property, and did not have any dropouts whatsoever. The antenna headphones sounded fine, and performed the function as designed.

I would have liked to see some ability to control bass, and treble on the device.

The lack of a clip (this will be available soon) will have some wondering where to store the device at this point. That being said, I have been informed by TSS Radio that other Stiletto components are working their way into the supply pipeline.

The headphone jack at the base of the unit seems odd at first, but really did not impact the use of the device.

The “moving” background effects are nice, and give the screen a feeling of depth.

The screen size and resolution make this device very attractive.

I have not put the batteries to the time test yet. I would imagine that the two hour life of the slim battery in satellite mode can be improved by toning down the brightness on the display as well as bringing the backlight timer to 2 seconds instead of the factory default 10 seconds (users have several options here). The Standard battery is not obtrusive, and I would keep it as a spare. Personally, I doubt that I would have much use for anything beyond what the slim batter offers for most circumstances seeing that the unit charges when in a car dock, home dock, or boom-box. At my home, the WIFI option doubles the two hour battery life anyway.

Although it is not available yet (coming very soon), I like the idea that Sirius has in putting numerical controls on the car dock. They really thought this through. The car dock even has an ergonomic place/rest your fingers so that you can operate the media dial if you choose to do so. It is a bit hard to explain, but once you get a car dock you will see what I am referring to.

I would say that this is Sirius’ best device offering to date, and that the capabilities of the device make it very appealing. I would not hesitate to recommending this device to friends.

SSG readers can pick up a Stiletto from TSS Radio. These guys have customer service that is second to none. If you have not done so, you should consider reserving vehicle and home kits as well as cases. If you have questions regarding the Stiletto, the folks at TSS Radio know the unit very well.

10/10/2006 11:08:00 PM

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