Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Stiletto and Inno Head to Head Part 1
October 31, 2006
I have seen reviews of the Sirius Stiletto and the Pioneer Inno, but have yet to see a detailed head to head comparison. With that in mind I decided to put these units through their paces.
I would like to express that both the inno and the Stiletto are very nice and very capable devices. If you are an XM fan, then the Inno will serve you very well. Likewise for the Stiletto if you are a Sirius fan. Personally, I do not find myself needing the wearable function very often. Most of my listening is done in the car.
Additionally, many aspects of reviews are subject to opinion. What I may find nice, someone else will dislike. I will make every effort to be objective in the reviews and comments.
This review will take a few evenings, and results each day will be posted. Results that I experience will not be typical across the country. I live in the northeast, and the nearest satellite radio repeater (Sirius or XM) is over 50 miles away from me.SIZE
These units are both very portable, and both can easily be carried or worn by a user. The Inno smaller and thinner, but is a bit wider. Both units weigh 4.7 ounces. The Inno is actually 1 gram lighter, coming in at 132 grams as compared to 133 grams for the Stilleto.
The edge in this category would go to the Inno specifically for the thickness of the unit. Because it is a bit slimmer, it can more easily be stowed away by the user.FIT AND FINISH
Both the Inno and the Stiletto feel like quality built units. For this category, the Stiletto wins out for a few obvious reasons. The volume control and the power button on the Stiletto look nicer with a chrome finish, and sleeker design. The Inno volume and power controls are black plastic.
The sleek black look of the Stiletto is also sharper than the brushed aluminum look of the Inno. Additionally, the brushed aluminum plate does not fit into the face of the device flushly. This leaves an edge that while not sharp, is obvious to the touch. Ironically this condition exists on the left and right face, but not the bottom of the face. On the plus side for the Inno, the brushed
aluminum is not as susceptible to fingerprints as the Stiletto
The antenna comparison is also quite obvious. The Inno sports an antenna that is quite obvious, and sticks out of the top of the unit. The stiletto design, while it is clear that it is an antenna, blends into the unit much more nicely. The designers of the stiletto
incorporated the antenna into the desin, while the inno design appears much more "walkie-talkie" like and utilitarian
The Stiletto looks modern and contemporary and the Inno looks more classical and sturdy.SCREENS
This category is clearly in the camp of the Stiletto. The Stiletto screen is much larger than that of the Inno. In addition, the screen resolution is far better on the Stiletto. It is like comparing a standard television to an HD television, or for video game buffs, Atari vs. X-Box. With the Inno you can clearly see the dots that make up the graphics. With the Stiletto, the graphics are much more smooth and detailed. The combination of a bigger screen and better resolution make reading the Stiletto much easier than reading the Inno.
When navigating with these screens, I found it much easier to read the Stilettos screen. I do like the color logos that the Inno shows in channel menus. I find it ironic that the Inno displays 4 channels on a smaller screen while the Stiletto shows 3.
The flipping screen from vertical to horizontal for the Inno is a pretty cool feature. It would have been better if the home and car kits allowed the device to be mounted in either direction. Personally, I like the vertical mounting option in my car, but the ability to have a choice would be a pretty cool feature.NAVIGATION AND INTERFACE
Both the Stiletto and the Inno are easy to navigate, but I would give the edge to the Stiletto and the Zing interface. The Inno uses four directional buttons with a central select button. The Stiletto uses a media dial which is double duty in that it also has directional buttons and a central select button. With the Stiletto, you control how fast you scroll buy the speed at which you spin your thumb. With the Inno, there are two speeds unless you click real fast.
I like the fact that the Inno has your presets as a category when scrolling through genres. With the Stiletto, you need to take what I would consider an additional step to get to presets. Getting to various components and options with the Stiletto is easier and faster than with the Inno. The Zing interface is quite impressive.RECEPTION IN THE HOUSE WITHOUT HEADPHONE ANTENNA
This one is real simple. Neither the Inno or the Stiletto work in live mode inside my house. There are two areas where I can get both devices to work, but they are next to windows.
Next I hooked the devices up to a home kit indoors with an antenna. With both devices, I was able to obtain a signal in my family room with the antenna placed on to of my entertainment center. Reception was better if I place the antenna near a window. The Inno seemed to get more “bars” than did the stiletto, but being a digital signal, 1 bar is all you need. An antenna placed outside provided great reception for both.
Indoor reception is where the WIFI option stands out. I get perfect reception throughout my house, and in my main yard in WIFI mode. This gives me the option of using the Stiletto as a wearable device within my home. I can not do this with the Inno. I do happen to be a Direct TV subscriber, so I can get XM indoors with relative ease, but this review is about the Stiletto and Inno, and thus for my use, the Stiletto wins in this category due to the WIFI function. One item to note is that you need a wireless network to use this function.WALKING OUTDOORS WITH STANDARD ANTENNA
Again, I want to stress that I do not live near any repeaters, and that different locations in the country will produce different results.
For this test, I used one unit at a time and held the device at chest height and about 8 inches away from my body. I walked to the end of my driveway and back to the house (a bit over ½ mile). I should also make it clear that my property is wooded and the driveway is tree lined. I addition, being on the coast, I live only slightly above sea level.
In the standard ear-bud headphone configuration for the walk to my mailbox, neither device was impressive.
First I used the Inno. On the walk out, the longest I could keep reception was 20 seconds, and there were a couple of occasions where I had no sound at all for 15 seconds at a time. On the walk back, there was marked improvement. I was able to keep reception for longer periods of time, and drop outs were much shorter.
Next, I used the Stiletto. On the walk out, the experience was slightly better than the Inno, because the drop outs were about half as long, and I was able to get more periods of longer reception. On the walk back, the Stiletto’s drop outs were much more pronounced, and there was one period of at lest 25 seconds without a signal.
In the driveway walk test, I would give the edge to the Inno, but neither performance was anything to be thrilled about. To be fair to the devices, I feel compelled to remind readers that my driveway is tree lined and next to the water at virtually sea level. There is a reason that people recommend the use of the headphone antennas.
This head to head comparison will continue with use near Boston where repeaters are present, an additional walking test, a test with antenna headphones, recoding capabilities, organizing of playlists, etc. Should you have any questions feel free to drop an e-mail to email@example.com
10/31/2006 12:44:00 AM
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