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Delphi XpressRC

>> Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Out of the box, Delphi's XpressRC looks unexceptional. Like many other XM satellite radio receivers, it has 10 preset buttons, a five way control knob, and all the accessories you'll need to install it in your car. It wasn't until we powered up this $169.99 unit that we noticed the XpressRC's real draw for channel hoppers. Other receivers only display information for the station currently playing, but the XpressRC shows artist, track, and channel information for three additional stations, neatly displayed on a column on the right side of its screen.

Given that unique ability, it's no wonder Delphi fitted the XpressRC with a razor sharp color display.

Onscreen text jumps out at you, whether you're viewing it in complete darkness or in bright daylight.

With a twist and push of the knob, you can easily browse and tune into other programming.

The knob, which makes an audible click whenever you rotate it, is very responsive. We weren't always successful pressing the knob to confirm a selection, however, especially while driving. We'd either press it to the side by accident or not apply enough pressure. The XpressRC can store up to 10 of your favorite songs, and, thanks to a 60 minutes buffer, lets you pause and replay live radio. We paired the receiver with Delphi's Premium Sound System, a $149 dock that lets you take the receiver into your home.

The dock delivered very clear and strong audio adequate to fill a large room, if not quite powerful enough to rival the output of a full fledged stereo system. For casual purposes, the dock is more than sufficient, although at low levels its speakers emitted an audible hiss, which at times muffled the music we were listening to. Overall, the XpressRC has more pros than it does cons. Whether you're looking to upgrade to a new receiver or you're dipping your feet into satellite radio for the first time, it's the best XM receiver you can get for your dollar.

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