Delphi SkyFi3 XM Satellite Radio Review


A Radio DVR

Ordinay FM radio just isn’t good enough anymore. We have become spoiled by our MP3 players, having instant access to gigabytes of music, so we happily listen to them instead of the lengthy commercials on “free” radio. We don’t need FM radio to find out the latest music trends that the RIAA is trying to peddle onto us, because we can find out via the Internet. Besides, even if you do find a song you like, it’s hard to find out who it is: the DJ never announces the artist, and we’ve become accustomed to devices that display the artist and song information.

The quality of FM radio is outdated, as well. New technologies like HD-radio boast CD-quality sound without any flutters, dead zones or other sound degredation associated with traditional radio. Even with upgraded sound quality, we want even more convenience. I am so used to DVRs that I wish the capability were available for radio. Imagine being able to skip back a few seconds to hear what you missed, skip through commercials, scheduling recordings, and recording a song in its entirety when you’re half-way through it.

The Delphi SkyFi3 XM radio delivers a portable XM radio that is essentially an audio DVR. You have access to literally hundreds of channels in every audio genre you can think of, and you can record, schedule, and bookmark your favorites just like the DVR in your house.


The Delphi SKYFi3 XM Satellite receiver works as both a portable player and a plug-and-play receiver. This package includes everything you need for in-car use. The car kit includes a magnetic roof-mount antenna, a cradle (where all connections are made), two mounting brackets, a DC power adapter, wireless remote control and a XM SureConnect cable. If your in-dash receiver has an auxiliary input, you can connect the SKYFi3’s cradle directly to it with an optional minijack-to-RCA cable. The SKYFi3 also features a built-in wireless FM transmitter. The SKYFi3 features a MicroSD card slot and USB connection to download MP3 and WMA files to your SKYFi3. The receiver comes supplied with the USB cable and a pair of earbud headphones. The micro SD card is sold separately.

XM Satellite Radio: XM Satellite Radio programming offers more than 170 digital radio channels including 69 channels of commercial free music, plus news, sports, talk, comedy, and other entertainment programming from coast to coast.

Backlit Display: The SKYFi3 features a large 2.8 inch LCD backlit 9-line display that allows for either vertical or horizontal orientation. The Display screen offers two modes.

  • Live XM Mode: The screen displays the following information in the Live XM mode.
    • Signal strength from 0 to 3 bars
    • Battery level and charging status
    • Listening/User mode
    • Clock
    • Direct/Favorites indicator
    • Channel Icon, Channel Name and Channel Number
    • Artist name
    • Song Title
    • Information Extras such as Stock and Sports Tickers
  • My Music Mode: The screen displays the following information in the My Music mode.
    • Available memory used and unused
    • Battery level and charging status
    • Listening/User mode
    • Clock
    • Title Bar (All Songs, Artist, Category, Channel, Session)
    • Artist name
    • Song title
    • Elapsed time
    • Song length
    • Song position

Display Appearance: When you are in the Live XM Mode you can choose between the default font size or a larger font size. The artist and title information will scroll when you are in the Large Font size mode. The LCD display will also allow you to adjust the Brightness, Contrast and Backlight Timer for both the Live XM mode and the My Music mode.

Battery: The SKYFi3 uses an integrated Lithium Ion rechargeable battery that can be charged from the supplied car kit’s vehicle power adapter or the supplied USB cable when connected to your PC. The battery should be fully charged for 3 hours before initial use.

Pause and Replay: The SKYFi3 features a 30 minute Pause-Replay function that continuously and automatically saves the last 30 minutes of music, sports, comedy or talk radio regardless of whether the user changes channels on its built-in 32 MB internal RAM. At any point during live listening, you can pause a song or program with a single press of a button and as long as playback resumes within 30 minutes, you can enjoy what you would have otherwise missed.

Internal Memory: The Delphi SKYFi3 can store up to 10 hours of XM programming on its non-removable 256 MB internal flash memory. Recordings can be started anytime during the live listening mode or by using SKYFi3’s scheduled recording feature. A subscription to XM must be maintained to listen to stored XM programming.

Removable Memory: The SKYFi3 features a MicroSD card slot that will accept up to a 2 GB MicroSD card. Using the mini-USB type-B connection on the receiver you can download MP3 and WMA files from XM+Napster from your PC onto your SKYFi3’s optional MicroSD card. You can listen to these music files with the supplied headphones, supplied car kit or optional home kit.

FM Modulator: The SKYFi3 offers a built-in FM modulator that allows you to wirelessly transmit an FM signal from the SKYFi3 to your car’s radio. This allows the broadcasting of XM radio through Car radio’s FM station. You can adjust the FM output to match your vehicle’s FM signal when the unit is docked in the car cradle.

Information Extras: The SKYFi3 features the ability to display the latest stock quotes and sports scores at the bottom of it’s LCD screen. You can track up to 20 stock symbols and see their prices and movements.

EQ: The SKYFi3 allows you to set the tone quality for the unit to match the type of music you are listening to.