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An S50 Test Drive

Phil Harvey
12/29/2005

8:00 AM -- The S50 will change the way you listen to the radio.

And the change comes because you won't listen to the regular radio at all after owning one of these little gems for a week or so.

Contrary to its early hype, the S50 is not an iPod killer. If you need 60 gigabytes of music and video storage at your fingertips, you need an iPod.

But if you don't need an iPod, the S50 (and a Sirius subscription) is money well spent.

Here's why: the S50 can store, sort, and replay 512 megabytes of satellite radio programs and music in addition to 512 megabytes of any music files or podcasts you add from your own collection. And the ability to have stuff you own -- and stuff you just want to hear, but do not necessarily want to own -- in a portable device is powerfully addictive.

What is also exceptional is the S50's ability to record programs on a schedule. I dock my S50 at home and leave it on all day long. I listen to Sirius music via the company's Website at work. When I get home, my S50 has around 4 hours of music and 4 hours of news, talk shows, and other programming waiting for me.

It's too much to consume and that's a great problem to have. I listen to what I want, discard what I don't, and save some stuff for later. And after a couple of days of doing this, I've completely stopped listening to my car and home radio.

If you ever suspected that you'd do a better job programming a radio station to your tastes than the folks at Clear Channel, Cumulus Media, Citadel Broadcasting, or Infinity Broadcasting -- you're probably right.

And if a telecom carrier or cable provider ever offered a service with this much good content on a device this slick and portable, they'd forget the term "customer churn" ever existed.

— Phil Harvey, Nice Devices Editor, Light Reading

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