Now a fully merged entity in Canada, SiriusXM has finally brought a product to market here that offers the best of both Sirius and XM with a whole new interface to show it off. But it’s the recording and Internet Radio features that are more intriguing, particularly because they change when and how you listen to your favourite programs.
- $299.99 with car kit
- $79.99 for home kit
- $15.99 per month for basic subscription
- $4.00 extra per month for Premier
- $4.00 extra per month for Internet Radio
- Available at: SiriusXM.ca, Future Shop, Best Buy, The Source, independent 12V retailers
The Lynx is by far the deepest hardware SiriusXM has made. The 3.5-inch touchscreen is vibrant, at least until your fingerprints smudge its veneer. The menu system has been overhauled to take advantage of the touch input, and there is a tutorial you can enable from the settings to help you understand what the features do.
Despite the merger, you’re treated as either a Sirius or XM subscriber, which means you won’t have the exclusive channels offered by the other unless you pay an extra $4 per month for a Premier package. Adding the Internet Radio features also adds a further $4 to the monthly bill, though it does enhance the experience.
With revamped iOS and Android apps, the idea is to be able to listen live or to recorded shows at a later time over Wi-Fi or 3G, and even offline. The catch is that music channels aren’t included because of licensing restrictions. Only when the Lynx is in Satellite mode can you record and listen to them later. You can, however, scrub through music or shows on the fly as far back as eight hours in Satellite mode and five hours in Internet mode.
The five presets lining the bottom of the playback screen [you can have 25 presets, but only the five visible onscreen actually record] are always recording in a loop, so you can tap the replay button to the left and see a list of songs or shows over that span. Picking one will start it at the beginning no matter how far it’s progressed, something SiriusXM calls TuneStart. Or you can opt to go live using the button on the right.
As slick as all this is, the menu system requires too much attention while driving. On the other hand, you can record a number of your favourite shows while you’re at work and then listen to them on your commute, or even at home. The Lynx not only has Wi-Fi, but also Bluetooth for audio streaming and a 3.5-mm headphone jack for auxiliary connections. Plus, there’s a micro SD card behind the battery in the back panel that can be used to play songs stored on the card (MP3, AAC or AAC+ formats).
The Internet Radio part is great for the extras it provides, including listening at home and through the mobile apps, but it’s a bit misleading because it’s not “Internet Radio” in the traditional sense, where you can stream radio stations from across the world, like TuneIn, for example.
Despite that, the combination of features changes how you listen to satellite radio content in and out of the car. It’s just that getting the full experience to do that requires paying more than $20 per month, a price tag that might be too high for some.