capsule review

Pioneer Electronics Inno

At a Glance
  • Pioneer Inno XM2go

    PCWorld Rating

The tiny Pioneer Inno squeezes a radio receiver and an MP3 player into a package that looks like a mobile phone--but it lets you listen to and record live XM Satellite Radio on the go. By letting you mix radio content with your music collection, this device could change the way you listen to music.

The 1.7-inch color screen displays the artist, song title, and channel to which you're listening. To record the current song, you just hold down the XM button at the center of the Inno's control panel.

Using the intuitive menus, you can also continuously record from one channel, or schedule a time to record. You press the Mode button to switch from live radio to your recordings. The menus let you organize your music into playlists; you also can mix recorded radio with uploaded music in one playlist.

When you run the included Napster software on your PC, it shows you the songs stored on the player and lets you upload your own tracks. In addition, you can buy tracks from Napster for 99 cents each, or buy a monthly subscription for unlimited downloads (which disappear should your subscription expire).

Audiophiles, however, may have some complaints with the Inno. In our lab tests, its audio quality was not as impressive as that of the best small MP3 players we've reviewed recently, such as the iPod Nano and the Creative Zen Nano Plus. In particular, you are likely to hear a lot of distortion at high volume.

At $400, the Inno doesn't come cheap. But this innovative device might just offer a look at the future of radio.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pros

    • XM radio receiver and an MP3 player
    • Small form factor

    Cons

    • Audio quality mediocre at high volume
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