The iPod accessory market is a fast growing market, with literally millions buying add on accessories such as iPod players and FM tuners. So when it came to testing the Belkin FM tuner offering Vs the Griffin FM tuner offering, there was only one winner.
In a recent test we found that the Belkin were a dismal failure, with their Tune Cast and their Tune Base offerings failing constantly during a trip between Cooma and Sydney. Around Sydney and near major cities like Canberra the devices struggled to hold an FM channel and when one did have a channel, the sound was poor due to interference.
At first we thought the problem may have been down to the weather, as the trip down to Cooma was wet and overcast. However the trip back was in bright sunlight wih clear skies and in both cases the performance was very poor.
The failure of these Belkin devices was not surprising as earlier models offered by the company who are as much into bags, wireless modems, and power protection, as they are into iPod accessories, also failed to hold an FM channel for the playing of sound from an iPod device.
As an organisation that is constantly testing products we have been well aware of the problems associated with FM tuners for iPods, so with this in mind we were really surprised by the performance of the Griffin iTripAuto and RoadTrip tuners for iPods. Incorporating Smartscan Technology, the FM stereo tuners worked instantly even in North Sydney where almost anything to do with FM tuning fails.
The first thing you’ll notice when you get your hands on the RoadTrip is that it is neatly packaged and unlike a lot of other packaging for iPod accessories one does not need a chainsaw to open it.
The RoadTrip, as the name implies is an FM Transmitter for your iPod that combines the best of several previous devices I have tested. Firstly it is powered by the car and not a battery and unlike several other FM tuners that come with preset FM stations, with this device one can scroll to a free station which is useful if you are on a long trip and approaching a large city.
By being able to plug it into your car for its charge one gets a signal boost, and you have the full gamut of available channels to choose from via an integrated and easy to use tuner.
This is invaluable if the bulk of your driving is around metropolitan cities like Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, The best part of this gear is that there is no need to deal with multiple MP3 tuning codes and separate iTrip-excluding playlists.
The RoadTrip is also superior to the Belkin offerings in the way it holds your iPod, iPod nano, or iPod mini. It’s not only an FM transmitter and power adapter, but it’s good looking device that is practical and highly functional. This makes it easier to view and control.
An added bonus is that if you have a new video-capable iPod and you’ve been thinking about buying an in-car DVD player, why not just plug one of these devices and you can view the screen with most cars having a power supply in both the rear and the front.
The RoadTrip transmits video audio just as well as music and does a nice job of holding the iPod’s screen in place for easy viewing.
Overall this is a very impressive product.