As more and more of everyday life becomes predicated on our connection to the digital world, the chances we will be targeted or vulnerable to cyber-attacks has also risen
Belkin Australia TuneCast Auto Universal
- Powered by the car lighter, universal for any MP3 player, slim
- Can't take batteries, won't charge your MP3 player, not automatic
Although it's a simple device, it's quite a handy one to have if you're on the road a lot and need to have your music on hand.
Price$ 89.95 (AUD)
Belkin's TuneCast Auto Universal finally throws a bone to those of us not swept up by the iPod era. Not only is it an effective way of playing music from an MP3 player through a car stereo – or any radio receiver for that matter – but it uses a 3.5mm headphone-style jack to make the connection, rather than a proprietary connection.
For those who aren't familiar with the technology, FM tuners essentially broadcast an FM radio signal on the frequency you've selected. You then select the same station on your car's radio and off you go. In this case, the TuneCast can broadcast on frequencies ranging from 88.1MHz-107.9MHz. It's only a weak transmitter, so it generally reaches as far as a car's aerial and no further, though you might pick it up in an adjacent car if you were unlucky. For it to work correctly it's necessary to pick a station that's clear, or rather, isn't already being broadcast on.
Although it's possible to find stations that are mostly quiet, in areas like Sydney, it's difficult to ensure a consistently clear station, as most are either in use, or close enough to an in-use station to pick up part of the signal. It's not a perfect alternative for a direct cable link, but most cars don't have that as a feature, so it's the best replacement we've got available.
The TuneCast Auto Universal consists of a few basic parts. Two cables dangle down from the main control hub like tendrils on a jellyfish. The first part is a 3.5mm connection that plugs directly into the headphone port on the player; 3.5mm plugs are an almost universal standard for portable music devices. It shouldn't matter whether you have a Creative Zen, Toshiba Gigabeat, Microsoft Zune, or an iPod, the 3.5mm jack should fit your device.
Also hanging down in a tentacle-like manner is the power adapter, which connects to a 12V in-car cigarette lighter socket. The upside of this device is you can play music for as long as the car is on and the MP3 player has power allowing it to be slimmer from the lack of batteries. The down side is that you can't use batteries, even if you want to. If the car you're in doesn't have a working cigarette lighter socket you're out of luck. Also, unlike the iPod proprietary connection on the Belkin TuneCast Auto iPod the 3.5mm connection cannot charge the device, so you're relying solely on battery power.
The last part of this device is the control hub. This is the brain of the TuneCast Auto. It's a simple system with a few basic controls that cover all you're going to need. There are two presets, an essential feature that saves you the trouble of memorising a clear frequency, and a set of scan-up and scan-down buttons to search for clear frequencies you can broadcast on.
The product's name is a little misleading; it's not automatic in any way. If you want automatic you're going to need to track down a Belkin ClearScan product that finds a clear channel for you.
The only other thing that you'll get with the TuneCast Auto Universal is an adhesive pad to stick it to your dashboard, should you choose to do so.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 ASUS FX503 review: An ROG Notebook By Any Other Name
- 2 HP Envy x360 (Ryzen 5) review: Power over portability
- 3 Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- 4 Oppo R11s review: The iClone you know and love, but not quite the one you deserve
- 5 Blackberry KEYone Black Edition review: What the original KEYone should have been
Latest News Articles
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
- Sony shows latest high-end Walkman
- Sydney Airport lost property auction: you'll be amazed at what some people left behind
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
- Frostpunk review: A richly conceived and vividly realised city sim
- Netgear Arlo Go review: An expensive but comprehensive home security solution
- Fitbit Versa review: New look, better price, same limits
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?