Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Griffin iTrip Auto with SmartScan
Convenient and easy-to-use FM transmitter
- Reasonable sound quality, works with iPhone, three-stage light ring, SmartScan technology
- Design means messy cabling, patchy sound in CBD areas
The iTrip Auto doesn't feature the flexible steel neck design of its RoadTrip counterpart, but its compatibility with the iPhone and the three-stage light ring indicator are attractive features.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
Although its operation is almost identical to its big brother, the RoadTrip with SmartScan, the Griffin iTrip Auto features a slightly different design. The iTrip consists of a simple wire that connects from your iPod to the cigarette lighter, rather than a flexible steel neck. Although we prefer the RoadTrip's design, the iTrip Auto has the added convenience of working with the iPhone.
FM transmitters don't offer the best sound quality, but they are popular because they are relatively inexpensive and easy of use. The iTrip allows you to power, charge and listen to your iPod in the car. It connects through a standard cigarette lighter socket, and the design means it can rest in a number of convenient locations. For example, the cable is long enough to store your iPod in the centre console or glove box. Our only complaint with the design is that it tends to leave your car looking messy.
Perhaps the best aspect of the design is the three-stage light ring on the cigarette lighter socket. A red LED indicates that the iTrip is connected to the car, but not to your iPod; an amber LED indicated that the iTrip is charging your iPod and providing power to the FM transmitter; and a green LED means your iPod is fully charged. Having the convenience of knowing when your iPod is charged is a nice touch, as it means you can use the iTrip as a car charger even when not listening to music.
The iTrip has just three buttons on the unit, which correspond to what is shown just above them on the display. The display itself is very small, but bright and easy to read, especially at night. Using this unit couldn't be easier — the SmartScan feature is activated by pressing function and then scan. This takes about 20sec to store three of the clearest FM frequencies. You can then select one of these and tune your car stereo to it. SmartScan is particularly convenient on long trips — if the frequency starts to drop out as you are driving you can simply search for three new frequencies again. You can also tune the iTrip manually and can store up to three of your own frequencies.
Sound quality is nothing to write home about, but the iTrip does a solid job. For optimal quality you can adjust the sound function between stereo and mono modes. The latter is ideal for podcasts and audiobooks. Stereo mode is more suited to music (although we found this setting worked fine for all of our content). We received better results using the iTrip in the suburbs rather than the CBD.
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