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Friday, November 05, 2010

Griffin iTrip - iPhone FM Transmitter device - review (non affiliate)

GRIFFIN ITRIP REVIEW. (this is a non-affiliate review)

Now that I've moved to Buxton, the daily commute is at least an hour each way. For such long journeys, I much prefer my own music to the radio but it got a bit of a bind having to remember to swap the CD's in my car each week.

So I invested in a tiny fm transmitter device called an iTrip which plugs into the bottom of my iPhone and allows me to play my music via my car's stereo.

I'd looked at these clever devices before but always been put off by the hoard of negative comments, ranging from "too much interference to listen to the music" to "can't turn the music up loud enough to hear it" etc etc.

So it was with some trepidation that I bought mine, via Amazon (and no, I'm not an affiliate before you ask) in a bundle that came with a duel jolt usb charger (which plugs into the cars one cigarette lighter socket but provides two usb outputs - handy with the kids) and a micro usb cable to plug it in with. The whole lot came to about £37.

So, well and good it arrived a few days later and I spent a lunchtime tuning it in. The iTrip gives you 3 settings per 'tuned' frequency so you can easily switch between frequencies if you encounter interference from another local station on your journey.

Anyway, I thought i'd found a handy free station and tuned it it, looking forward to the journey home that night.

Sadly, I'd only just turned out of the driveway when the interference got so bad I switched it off and began to curse myself for buying something that so many commentators had pronounced as unfit.

But I stuck with it - pulling over into a lay-by and trying the re-tuning tips.

I hit upon a frequency which in over 6 weeks, between Derby and Buxton and even Derby and Coventry has had no local competition.

True the music isn't the loudest ever to be produced - I've had to turn my car stereo up a couple of notches above the usual radio setting but I can still hear all the rich tones of my classical as well as '80's pop playlists perfectly well.

If you've got an iTouch or iPhone, then there's a handy free app that allows you to retune via the device screen rather than use the rather fiddly buttons (in a moving vehicle) on the iTrip itself.

The Griffin power adapter and lead are faultless.

I use my Kensington Car Mount to hold the iPhone and connected iTrip when i'm driving - a slight modification, because the iTrip's buttons 'hang over' the bottom edge means you can't use the bottom 'rests' built into the car mount. You have to really pinch the holder's foam sides together to hold it all in place and fold the bottom 'shelf' out of the way. So far, the grip has been superb and on some pretty rural bumpy roads, it hasn't slipped or fell at all.

Take care though - I forgot I'd folded the 'rests' in and in the dark, just put my iPhone into the holder - where it promptly fell straight through and landed on the soft car mats (phew!). I shan't do that again.

So, all in all I'm delighted I did buy the iTrip - it does exactly what it says on the tin and aside from the slight modification to the way my car mount holds the device, and the novice tuning issue, I've had no other issues at all.

Based on my experiences, I can recommend the Griffin iTrip FM Transmitter for iPhone and in my case, the power adapter and cable it came with (sold separately).

Downside: Volume could be a little higher, button design on iTrip means you can't use most car mounts with a bottom 'ledge'.

Upside: Uninterrupted playlist music direct from your iPhone, iTrip is small and unobtrusive enough to take anywhere, easily transferred from vehicle to vehicle

Verdict: Try it, stick with it re: tuning but if you really can't get on with it, buying online should mean you can return it for a refund. Once you've used it successfully, you'll never listen to your car radio again.

To view this product on Amazon.co.uk - click here (non affiliate)

To read my previous review of the Kensington Car Mount - click here (non affiliate)

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