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Griffin RoadTrip with Smartscan
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What's hot: Includes a jack to connect to AUX input and a charger/mount that can be configured to work in many cars.
What's not: Sound quality variable through FM transmitter.
Reviewed August 2009 by Jennifer Shelamer
Even if your car has an AUX input, it’s still a challenge to actually use an iPod in a car: it tends to slide across the seat or across the dash or onto the floor, and the controls can be difficult to locate while driving (especially on an iPhone or iPod Touch!).
Griffin Technology’s RoadTrip has enough flexibility to work with most cars and iPods / iPhones. It’s a one-piece mount that plugs into the car’s 12V outlet or cigarette lighter; the steel neck is flexible so you can place the iPod where you can reach it, but strong enough that it holds its position once you set it. The top of the mount has three buttons and a base for adapters (included) to match most iPods.
It’s easy to place the iPod on the mount, and it stays securely in place. The RoadTrip charges the iPod while it is in the mount, and there is a light ring on the plug that indicates the charging status: red for connected, amber for charging, and green when it is finished charging.
It also includes an FM transmitter so you can play the iPod through the car’s sound system. The FM transmitter uses Griffin’s SmartScan technology to scan all available FM frequencies and save the three clearest frequencies to the RoadTrip’s presets. It then automatically sets the RoadTrip to the best available frequency, and all you have to do is set the car’s FM radio to the frequency that is displayed on the RoadTrip.
I’ve never had much luck with FM transmitters, and this one was no different. Even under the best conditions, the sound had a lot of static; passing under power transmission lines would make the static much worse; and the quality of the sound varied greatly as I drove around town, in and out of the range of other stations that had frequencies near the one the RoadTrip was using.
However, my car has an AUX input jack, and the RoadTrip includes a jack that can be used to connect it to the car’s AUX input (cable not included). After connecting the RoadTrip to the AUX input, I found that I had the best of all worlds: the clean sound of a direct connection, with the convenience of a charger and a mount.
I also liked the big buttons at the base of the mount, with raised ridges that make them easy to find without having to look at them. These made it easy to play, pause, and skip to the next track without having to look away from the road.
Overall, this is a great solution for charging/mounting your iPod if you have an AUX input in your car. If you need to rely on the FM transmitter, you may find that the sound quality varies dramatically, but I don’t think it’s any worse than other FM transmitters I’ve used.
iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS
1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th gen. iPod Nano
1st and 2nd gen. iPod Touch
iPod Classic, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB
Web site: www.griffintechnology.com
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