updated 11:55 pm EDT, Thu August 14, 2008
i-Kit, iPod FM transmitter
If you have a portable digital music player like an iPod or iPhone, you can take your music everywhere you go. Unfortunately, the only place where you often can't listen to your music on these players is in your own car, where earphones can be a safety hazard. While some of the newer cars offer built-in ports for plugging in an iPod or cellular phone, many older cars lack this feature, requiring a new car stereo to link directly to the sound system. For these older cars, you can still listen to your iPod music with the help of the i-Kit from MediaGate.
This accessory plugs into any car's cigarette lighter while the other end plugs directly into any digital music player. If you have an iPod, you can plug it directly into its built-in cable, but if you have a non-iPod device, such as a Zune or cellular phone, you'll need to use the included audio cable to connect it through its headphone jack.
Once plugged in, the device lets you select a frequency from 88.1 to 107.9MHz, essentially transmitting the music stored on your digital music player into the FM air waves where your car radio can pick it up and play it.
The drawback with this approach is that you may need to experiment with choosing different frequencies until you find an unused one in your area. Sometimes radio signals from FM radio stations can interfere with your iPod music broadcast. As a result of this interference, the audio quality can range from crackling with static to crystal clear through no fault of the product itself.
Many similar FM transmitters also provide a flexible goose-pipe that holds your iPod in the air. By twisting this goose-pipe, you can position the iPod for the most convenient location for you.
Unlike rival products that simply provide a plug for an iPod, this device holds your iPod through its plug and within a silicon gel grip that securely holds an iPod in place while protecting an iPod's case from scratches. Adjustable side clamps allows the device to hold different size iPods from the skinny iPod Nano to the much wider iPhone or classic iPod.
A silicon gel clamp holds an iPod securely in place
Listening to music, broadcast through your car's speakers, can be fun, but iPhone users can also use this accessory as a hands-free option. Just plug an iPhone in and when you receive a call, your music will pause so you can answer the incoming call. Now you'll be able to hear the caller's voice through your car speakers while transmitting your own voice by speaking loud enough for the iPhone's microphone to pick up. Since driving and talking while cradling your cellular phone to your ear is now illegal in many areas, this accessory gives you the ability to use your iPhone without breaking the law or endangering others in the process.
If you like the idea of listening to your digital music when you drive, spending $59.95 for the i-Kit will be worth hearing your favorite music through your car's speakers. If you can tolerate occasional interference and less than crystal-clear audio quality due to the nature of FM transmission, the i-Kit may be the car audio accessory for your digital music player. With the ability to work with any car and any digital music device, the i-Kit can help you truly take your music everywhere.