Review: Griffin iTrip Auto

Inobtrusive FM Transmitter for most iPods (September 28th, 2006)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Griffin Technology

Price: $69.99 US

The Good

  • Includes a fuse. Large display. Inobtrusive. One piece. Works with 3rd generation iPod, plus newest ones.

The Bad

  • Loses reception sporadically. Priced too high.

FM Transmitters represent one aspect of the iPod market that still cannot transcend the differences in our car radios and radio markets. While one product works great in a Saturn, the same product might not work at all in a Dodge. The added problem of radio reception across the country compounds the problem.

Transmits in Hard Markets

The Griffin iTrip Auto FM Transmitter and Charger does an admirable job in my difficult Neon RT and the Boston radio market. While most transmitters give me feedback and noise, the Griffin does a good job of delivering my iPod music. It works even if there is a faint signal on a station.

Carries a Fuse

This version of the iTrip is smaller than many transmitters, but packs a good punch with its built-in antenna and backlit display. It includes only two buttons, one to switch stations and another to select the station. The power plug is small, so no ugly ends stick out of your 12V cigarette lighter. It also includes its own fuse, ostensibly to prevent you blowing your car lighter fuse. Unfortunately, it did not help me, my car fuse still blew. Then again, almost every transmitter I have used has blown my car lighter fuse, so I will not blame the iTrip Auto.

Minor Annoyances

I only had a couple of problems when using the iTrip Auto. First, the station display is not bright enough in some situations. Second, it has an annoying and sometimes startling habit of losing the station, blaring out rude static noise when I travel across radio markets. The iPod music does come back usually, but the intermittent static was almost disruptive to my driving. Thankfully, you do not have to fumble with your iPod to control the volume, so a quick spin or push of your radio button reduces the volume if the static takes over.

The iTrip is compatible with iPods with dock connectors, including the third generation, and is definitely less cumbersome than other products, weighing in at only .6oz. It is pricey, at $69.99, when compared to the XtremeMac AirPlay², a $49.95 product I think is its closet competitor. I suppose the built-in cord is worth paying a bit more, because there are fewer cords to fumble with, but that is a matter of debate.

While I wanted to love this product, because I like Griffin as a company, I have to admit that it was not quite up to the challenge my car presents FM transmitters. I use it often, but not when I am traveling across radio markets. I took off 1/2 star in the rating because of its price.

by ilene hoffman, Reviews Editor


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