Review: PodFreq FM transmitter

Good FM Transmitter, but bulky (June 27th, 2006)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: sonnet technologies, inc.

Price: $99.95 US

The Good

  • Excellent sound. Wide range. Easy to use. Can serve as dock.

The Bad

  • Bulky. Expensive. Canít use with iPod cases. No vehicle mount.

If you're looking for a way to play your iPod content through a home FM system, the PodFreq is an easy way to do it. It's certainly more cost-effective than an iPod Hi-Fi or one of the Bose systems. The PodFreq also beats buying a specially equipped BMW or Honda, because it plugs into your car lighter. The sound is better than most of its competitors too. The PodFreq encloses the iPod, which means it's much larger than the average FM transmitter, but affords some protection for your player. It comes with a car cradle and charger, but a car mount costs extra.

Updated for all iPods

The PodFreq works with Apple iPods with a dock connector, and includes spacers for an iPod video. There's even a separate model for the mini, at half the price of the others. With included mini-USB and FireWire ports, they can substitute for docks and can charge an iPod off your computer too. Its built-in antenna has a great range, from 20 to 30 feet.

Easy to Use

It is truly simple to use. You raise the telescoping antenna, insert the iPod, tune your FM to an unused frequency between 88.3 to 107.7 MHz, and set the PodFreq to that frequency on the easy-to-read LCD display. Once you've found the frequency, it takes seconds for the devices to connect. Switching channels is equally simple. No software to install and nothing special to plug in. The PodFreq is powered by the iPod, but uses little battery power. The sound is excellent and not similar to that hollow sound many FM transmitters deliver.

A Bit Unwieldy

If you like to carry your iPod everywhere, you may not be able to appreciate this product. You don't want to haul the PodFreq around. Even though it comes with a nice soft case, it still adds a chunk of weight. Why not just pull the iPod out of the PodFreq? That's fine, but if you're used to keeping your iPod scratch-free by enclosing it in a case, even a thin tight-fitting skin, you'll have to pull it on when you go out and off when you get home or go back to the car. Cases don't fit into the PodFreq, and the PodFreq doesn't protect the face of the iPod at all.

In summary, you lose a lot of flexibility in transportability when you use a PodFreq. The benefits lie in the sound quality and ability to wirelessly share your music.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Barbara Mende


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