Review: PodFreq mini by Sonnet Tech.

An FM Transmitter with all the trimmings... (November 30th, 2005)

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Product Manufacturer: Sonnet Technologies, Inc.

Price: MSRP: $99.95 US

The Good

  • Built-in iPod Mini case, antennae, and a carry bag.

The Bad

  • Doesn\'t cover the whole FM range. Permanent installation may require drilling into car dashboard

Sometimes a product comes along that just makes your eyes go wide with joy, but in this case, you're also left with a looming question mark. Sonnet Technologies started shipping the PodFreq mini in July. This is probably the most complete FM transmitter found in the iPod Mini market.

FM Transmitter With All The Trimmings

The PodFreq mini includes a cigarette lighter or power port charger, a clear hard plastic protective case, the USB 2 cable, a mount that can be screwed into your dashboard, an antennae, plus a dock with USB and FireWIre ports. The plastic case snaps open, so you can even store unused parts in the original packaging, plus there is a small gray fellt-like bag provided for traveling. Did you notice the antennae? This is the first product we've seen with a built-in antennae, which pretty much guarantees it will work in any car or with any FM radio, even in the overcrowded FM market like the Boston area. The 10-35 feet range is also a welcome feature, as products that just clip onto the top of your iPod don't have nearly that range.

Not Perfect, But Close

Dorothy reports that the sound and reception is great. As a first time FM transmitter user, she found the directions helpful, but almost unnecessary. If your lighter or power port is powered when the car is off, than your Mini will keep charging too. The power button on the iPod Mini is easily accessed and the entire unit with the mini inserted stands upright in the car, with minimal movement or bumping around. The PodFreq mini display is easy to read and adjusting the stations as you travel through different FM reception areas is a simple click on the easy to reach buttons that scroll through stations. The buttons are easy to adjust, even with big fingers and while driving. As Sonnet states on their site, you only need to "turn on your iPod mini and PodFreq mini, extend the antenna, and you're ready to Freq!"

The only minor downfall is that you can only access the FM stations between 88.1 to 107.9 MHz. As mentioned earlier, in the crowded Boston FM market, missing the 87.x range can be problematic.

So, what is the looming question mark? Well, we wonder why it took so long for Sonnet to introduce the PodFreq for the iPod Mini, especially since Apple is no longer marketing this product. Fortunately, there are still thousands of Mini users out there. It is an excellent product and just in time for the holiday season. If you purchase it before December 31st, than you qualify for a $20 mail-in rebate also. This is a great deal!

by Dorothy Mitchell and ilene Hoffman


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