Like many people, I’ve had a number of iPods and MP3 players over the years. Getting them to play through the speakers in the car has always been one of the challenges of using an iPod. Newer cars often have audio jacks or even iPod jacks, but for the many, many vehicles out there without any such connectors, it seems that nothing but challenges and compromises await.
The folks at Griffin Technology have, for a number of years, offered a variety of solutions to the problem of playing your iPod through your car stereo. Now I’ve got the opportunity to look at one of their latest entries, the RoadTrip with SmartScan. Read on to see how it did.
The RoadTrip is a very slick looking device. Additionally, it now works with your iPhone or iPod. It will charge your device while you are using it. There is even an audio passthrough if you happen to have an audio jack available in your vehicle (and want to use the RoadTrip primarily as a charger).
The RoadTrip supports frequencies from 88.1MHz to 107.9MHz. The power connects directly into your lighter socket and has a semi-rigid flex connection to the cradle to allow for a wide variety of positions.
What I Liked: I really like the slick look of it’s design and the clear display. The audio quality is amoung the best I’ve heard from a FM Transmitter device, due to the options and tricks the RoadTrip uses to present it’s signal.
What Could Be Better: The cradle didn’t hold my iphone in place very well, and the iPhone would only fit in the slot when it was bare, without any kind of case or protection. This means that if it falls out of the RoadTrip, it will likely get banged up. I would have liked a small adjuster to allof for a standard rubberized case to also fit in the holster, or a better clamping system to keep the phone/iPod from being flung out of the RoadTrip during a sharp turn.
Also – I would have liked the device to also support the 87.x frequencies. My radio supports them and they really aren’t used much in the U.S. so I could have almost guaranteed a clear signal down there. I do not know if there’s a legal, regulatory, or technical restriction preventing the use of those frequencies, but I’ve rarely seen them used on these devices, which is a shame.
Overall: I like the Road trip a lot. It’s one of the best FM Transmitter-type adapters I’ve used. You need to watch the cradle/holder though to make sure your iPod/iPhone doesn’t accidently fall out, but other than that, the device works well. The controls are easy to use and clear. Griffin has managed to further refine the products in this category!
The RoadTrip is available from many different retailers or at the Griffin Technology website for $99.99.