The Griffin iTrip Auto is a great solution but it does have its limitations in that it is messy with a trailing wire that gets in the way, even when the I-Pod is put in a cradle (which was an additional purchase). The quality, although good is not great and since technology had moved, on there were alternatives in the market place.
What I was looking for was a solution that was good quality, wireless and included a cradle that would fully clamp and support my I-Pod whilst driving. The Cygnett Groove Transporter II ("the Groove") satisfied all of these.
The Groove consists of a docking cradle with a built in FM radio transmitter and frequency control buttons on the side. On the back of the cradle there is a short 12 volt plug which is inserted in to the cigarette lighter socket. This not only powers the FM transmitter but also charges the I-Pod while in use, making sure that the I-Pod is always fully charged.
The cradle is black in colour, nicely complimenting my black I-Pod, and is made out of tough and durable ABS plastic. It has a rubber back and rubber grippers on the side to ensure that the I-Pod is securely clamped in to it ensuring that it is kept safe, even when driving erratically and a bit ragged.
The short plug means that there is less vibration and jumping around than with longer stem systems, which adds to the stability of the whole unit.
There are no wires to get wrapped around the gear lever, or to get caught on other things, and the whole set up is neat and tidy and looks very professional.
The Groove includes a remote control making it easier to change tracks. It is also much safer to use whilst driving. I have stuck my remote in the middle of the steering wheel using Velcro allowing me to remove it and place it in the glove box when I leave my car.
The Groove is compatible with all docking I-Pods including the nano, classic, video, touch and the I-phones.
It is not compatible with the shuffle and other MP3s that do not have the docking ability, although you can buy an adaptor lead that plugs in to the headphone socket. But surely this goes against the 'wireless' concept?
Simply plug it in, turn the I-Pod on, chooses the tune and play. It is so simple that anyone can do it in a matter of minutes without the need for a specialist.
Once the frequency has been chosen the Groove will automatically default to that frequency next time it is turned on, which is a great feature and also appears on the iTrip.
Using the iTrip I found that I sometimes lost the signal that resulted in crackling. Although easily solved it was a pain.
I have to say that I have never lost the signal with the Groove, even on longer drives. I recently drove from Norfolk to Birmingham and the Groove never once faltered.
****Sound and Quality****
Like all of these solutions the overall quality will depend upon the radio unit and the speaker system in your car. I found the sound to be much clearer and crisp than that of the Griffin iTrip. I also found that using the Groove the volume could go much louder and it would not distort like it would with the iTrip.
It is still not up to that of the permanent solutions, such as the Denison Ice, but then it is still nowhere near as expensive.
The main issue with the Groove is how it sits in the cigarette lighter socket, and this is dependent upon the car you drive.
In my Z3 the socket was right at the bottom near the gear stick and there used to be some contact. Whilst there is some adjustment on the positioning of the Groove there is not much, which is a pain.
In the Celica I found that the Groove would be touching my knee and this could not be solved.
In my Focus I have no problems whatsoever. The Groove doesn't touch anything and there is plenty of room for it.
This is an excellent product and I highly recommend it. Whilst it is a bit more expensive that items like the iTrip it does not work out that much more since it comes with its own cradle specifically designed to fit the I-Pod, whereas this is an additional purchase with the Itrip.
In addition, the cradle does not need to be clamped to the air vent unlike other cradles (since it is attached to the cigarette lighter plug), which is a good thing as previous experience has shown that when things are clamped to the air vent they are a nightmare to get off and often require breaking to do so.
The quality, whilst not up to that of the permanent solutions, is very good and provides a crisp, clear sound. The music may also be turned up louder that it can with the Itrip.