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I first delved into the world of iPods a couple of years ago. I'm the sort that generally doesn't follow technological trends and tend to steer clear of spending a lot of money on a product if I don't really need to. My partner - fortunately or unfortunately (I've yet to decide) is the opposite....always looking for new toys to play with and keeping up with new trends so when he upgraded his iPod touch to a larger capacity he generously donated his original iPod touch to me and over the last couple of years I've become very attached to my iPod touch.
Now I used to be terrible for having CD's lying about the car - in every nook and cranny you would find cd boxes because I liked to listen to a variety of different music when driving. Even now I have to admit that the iPod has revolutionised the way I listen to and store music. The CD's have long since been stored in the loft choosing instead to use iTunes as my media source.
What has revolutionised the way I listen to music even more is the Griffin iTrip auto designed specifically for the apple iPod.
***what is the Griffin iTrip Auto***
The iTrip auto is probably one of the easiest ways to charge your iPod and play the music stored on your iPod device in the car. The iTrip has a smart scan system which is designed to scan through your radio frequencies and store the top 3 clearest frequencies to allow you to play your music clearly through your FM radio transmitter. The particular model I have is the 2008 model and is compatible with the iPod touch, Classic, Nano (1st, 2nd and 3rd generation), it was given to me as a birthday present a couple of years ago and I am pleased to say that this is a present I get to use every day.
***How to use the iTrip Auto***
The iTrip Auto is really simple to use and comes with a quick start guide to get you going. The first thing you need to do is take the unit out of its packaging and I have to say it does come very well packaged, in a plastic box. The whole unit is visible through the clear panel on the front of the box and when I first saw it I was particularly impressed with how compact it all looked. Open up the top of the box and pull out the plastic holder inside to reveal your new toy. The iTrip has 3 main parts to it; the Dock connector which slots neatly into the dock connection point located on your iPod, the smart scan unit which has 3 pre-set buttons to allow you to store the 3 clearest frequencies, and of course the charging adaptor which is designed to slot into your cigarette lighter unit. Plugging the charging adaptor into your cigarette lighter socket powers up the iTrip and charges your iPod at the same time. The adaptor itself has a colour ring which resembles the same sequence as traffic lights so you can easily see what the iTrip is doing.
RED = This indicates that the iTrip has been plugged in correctly and is ready to operate the iTrip transmitter and charge your iPod
AMBER = The iTrip is charging your iPod and is providing power to the iTrip FM transmitter.
GREEN = Your iPod is fully charged and there is power to the iTrip FM transmitter
When the unit is plugged in the LED display pops up with a function button, to set your pre-sets you simply select the function button where you will be taken to three different menus, scan, pre-set and mode, simply click scan and the smartscan technology gets to work straight away taking around 25 seconds to find the 3 clearest frequencies for you to play through - the led screen shows a scanning status while searching and when done the top 3 frequencies are then stored in your pre-sets. In my experience choosing option 1 from pre-sets will always give you the clearest sound with the least interference. Once you have selected your frequency all you have to do is tune your radio in to that frequency and hit play on your iPod and hey presto you're up and running. To save retuning my radio every time I set one of my stations to the pre-set selected for my iPod so all I have to do is press play on my iPod and it's already tuned in so starts playing straight away.
When travelling it may be necessary to switch radio frequencies in case you have some overlap with other radio stations as this will cause interference, I would first check your pre-sets to see if option 2 or 3 are of any use or if in doubt you can rescan so that the smartscan technology will pick up the best 3 frequencies for the area you are in. You can tune the iTrip manually (although I don't recommend this) by firstly tuning in your radio to a vacant station and then setting your iTrip to that frequency, so rather than selecting function from the iTrip you can use the + and - options to move up or down the radio frequencies frequencies to match what you have set your radio to.
***Setting your own pre-sets***
The iTrip gives you the option to personalise the pre-sets. Perhaps you know you have a long commute every day and you notice that your iTrip dips in and out of the frequency it is set to in certain areas, so you can manually save frequencies in the pre-sets to suit the area you are in. All you have to do is find the frequency you know works best in that area and got to your function menu; select pre-sets and hold down pre-set 1, 2 or 3 for a couple of seconds to save the frequency. You'll be able to tell if the pre-set has saved properly as the screen will blink once and the pre-set number 1,2 or 3 will light up to indicate that the frequency has stored effectively.
***Stero or Mono?***
The iTrip also gives you the option to listen to audio through Mono or Stereo. Broadcasting through Mono will give a stronger signal than stereo and good to use if listening to; podcasts, talk radio or audiobooks.....personally I don't really listen to any talking programmes through my iPod so I've never needed to use the Mono function choosing always to listen to my music through stereo sound which is better for music and musical podcasts. To change the setting all you have to do is go into Function and select mode where you will be given the option for Mono or Stereo.
***My personal experience and opinion***
I've had my iTrip Auto for over 2 years now and it's still going strong and I have to say it hasn't let me down yet. Even if I take the unit out of the cigarette lighter point in the car it still remembers my pre-set radio frequencies when it gets plugged back in so there's no hassle trying to search for new frequencies each and every time in. I'm quite lucky because my daily commute is relatively short so I never really hit those black spots where the radio frequency suffers from interference and I very rarely need to search for new frequencies, it's pretty much pre-set 1 for me all the way. The only time I ever encounter frequency interference is when I'm travelling long distances like going on holiday in the UK and only then do I need to use the smartscan to find new frequencies.
I leave my iTrip plugged in in my car pretty much all the time so it's not really a problem for me plugging it in and unplugging it on a regular basis. The only thing I will say is the wire is pretty long so I still have some of it cable tied up so I don't have a big long wire getting in the way of the gearstick but apart from the long wire I really do find it difficult to find any flaws with this gadget and it comes highly recommended for anyone who owns an iPod.
***Where to buy***
The particular iTrip model I own is as previously indicated from 2008 and the only place I have seen it to buy is on amazon.co.uk for almost £60 which is quite expensive as it initially cost my partners parents around £35 when they bought it for me in 2009. The new and presumably improved version is available in Tesco for £39.97, but I'm sure if you shop around you will perhaps get it for cheaper.
Overall a great little in car gadget for listening to music on your iPod.....easy to use...easy to store and comes complete with easy to use easy to understand instructions.
I have had this product for a while now, and find it superior to some of the other transmitters out there. I have had three other ones and have found this to be the most reliable.
It charges the battery in your ipod as you are driving and plugs into the 12v adapter so there is no fiddling about with batteries like on some of the older, cheaper transmitters, and it doesn't drain the ipod battery like some.
Basically, you scan for free radio stations on the device and then tune your car radio to the frequency it tells you. This is fairly straight forward. If you are on a longer drive you do need to keep retuning as obviously as you get into different areas other radio stations can creep into your set frequency and can distort the sound. This is a little frustrating, but it is the whole nature of transmitting on radio frequency and you have to be aware that this is going to happen. One frustrating thing with it however is that when you turn the engine off it resets back to the original settings so you have to go through the process again if you have changed the frequency.
On the whole I am very pleased with it as the sound quality is good and I have used it on many many road trips and been very happy with it. It is an easy and convenient way to listen to your ipod for those of us who don't have flash cars with built in ipod docks!
I purchased the Itrip with my ipod. I would give this product a mixed review. The idea is you find an empty radio station on your car radio and then tune the itrip to the station. This is very simple to do - literally just use the menu buttons on the itrip to make sure the stations selected on this and on your car stereo are the same. This works fine in my town as I have found a station that is completely blank and has now interference, however when going on a long journey you tend to start getting interference about 15 miles away from home - then obviously need to find another station - and retune the devise - this is fine if you have a passenger who can do this for you but if you are in the car alone it is very unpractical and invariably the new station only holds for a further 10-15 miles. I would say if you just tend to do local driving then this is a great product, but if like me you do a lot of motorway miles and want to listen to a playlist all the way - then forget it!
The Griffin iTrip Autopilot is one of the latest FM Transmitters for using your iPod/iPhone in your car. These devices have been around for a while and Griffin are probably the market leader.
Basically, these devices allow you to transmit music from your iPod or iPhone (this is important as not all devices are compatible with the iPhone connection) to your car stereo via FM radio.
To use an iTrip, you need to tune your stereo to a frequency which isn't used by any real radio stations, and tune the iTrip transmitter to the same frequency. The iTrip acts like a radio station and plays your music on the car stereo.
From time to time, the radio frequency needs to be changed as real radio stations with the same or similar frequencies will interfere as you drive around.
I bought this model to use with my iPhone recently as my car stereo doesn't have an auxilary input and only has a CD changer/single CD, not a cassette player (I'd previously used an Archos cassette adaptor in a different car for my iPod video). Before buying it I was a little bit sceptical as I'd seen a friend get very frustrated with the 'not great' sound quality and constantly having to change frequencies, but this new model was highly recommended by another friend so I bit the bullet.
Now that I've been using it for a few days, I'm very impressed. The sound quality is very good, if a little quiet, and I haven't had to change the frequency much at all. The reason for the better frequency performance is probably due to the fact that this model comes with SmartScan, which means that you can let the device scan the FM frequency range and it will store the three best frequencies as 'presets' (on the iTrip, not your car stereo). You then tune your car stereo to one of the three frequencies and see how good the reception is. If it's not perfect, you can quickly select another iTrip preset, re-tune your stereo and try again, instead of having to manually re-tune both devices.
Some other nice features:
The iTrip also charges your iPod or iPhone whilst in use (plugged into cigarette lighter/12v power supply)
The iTrip can transmit artist and track information to any RDS stereo
Basic controls are available on the power supply module (skip, scan, pause/play)
Nice, clear OLED display on the iTrip
I paid £34.95 for this from Amazon.co.uk which I think is great value.
*Similar review also published on ciao.co.uk with the same username*