Sep 11 2005
submitting two reviews for iPod shuffle transmitters today. Check out my other review if you’re in the market for one of these dealies.
As you may well know, I am in a position where listening to my iPod in my car requires that I use an FM transmitter, so when new ones come on the market, I have a vested interest in knowing how well they measure up. You may also know that I am a huge fan of the DLO TransPod FM Transmitter Car Kit for iPod–I love it. So when I got the press release that DLO was coming out with a TransPod for the iPod shuffle, I was stoked. I fired off an email to get one even before I posted the story to MacMerc.
The DLO TransPod FM Transmitter for iPod Shuffle is a rather large device when compared to the XtremeMac Airplay iPod FM Transmitter for iPod shuffle. It’s a cigarette lighter adapter attached to a big box connected by an adjustable elbow joint. It has a huge blue backlit LCD that displays the current broadcast frequency and the right and left sides each have a button from which you can adjust that frequency between 87.9 to 107.9 MHz. You can also program 4 preset stations in case you need to switch between FM bands to broadcast on the clearest frequency for where you are currently.
One other feature for those of you with other audio devices you’d like to be able to transmit on FM, the TransPod for iPod Shuffle has an auxiliary in port on the bottom that will allow you to use it for any iPod, Walkman, Zen, whatever…if it has an earphone jack, it should work. Pretty smart. It also has a line out so that you can use the device as just a charger for your shuffle and send the audio out to a cassette adapter in your vehicle’s cassette stereo…but couldn’t you just plug that into your shuffle’s earphone jack? Hmm …I dunno.
The TransPod requires no batteries but it doesn’t pull power off your shuffle either, so if you want to use it as a transmitter away from your vehicle you’re out of luck–it needs to be in the cigarette lighter socket. Unlike the Airplay for Shuffle, the DLO does not have a long reach but you can always go to your local computer store and buy a standard USB extension cable if you want to allow backseat driving for your shuffle.
The FM transmission is quite good. It is about as good as the iTrip and, like the iTrip, relies on finding the iPod’s volume sweet spot to balance between FM static and distorted audio. I have been able to broadcast my shuffle’s audio using the Airplay on an FM band that actually is being used by a radio station in nearby Washington state. Perfect for listening to podcasts on the road.
What don’t I like about the DLO TransPod FM Transmitter for iPod Shuffle? I’m trying really hard to think of something. About all that I can think to gripe about is that when I go to remove the unit from the cigarette lighter, I tend to press the tuning buttons on the side and screw things up for the next use. Pretty minor. Easy to avoid.
The DLO TransPod FM Transmitter for iPod Shuffle is my favorite FM transmitting solution for Apple’s iPod shuffle. It puts the controls in easy reach while I drive and holds the shuffle firmly in place. It’s a beauty. Call me a diehard DLO fan, but with products like this, the folks there have given me little reason not to be a fan.
The device sells for USD$59.99 ($10 more than the Airplay) and I heartily recommend it.