Belkin TuneCast Auto with Clearscan for iPhone/iPod

I normally don't review non-computer accessories circuitREMIX, but I made an exception for Belkin's TuneCast Auto with Clearscan for iPhone/iPod. For one, iPods are hugely popular around the world and the new iPhone 3G is going to make a huge splash on July 11. As well, I personally own some iPods and I intend on buying an iPhone 3G when they're released. In my personal interest in the matter, I've had some trouble finding a good FM transmitter for my iPods. My car is from 2003, and that was before most cars came standard with auxilary input jacks for audio devices. It also doesn't have a cassette deck, and since I'm still using the OEM stereo, there isn't an easy way to install a direct cable input. Using an FM transmitter is my only easy option to get audio from my iPods to my stereo, and out the speakers.

As a little background, I was using a Griffin Technology car power adapter coupled with an iTrip on an iPod Click Wheel. This solution was working fine, then I had to get my iPod replaced. I got a basic second generation iPod nano. The iTrip and car power adapter worked fine, but the iTrip was designed with the body of the iPod Click in mind, so when I installed it on the nano, while the connector's were the same, it didn't fit the shape of the nano. I replaced the iTrip with a cheap iPod FM transmitter from DealsExtreme. It worked fine, although the connector was loose and kept on popping out if I accidentally touched it. Again, I lived with it.

The time came when I eventually got an iPod Touch. The FM transmitters I had semi-worked with it. First, when connecting them to the Touch, I would get a warning telling me that the accessory I was trying to use wasn't compatible with the Touch. Second, the transmitters used the screens of my Click and nano to adjust FM stations. On my Touch, the transmitters didn't have access to use the screen (probably since they aren't compatible accessories). So while the transmitters worked, they could only be used on the station they were previously set to... it couldn't be changed unless I changed it using my nano first. So with my iPod Touch, I was on a quest to find an FM transmitter that would allow me the change stations easily, charge my iPod while in use, has good build quality, and outputs good sound. Enter Belkin. I've owned some Belkin products in the past, and they were good products. It's a brand that's easily available at major retailers all around the world, and they had a product that appeared fit all my requirements: the TuneCast Auto with Clearscan. I contacted Belkin to see if I could give it a try. After a few emails with Jacqueline at Belkin, a TuneCast was on it's way to me. A big thanks to her and Belkin for making this review possible. Continue on to the next page for the review...

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