After unimpressive results with a cheap £5 FM transmitter from Aldi, which seemed to be more static than music, no matter how hard I tried, I decided to plump for the best known brand, Belkin, and went for the Belkin TuneFM3 for my iPhone 3Gs.
**Price and Availability**
I paid £9.98 from Amazon, as an Amazon Prime member I get free next day delivery, you can get free super saver delivery with this if you are not a member (5 days delivery). This is also available direct via Belkin and on independent online retailers.
On the high street I have seen this model in the Apple Shop, Currys Digital and a few mobile phone shops (it tends to be in the larger ones) including Carphone Warehouse.
**What you get**
Inside the packet you get the Belkin TuneFM3, which is as wide as the iPhone itself with a standard iPhone adaptor on the top. It also comes with a car cigarette charger, which can also be used to charge the iPhone 3Gs / 3G itself. You also get the instructional manual and warranty information.
Item Weight: 100 g
Boxed-product Weight: 454 g
MP3 Player Compatibility: iPod shuffle, iPod with video (5G), iPod nano (aluminum) (2G), iPod touch
Product Type: iPod FM transmitter
Package Content: Car power adapter, FM transmitter
The Belkin TuneFM3 works well with my iPhone 3Gs and it works well with my friend's 3G too. The instructions state it is also compatible with the iPod touch though I haven't had a chance to test it myself.
It is important to note it is not compatible with the iPhone 4 due to the connector, which I have been advised doesn't fit quite properly. So consider this if you have the Belkin TuneFM3 and upgrade, or plan to upgrade soon as this is not an accessory you can carry on using.
It's very, very easy to use with it's clear screen, very large buttons and intuitive menus. There are four on the front, two are memory presets and there are two scan buttons also. It broadcasts on FM and of course it can take a while to set up initially but you can just switch on and go the next day. Of course, I don't recommend fiddling with phones and transmitters whilst you're driving, but it does mean that you can easily get it going before you set off in your car. You don't have to use this in your car of course, it being battery driven, you can use it with any radio, effectively making it a set of iPod speakers - useful if say you go to a BBQ.
I have only had the Belkin TuneFM3 since December but so far I am impressed with it in terms of how easy it is to use, the battery lasts over a week with daily use to and from work and weekend use, and the sound quality is far and beyond my cheap FM transmitter. You do get the odd moment of crackle but overall it's very impressive and comparable to listening to an mp3 or CD directly from your car stereo. I am very impressed.
Yes, I would recommend this unit, in fact I wish I had listened to others who warned of getting a cheap version and just bought the Belkin in the first place. I can't say that I could ever justify spending over £20 on something like this so for me it is in the right price area for what it does.
It may be fairly simple, but in it's simplicity lies it's genius - you can literally just plug and play. It's easy to transport, matches the sleek look of the iPhone and sounds good too.
Five out of five for me, an easy to use bit of kit.
When I bought my first car i wanted a top of the range stereo that i could hook my iphone up to. then i realised I was a student so I bought this instead. The first thing to mention is that this is super easy to set up, plug tune, play. thats all there is to it. the display is nice and big so you can clearly see what you are doing and the buttons are responsive so the whole thing is a simple process.
One thing to note, if you're using this with an iPhone, make sure you put the phone into airplane mode first as you will receive feedback from your cellular antenna otherwise. Plus you won't receive any dangerous calls or texts while driving.
The sound quality is very good, i recommend the lower frequencies as the higher ones tend to be used up. once you get a signal you can fine tune till you get it perfect (do this BEFORE you set off or have a passenger do it).
You do get a little interference but nothing major, plus if you're travelling with friends in a different car they can tune their radio into your iPhone, but they have to be quite close.
You can also use this to connect to any radio, if you want to play your iTunes library through your cheap boom box, then you can, though analogue dials are a little trickier to tune they still sound good.
The charger works great too, plus it means that your phone will never be without charge while playing music in the car. So to summarise, a very handy product.