Top critical review
41 people found this helpful
Weak transmitter compared to Griffin iTrip, the iPhone app adds no value
on January 31, 2010
The Belkin Tunecast Auto Live is different from other FM Transmitters on the market because, through a special iPhone app, it can use GPS to determine the best frequency for you to use. After testing this transmitter with the app on my iPhone 3GS, I have the following opinions:
-You can only use the GPS function when the App is open, which means you can't run other apps when using the Belkin app. So if you're listening to Pandora when you suddenly need to change the frequency, you'll have to close Pandora in order to open the Belkin app. (EDIT: Apple's iOS 4 now allows for multi-tasking, so this particular point of mine is no longer valid, although you still have to go through the hassle of changing apps to change a frequency)
-The GPS function is useless. It kept telling me to use a particular frequency which did not work well. I could press the button on the iPhone app to cycle through frequencies, but the same useless frequencies would keep repeating.
-The Clearscan function (the button on the transmitter itself) is also useless, for pretty much the same reasons as above.
-Try to use the app to change the frequency of the Belkin transmitter while in rush-hour traffic. Yup, another driving distraction. (Memo to Belkin's lawyers: sooner or later, you'll need a warning in the manual along the lines of "do not use the app while driving")
-If I listened to Heavy Metal or loud Hip-Hop music, I might be ok with the sound quality from this transmitter. But since I listen to softer music, I find the constant background hissing and static to be very very annoying.
-I do LIKE the display though, the amber color is very pleasing and is easily visible both day and night. (hey, I'm trying hard to find some positives too!)
Overall, I don't recommend this transmitter. In fact, I've gone through many of the different transmitters from the different brands and the only one that worked perfectly and which I recommend is Griffin's iTrip. The reason is that the Griffins all have a hidden feature called "International" mode which allow the use of the 87.7 and 87.9 frequencies, as they are open frequencies in the United States (meaning there isn't a single U.S. radio station on those frequencies). But only the Griffins can use those frequencies, all other transmitters (including this very Belkin model) can go as low as 88.1 only. The Griffins also have a feature to boost transmitting power by setting the output to Mono, rather than the default Stereo which seems to produce a weaker signal. For more details on these functions, see the reviews for the Griffin iTrip products.