20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2011
Just arrived. Took it out for a spin around my neighborhood and it just works. Setup took under five minutes. It suggested I download the app. I did and it made the setup that much easier. Not having to press and hold buttons to set/change stations is quite nice. The interface of the app is a much larger display to read. Well worth the download.
I live in a VERY saturated city and the stations hold well. However the stations suggested by the SmartScan feature were not the best by a long shot. Fortunately I knew and had already set the best channels on my radio. The phone works very well. My voice, according to my parties, came through very clear with no background noise. It was hard to tell I was in my car. Their voice on my end was also very clear. Conversations can be had without shouting by either party.
Static still creeps in but that's common in a saturated market such as mine. I have yet to find a transmitter that was static-free. However, I came close with the last RoadTrip model. Changing the output to mono gave a clear static-free sound. The loss of the sound stage was noticeable but not unpleasant.
The design is very sleek. Soft blue lights provides a very pleasing effect at night. The display is very easy to read and very nicely designed. The menu can easily be navigated without reading the manual.
It's nicely built. However I found the swivel on the holder a bit looser than I'd like. That's my only concern so far. So, I'm keeping the box and packing materials handy just in case. There's no need to remove even the bulkiest case (short of military grade) I can imagine. The holder is adjustable and is nicely padded with soft rubber.
It's the best FM transmitter I found so far for the iPhone 4.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2011
I was a little hesitant to purchase and FM transmitter for my car. I heard they didn't work as advertised and that I would hear a lot of static with my music. But when I bought a used car and an FM transmitter was the only way I'd be able to listen to my iPod, I needed to get one.
The Griffin Roadtrip Hands-Free was the only practical option when it came to FM transmitters. It plays and charges the iPod just like it's supposed to and the ability to talk on the phone through the car stereo and microphone is really nice. The only design flaw I can think of right now is that instead of pausing the iPod when a phone call comes in, it mutes the music. I have songs on my iPod because I like the music and I don't want to miss them if I have a long conversation on the phone. You can still manually pause the iPod, but it creates an extra step.
In terms of performance, I've heard that sound quality can depend quite heavily on the location of a car's antenna. Mine is built in to the rear window and I'd say sound quality is pretty good. If I listen hard, or during pauses between songs, I can usually hear a little static. The biggest factor in sound quality is the competing radio stations. I've found a station that maintains good quality for my trip from work to home, but if I deviate from that path, I usually have to use the Roadtrip's built in station finder. It usually does a good job of picking clear stations, but sometimes it only lasts for a few minutes.
In terms of the physical layout, the buttons are easy to find and press, and the lighting of the screen is not too bright for night driving. I love being able to rotate the iPod dock and move the neck around. It holds the position well, though I've only had it for about two months.
If you're looking for a good FM transmitter, I'd highly recommend you purchase this one. It's not perfect, but in my eyes, it's the best one one the market.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2011
I was awaiting this car adapter for my iPhone for months to be released as my current Belkin TuneBase product which I have two was working except the LED numerals are burning out in each.
The stalk strength seems sufficient for most use. The adapter holds an iphone but a bit looser than the Belkin product - a little wobbliness can occur.
I haven't tried the Bluetooth mode yet but the biggest problem with this device is weak FM signal transmission. I bought two of these and each behaves the same. In sport utility and crossover vehicles, the FM antenna is often not located near the front window. In both of my cars they are on a rear quarter window. The FM is almost complete static unless I cup my hand behind the unit - essentially turning myself into an antenna. In a car with the FM antenna up front, the signal strength seems sufficient.
I discovered through trial and error that one can wrap a narrow gauge wire around the top of the stalk where it pivots to connect to the base. This appears to be near where the FM transmitter is located. This wire behaves like a passive antenna and one can then position the length of wire to an optimal position to optimize the signal output. I decided to wrap the wire around the antenna feed that leads into the back of my car radio. So it's actually not completely wireless - a user modification is required if you have a sport utility or your car's FM antenna is not near the front.
I was under the impression this had a 5 watt FM transmitter but reading up, I think the specs only mean it draws 5 watts of power to power the whole unit. There is no way a full 5 W FM signal can't reach an indoor antenna 6 feet away. I believe this could be an electronic engineering deficiency in its design.
If this flaw gets fixed, then I would increase my rating to 5 stars. Right now, it has to be a buyer beware for you alpha adopters.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2011
Like other reviewers, I waited months for this unit, only to be severely disappointed. The FM signal output is so weak as to be almost useless.
It's not because of any FCC-mandated limits, either. I've owned several other FM transmitters (major brands, mind you, not no-name Asian knockoffs), and the RoadTrip Handsfree is hands-down the worst of the lot.
Here's how lame it is: I live in Central MD, where there aren't any truly clear frequencies, so much as there's one empty frequency between stations, all the way up and down the FM dial. With every other FM transmitter I've had, I could tune it to one of those between-station frequencies, then use the Seek button on my car's radio to tune into that frequency, as if my transmitter were its own "station".
Not so on the RoadTrip Handsfree. The Seek button went right past my chosen frequency as if there was nothing there. The signal is THAT weak. And my car's antenna is pretty much directly above the RoadTrip unit.
The upshot is that no matter which frequency I try, the signal is constantly overtaken by static as I drive, and my music fuzzes in and out. I can cup my hand around the stalk of the thing, as another reviewer noted, and that seems to improve the signal a bit, but that's about it.
Haven't used it for a phone call yet, so I can't speak to that. SmartScan is useless -- it keeps picking frequencies that are already stations.
I was also unimpressed that every time I plugged in my iPhone, a message popped up informing me that an app was "required" to use the accessory. I finally downloaded the silly thing -- which does nothing you can't do with the RoadTrip's buttons -- just so it'd stop nagging me about it. Haven't used the app since.
Maybe if you live in rural country with broad swaths of clear spectrum, the HandsFree would work for you. For my part, I'll be sending it back and looking into other brands instead.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2011
I waited for months before Griffen released this product. It seemed to have so much promise! However, I've returned it after using it for only a week or so, in two different cars. Here's what I found:
1.) Iphone functionality: This is the strong point. The interaction with an iPhone is well thought out. You can place and answer calls easily. The bluetooth functionality works perfectly. If only the FM transmitter and Smartscan functions were designed just as well...
2.) Smartscan functionality: This was COMPLETELY useless. I live in Orange County, California. There aren't very many pure-static stations, but there are a few. Still, the Smartscan function insisted on choosing the three STRONGEST stations on the band. In fact, they were stations that I had preset on my cars' radios as ones that I listen to regularly! Why the Smartscan function would choose those stations instead of ones with at least a little bit of static, I don't know.
3.) FM Transmitter: The FM transmitter was so weak, that it made the product pretty much useless. Sometimes, it would not "connect" to my cars' radios at all -- you would hear the regular static of the radio station. At other times, the connection would be made, but it would disconnect a few minutes later - sometimes in the middle of a call! I used the product in a Corolla S and a Lexus ES300. I admit that the Corolla's antenna is pretty weak, but the Lexus antenna is great -- it shouldn't have had this problem. I literally had to press the Roadtrip up against the outer surface of the radio unit for it to hold a station. This should not have to happen!
I emailed Griffen's support folks, and they responded that the FM transmitter is working as it should, and that they're limited to the power output that the product can have. But I disagree that it's working as it should -- I used the original "GoGroove" product and it's FM transmitter was lightyears better than the Roadtrip's.
My suggestion is for folks to go find the original GoGroove-type product -- the one that has the built-in iphone power cord. (They don't build the power cord into the new ones, so you have to provide your own.) That's what I'm going to go buy. They're about $15 or $20, and they actually work -- unlike this product.
on October 5, 2013
its a dream become true for whom who don't have aux < and at the same time need a charger , holder and a car kit >
on July 10, 2013
I've had mine for a couple years. Not long after I got it, I discovered that the Bluetooth does not work that well. The volume is terrible on Bluetooth--on both ends. I have to shout for people to hear me, and crank my radio up to almost full volume to hear them.
It's also terrible at holding the weight of an iPhone. Expect your device to flop around limply as you turn corners.
Finally, when I returned from a five-day trip yesterday, the thing stopped working altogether. I decided to open it by twisting off the end with the plug. The wiring was somehow ruined, the red wire was broken and somehow chewed.
This was the worst thing I ever bought for my iPhone. The only reason I kept it was because it was actually a decent FM transmitter and kept my phone out of my cup holder, even if I had to twist it to different angles or hold it up with my knee just to prevent it from flopping my phone over to the side on a curve or turn. I would have given it an extra star for the FM transmitter, except then I remembered when I called Griffin shortly after purchasing it to ask about the Bluetooth volume problem and they had no clue what was wrong and offered no help. At this point, they can consider this one star as their extra one, because Griffin and this product really deserve zero.
on June 6, 2013
It's really a crime to produce and put this product in market. Nice looking cosmetic design but absolutely useless for the purpose.
Smartscan is my a$$, it's really a preset 3 fixed dummy stations. Where the scan means on the title "Smartscan"?
I spent an hour to check every single channel from 88.1 to 107.9, and none station that the product can give me a signal from my iphone without heavy static.
Even an unknown China FM tranmitter selling for few dollars could do the job thousand times better than this big brand called Griffin.
Stay away anything produced by Griffin!!!!!!!!!!
All the staff involved in this product should be put injail.
on May 29, 2013
What I like is that you can answer your phone and hear the other person via your car speakers. It charges while you are using it, much better than the old one I had.
on April 19, 2013
The bluetooth part of it only works 'automatically' if you interrupt the power to the unit once you plug in the phone. If you keep the Road Trip plugged into your car's power port that does not go through the ignition switch, the bluetooth part must be re-paired every time (or you must unplug and re-insert the RT & iPhone together as a unit). The audio was OK, if you don't mind a little static no matter which 'frequency' you tune to. Kudos for the company trying to work with me to figure out the bluetooth problem, but I finally had to figure it out on my own. Overall, would recommend if you don't mind the drawbacks.