Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
Improved electronics except for the FM transmitter
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.