First Looks Special: DLO mini fm FM Radio & Headphone Amplifier | iLounge Article

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First Looks Special: DLO mini fm FM Radio & Headphone Amplifier

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Friday, September 2, 2005
Articles Categories: First Looks

Weren’t expecting this one, were you? Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) has just unveiled “mini fm,” which its packaging describes as an “FM Radio and Headphone Amplifier for the iPod mini.” Built in silver as a way to generically complement the various body colors of all iPod mini models, mini fm is a highly professional-looking attachment with five buttons on its top and a pass-through headphone port. A bright blue backlit screen displays the current station.

It’s also substantially smaller than Griffin’s iFM and BTI’s TuneStir FM radio attachments, and does not dangle from a cord, either. Instead, its body fits right on top of the iPod mini, adding less than an inch of extra height while incorporating a nice blue FM tuning screen.

Where’s the battery? There is none; it draws off of the iPod mini’s battery, and flashes its letters when power is low. What about the antenna? Your headphone wires. The unit won’t reliably tune stations without them.

A “mode” button on the left turns the unit on, and switches between FM radio and iPod listening modes. If held down for two seconds, it will turn both itself and the attached iPod mini off. Pressing it again will turn both units back on. Volume is tuned with the plus and minus buttons on mini fm’s top, while tuning is accomplished with the left and right buttons. mini FM tunes from 87.5FM to 108, and our prototype unit actually tunes in super-sensitive .05 increments, something we assume will change in the final production version. It also can do a channel scan to save on button presses.

The “headphone amplifier” feature is accessed by putting the mini fm in iPod mode and then using both the iPod’s and mini FM’s volume controls at the same time. It’s a nice bonus feature - the sort of thing we haven’t wanted to pay extra for, but don’t mind seeing tossed in with a device like this one.

A protective headphone plug cover will be included with mini fm for travel purposes. Otherwise, you’ll leave the bottom extended headphone plug exposed, or keep the unit plugged into your iPod mini on the go.

How does it sound? Our initial testing suggests that it’s roughly comparable to Griffin’s iFM in tuning power, and therefore but we’ll need to run a bunch more tests (and see a final production unit) before we can say anything decisive on this. Though lacking iFM’s recording and remote features, there’s no doubt that mini FM will present an attractive alternative upon its release. Final pricing and availability information have yet to be announced, but mini fm is expected to retail for under $50 and release before year’s end.

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Comments

1

Oohh. I want one.

Posted by NawdaKh on September 2, 2005 at 3:42 PM (PDT)

2

i’ll get one if it also is an fm transmitter.

Posted by ipodlova on September 2, 2005 at 9:51 PM (PDT)

3

who need radio on the IPOD?

Posted by LinkTree in IL on September 3, 2005 at 11:57 AM (PDT)

4

It looks nice and it matches too my ipod but im wondering if they’ll make a black one. Im buyying once it gets too 40-45.00

Posted by ExTrEmE on September 3, 2005 at 12:05 PM (PDT)

5

i will say tho, it looks better than all the other radios because it isnt dangling off a friggen cord.

Posted by ipodlova on September 3, 2005 at 12:39 PM (PDT)

6

omg, i want one of these, but for my full size ipod, i’ve actually been waiting for one of these bad boys, and now it’s here, but for the mini ipod.  i think the design is pretty smooth, and i just like the idea.  not too many ipod fm radios are all that great, but it looks pretty awesome and i agree with “ipodlova”.  I honestly think the radios are good ideas, because althought the ipod already holds mahy music files, i feel like the radio’s will give you new up to date music so you can find more new music to add.  “but thats just my oppinion”. Anyways, i hope they’ll do a write up on a full size ipod radio soon, i know theres one out but it doesn’t match up to this.  thanks again for the great write-up.

Posted by Fly_J_Guy on September 4, 2005 at 12:06 AM (PDT)

7

Nice, I wish it had a built in self timer option to shut down after say an hour of listening. An essential feature for those of us that like to fall asleep to radio.

Posted by zymonk on September 4, 2005 at 6:53 AM (PDT)

8

Hi, I was just wondering if they are going to make these for all iPods such as iPod nano 3rd and 4th Generation???

Please advise!

Peace, Troy.

Posted by Troy F. on January 11, 2009 at 9:39 PM (PDT)

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