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Griffin unveils SmartDeck with dock connector

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, October 13, 2005
News Categories: iPod Accessories

imageGriffin Technology has announced a new model of its SmartDeck Intelligent Cassette Adapter, which allows users to control their iPod using the built in controls of a cassette player. Unlike the original SmartDeck, which requires both a headphone and remote jack and only worked with 3G and 4G iPods, the new version connects to an iPod via the dock connector, making it compatible with 3G/4G/5G iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos. The SmartDeck with dock connector will begin shipping later this month for $29.99.

“SmartDeck is more than just a cassette adapter for iPod; it achieves truly seamless integration between iPod and cassette deck,” says Griffin. “Users can utilize the cassette deck’s forward and rewind buttons to advance to the next or prior songs in the iPod playlist. In addition, pause and stop buttons do what pause and stop buttons are expected to do. When the user hits the cassette deck’s Eject button or switches from Cassette to Radio, Griffin’s SmartPlay technology automatically pauses the iPod.”

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Comments

1

Looks nice… but a stop-gap until they can (hopefully) release one that features a dock connector AND a power cord. That would make it the ultimate iPod accessory for people with cars with cassette decks. But sadly, this version is a problem because of the lack of charging.  :(

Posted by Rob on October 13, 2005 at 2:56 PM (PDT)

2

Unfortunately for all of these new iPod accesories that used to use the remote jack, have moved to the dock connector and now we cannot charge AND use accessory at the same time unless it’s intergrated into one.

Posted by presodent on October 13, 2005 at 2:58 PM (PDT)

3

Next accessory we need is a car charger with a pass-through dock connector!

Posted by Eric on October 13, 2005 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

4

I assume that this means line-quality audio? I don’t see why it wouldn’t, but you never can be sure.

Posted by Shig on October 14, 2005 at 8:08 AM (PDT)

5

Mine doesn’t work!!!  When playing, it makes a really loud spinning sound - as if it were rewinding/fast forwarding.  When I “try” to skip songs, nothing happens.

Maybe I have a faulty one… Not sure, but either way, I’m not happy.

Posted by P on October 14, 2005 at 9:36 AM (PDT)

6

Is this article accurate about this new Smart Deck is compatible with the 3G? The Griffin site does not include the 3G in the compatible iPods. And as for P (and not working SmartDeck, is that this new dock SmartDeck or is the one which hooks up to the headphone jack?

Posted by P on October 15, 2005 at 11:24 PM (PDT)

7

P, had the same problem with my Sony cassette deck.  You need to reverse the tape / switch to side B.

Posted by K on October 16, 2005 at 4:21 AM (PDT)

8

I’m sure Griffin or someone will release a iPod dock pass-thru dongle for allowing a power adapter be hooked up as well as the add-on device.  Give it time!

Posted by KSAT on October 17, 2005 at 6:15 AM (PDT)

9

Sorry, but mine just doesn’t work.  I’ve tried flipping the sides played, fast forwarding, rewinding, etc.  Didn’t work.  I thought mine may just be defective, so I exchanged it - 2nd one didn’t work either.  So disappointed - I waited 10 months for a product and it doesn’t work.  BTW - it was the headphone style - not dock. 

I MAY try the dock version later…

BTW - I drive a G35, so if you own a G35 as well and were considering buying a SmartDeck, you may want to consider otherwise - or at least be sure to buy it from somewhere with a good return policy.

Posted by P on October 17, 2005 at 9:43 AM (PDT)

10

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Posted by Laura Tillman on November 1, 2005 at 10:47 AM (PDT)

11

i don’t understand why everyone wants a charger integrated into this thing. what’s so hard about charging your iPod when you’re not in your car…?

Posted by Rick Stawarz on November 11, 2005 at 11:02 PM (PDT)

12

My SmartDeck doesn’t work in 3 of my cassette players.  I’m returning it.  It’s a terrible disappointment to those of us who’ve been waiting almost a year for this product.

Check out Amazon.com for reviews of it… I’m not the only one who’s facing these difficulties, and I have a feeling it’s not only “P” and those 8 Amazon users either.

Posted by Sam Miller on November 16, 2005 at 11:01 AM (PDT)

13

I like mine well enough.  Have the headphone jack version.  It doesn’t like the cold; when I leave it in the car overnight, it makes noises and skips to the next track after 2-3 seconds.  Warms up pretty quickly, though, tucked between my thigh and the car seat.

It works *beautifully* for controlling the iPod when I switch between the tape and the radio or CD.  Stops when I switch to radio, and starts the iPod when I switch back to tape.  Turns the iPod off when the car goes off.  For me, that’s worth the $$.

It doesn’t do a better job than any other tape adapters at controlling the iPod sound volume.  :-(  Also, I don’t like how it switches between tracks—sounds like the tape is forwarding, and it takes a while to get to the next track.  For me, it’s not worth it; easy enough to hit the iPod <next> button.

That said, I’m very glad to have it.

Posted by Stephanie B. on December 2, 2005 at 5:04 PM (PDT)

14

Mine didn’t work either (in my Santa Fe’s radio/CD combo). I just checked Griffin’s website and they now admit that there are some cassette decks that are incompatible (but the aren’t providing any sort of list). After waiting almost a year for this product, Griffin really blew it !!!

Posted by Rand R. on December 5, 2005 at 3:22 PM (PDT)

15

I just got my SmartDeck with Dock last week, and today I will be returning it.

I have an iPod nano as well as a iPod mini and a 3G.  I know that the 3G is out, but this thing didn’t work with either the nano or the mini. 

I have a 94 Infiniti with the Bose sound system, as well as a 99 RAV4.  In either car it basically starts for about a second, then pauses, then stops, then turns on the back light, then pauses, etc.  It just does random stuff.  Pressing FF or REW doesn’t seem to do anything.  Also the cassette itself is the noisiest thing I’ve ever put in there.  I have a couple of cheap Radio Shack cassette adapters I plug into the headphone port and they work just fine.  Luckily I can still eject this crap out of my deck.

I bought Griffin products before which were OK, and in January at Macworld SF they were showing this thing. It looked great there, but this total garbage.  Worse yet, they know it, because when you call them up with this problem, they’ll just tell you to return it, so they know it has big problems and they don’t have a fix.

They claim to have tested this extensively, but I’d venture to say that their idea of extensive testing revolved around a handful of cassette decks.

In conclusion, stick with the tried and true methods, FM transmitters (not the best sound quality), direct line (if you have inputs), cassette adapters (regular ones), or if you can afford, it a complete iPod integration system.  The SmartDeck… is not that smart…

Posted by Chris P. on December 19, 2005 at 3:45 PM (PDT)

16

My $6 Radio Shack cassette adapter eats the SmartDeck for lunch. I bought the dock connecter version 2 days ago and it doesn’t work well at all with my 5G iPod in a 2k1 VW Golf.

It’s very hit and miss on when it wants to play (1-in-9) and when it does the volume sounds overmodulated. Trying to skip tracks results in an error message on my deck. Scanning tracks doesn’t work at all. Lastly, the sound of the spindles is so loud that even if the thing did play, i’d have to crank the volume to hear my music.

The sad truth is that the SmartDeck is a good idea that’s poorly executed.

Posted by ryecob on January 23, 2006 at 9:09 PM (PDT)

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