Kensington Digital FM Transmitter/Auto Charger for iPod | iLounge

Reviews

21

The Kensington with the digital tuner is hard to find around here (Alberta). Don't know how hard it is to find Canada-wide (I can find the older version for $89.99 CDN, but wanted the flexibility of the digital tuning.

However, the iRiver Mobile FM Transmitter (AFT-100) is exactly the same transmitter, with the same "Aerielle" antenna. Only differences are that it's black instead of white, it connects through the headphone jack instead of the dock port, and it's $40 dollars less than the Kensington version. It probably also has the 87.9 "easter egg"...haven't tested that yet.

I'm really happy with the sound the iRiver produces. Well worth the $49.99 CDN price tag. grin

Posted by MishiPod on August 11, 2005 at 11:25 PM (PDT)

22

The iRiver caught my eye, too. I'm looking for reviews. One other down-side to the iRiver, in addition to the headphone-jack output instead of the line output, is that it doesn't charge the iPod. A serious flaw if you're using it for a long road trip (and since the iRiver already has dibs on the power outlet).

Posted by mfeb on August 18, 2005 at 4:29 AM (PDT)

23

I thought that not charging the iPod would be an issue too, but the iRiver worked really well for my recent road trip (12 hour drive). I was concerned that the sound from the headphone jack wouldn't be as good as through the dock, but it sounded great!

As a backup, I do have an adapter for the power outlet...good for charging more than just my iPod. smile

Posted by MishiPod on August 22, 2005 at 3:51 PM (PDT)

24

I ordered the digital transmitter and kept my fingers crossed on how well it would work for me. So far it sounds great. The easter egg worked great for tuning below the standard frequencies. The sound is really good, although you can hear a slight static if the song is quiet and the volume is down low.

Posted by Pugetsound in Tacoma, Washington on August 26, 2005 at 1:45 PM (PDT)

25

I have no option for direct line-in in either of my cars. I am forced to use FM transmitter method for my iPod mini and have tried the iTrip and the Belkin. The Kensington is by far the best sounding in terms of stereo separation, frequency response, and clarity. The easter egg is real for tuning down to 87.5 and the Sibilance issue is real as well. I am forced to use the equalizer on the ipod to reduce the treble. It can be annoying on certain songs. I will stick with the Kensington as I have no other option for the time being.

Posted by heiligenwho on August 27, 2005 at 1:32 PM (PDT)

26

I just got one of these yesterday - and it is fantastic! I am an engineer and a self-identified gadget geek – so my standards are quite high.

I have an AirPlay which is never static free, so I was looking for other options. I checked out the Monster transmitter at Best Buy, but the plug is too big to fit my iPod Mini which is in an agent18 case. The cutout at the bottom of the case just fits the Apple-sized connectors. Kensington has a connector that size; Monster’s is too fat.

So after reading ilounge reviews, I placed an order for the Kensington thru amazon.com (free shipping!!) and then to tide me over till it arrived I went to Best Buy and purchased the iRiver version of this FM transmitter - based on the posting above from MishiPod. The main difference between the two being that the iRiver plugs into the headphone jack, and the Kensington plugs into the bottom and also powers the ipod. I paid $49 for the iRiver and $56 for the Kensington - so the cost is not a factor.

IRiver never won me over – I had to crank the volume on my car radio and some songs just sounded so washed out. I fiddled with the volume and EQ settings on my ipod but never got it to sound right. So when the Kensington arrived last night - I did a side-by-side listening comparo and hands-down, the Kensington wins. The line-out makes a huge difference in the level of volume and the quality of sound. Now I can set my radio volume at the same level I listen to radio stations at. It works like a charm – I live in St Louis and took a drive into the city last night and I never had to change stations and it was static-free the whole way! I could not tell a difference between this and listening to a radio station. Love it, love it, love it.

Posted by hillucla on September 27, 2005 at 1:31 PM (PDT)

27

Does anyone find the blue LED distracting? See this article on how blue LEDs are bad:
http://www.dcontinuum.com/content/news.php?id=209

Does Kensington provide a way to change the color of the LED?

If not, I'm considering getting the non-LED model.

Posted by ulysses on October 26, 2005 at 9:13 AM (PDT)

28

This product is absolutely great. This is my third attempt at trying to get an FM transmitter to work in the car and Kensington nailed it. The reception is really clear and has yet to fade in and out on me. Also the control I am able to have over the frequency I use is greatly appreciated. My previous attempts at products in this category -- Belkin and Monster -- did not provide this flexibility and failed miserably. Kensington also gets points for providing a long cord to connect to the iPod -- allowing passengers in the back of the car to also choose a playlist or song. Kudos to Kensington on this product. I highly recommend it.

Posted by lars-r on November 6, 2005 at 4:17 PM (PDT)

29

Works great! I used to have a Monster. There were parts of town where I would have static with the Monster that work perfect with the Kensington. Not CD quality, but very good.

Posted by arnold931 on November 17, 2005 at 10:09 PM (PDT)

30

ulysses,

I don't mean to be a hater, but why whine about the LED color if the product actually works???

Your complaint is equivalent to going to a strip joint and complaining that the beer ain't cold enough...wtf

Anywayz, I tried reducing the treble on the iPod and the sibilance issue is now completely gone. The digital fm transmitter totally rocks!!!!

Posted by cellphonejunkie on December 4, 2005 at 1:22 AM (PDT)

31

When a clear signal is present, it is hard to distinguish the iPod from a CD. Unfortunately, I live a fairly large metro area seemingly without any consistently clear frequencies (including 87.9). When noise is present, the sibilance makes me want to to turn the iPod off after just a few minutes.

Posted by jdmcderm on December 6, 2005 at 1:19 PM (PDT)

32

Can anyone confirm that this will work with the 5G iPod as well?

Posted by Hutz on December 7, 2005 at 8:44 AM (PDT)

33

It uses the standard apple connector, so yes, it works with the new 5G. I picked up a black 5G a month ago and it's been working fine.

Posted by cellphonejunkie on December 11, 2005 at 1:03 AM (PDT)

34

Can anyone please explain what would cause a dock port accessory to not work with the 5th generation? I figured all of them would, and i think most do but while i was reading reviews for different transmitters i saw that one didn't work with the new generation.

Posted by colecifer on December 13, 2005 at 4:06 PM (PDT)

35

Hi from Spain!!

I´m the new and proud owner of an Ipod 5G. I was wondering if this will work with this product, or will I have to wait for a new one?
Other tan that. Does It exist in black?Do u know any On line shop that wpuld ship it to Spain, cause´I couldn´t find one.

Posted by superkorny on December 29, 2005 at 12:25 PM (PDT)

36

The Kensginton FM Transmitter is in a class by itself. I tried the itrip and immediatly returned it. I live in central NJ and the band is packed with stations. The itrip was a joke. It had no shot at holding any station accross the band. It was so bad I couldn't believe that I had to wait to find one in the store. I tried it in both cars and it was equally bad.

The Kensginton FM Transmitter $59 - $15 mail in rebate ($44) at Amazon was outstanding. It actually overpowers existing FM stations and punches through with near CD quality audio. Yes the highs are a bit bright with the "S" situation but if you turn the treble down it is not at all noticable. And it charges my 60 gb video ipod too! I used it on the way to work this morning and it NEVER faded! Buy it and you will not be dissappointed.

Posted by bleedblue63 on December 30, 2005 at 7:29 AM (PDT)

37

Just got my Kensington FM transmitter on the strength of this review and the comments that follow. I wanted it right away, so I paid full price at a nearby CompUSA, the only retail store in this area that stocked the device, at least that I could find. I've listened in the car for at least an hour since the purchase, to music from CD and from a needledrop (digital recording made from an LP), as well as from a podcast (IT Conversations). The Kensington is a terrific performer and well worth the 80.00 I paid. At the lower prices online, it's a steal. I've used an early Belkin Tunecast (avoid), an iTrip (decent performance but clumsy UI), an iTrip LCD with dock connector (very weak and static-y), and now the Kensington. The Kensington is head and shoulders above the iTrip, and even farther ahead of the rest of them. There is a slightly uptilted frequency response that's actually pleasant with music (even flute) but seems to overpower the little FM transmitter with speech sibilants at times. A slight treble reduction makes the slight problem almost unnoticeable, and truth to tell, by the end of the 45 minute drive home, even the occasional sibilant distortion on the podcast wasn't bothering me at all. One reason is the midrange, which is so transparent that music and speech sound fantastic. The bass is full and rich. The stereo playback has impressive separation. The highs are clear and sparkling. And the static/hiss/noise floor is impressively low. I tuned the unit to 87.9 (can't save it as a preset, alas, but the procedure is easy) and drove along I-95 in the bandwidth-jammed DC area without more than a few seconds of static in all that time.

Bleedblue63 says "outstanding," and I agree wholeheartedly. Worth every penny. Thanks to ilounge, and to Jeremy for the spot-on review. Most of all, thanks to Kensington for such a great product!

Posted by Gardner on December 31, 2005 at 1:03 PM (PDT)

38

I've recently bought this transmitter for my car and it works wonderfully. it truely seems like i'm running it directly into the car. i've gone through a few transmitters (including the disgusting iTrip) and this one tops them all and is well worth the money.

Posted by shindelins on January 1, 2006 at 8:56 PM (PDT)

39

Where can 1 buy one ?

CJ

Posted by C.J. on January 3, 2006 at 6:56 AM (PDT)

40

Will the transmitter pull power from the ipod if the car adapter isn't plugged in?

Posted by cochese on January 3, 2006 at 11:49 AM (PDT)

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