Belkin TuneFM for iPod | iLounge

Reviews

1

does anyone know if this will work with an iSkin 30gig for video????? It says that it has a removable "cap", should i say, to work with cases, such as the iskins

Posted by applefrk@hotmail.com on April 17, 2006 at 7:58 PM (PDT)

2

Is it only available in black?

Posted by meiji on April 29, 2006 at 10:04 PM (PDT)

3

Does anyone know if this actually has a good, tight-fitting connection to the iPod or falls off if you pick up the iPod like the AirPlay2? Also, does it work anywhere near the antenna, or do you have to wave the thing around like the AirPlay2?

Posted by MPLB on June 8, 2006 at 6:12 AM (PDT)

4

After getting a FMCup and being quite unsatisfied with the static, I picked up the TuneFM for $10 less, and couldn't be happier with it. IT stays on just fine, at least so far, and has great reception in my car's cupholder. I only saw black, and I don't know about the iSkin.

Posted by gregoe86 on June 13, 2006 at 8:04 PM (PDT)

5

My frist impressions of this device have been good. That being said, I may be too much of an audio quality snob to keep it, as it still "sounds like a radio adapter."

I purchased this as I recently got a Mazda 6 (rear roof antenna) and can no longer the combo Belkin Auto Kit + Tape Adapter. I am using the TuneFM with a 60GB Video iPod. I live in the metro Phoenix area and tune to 87.9.

A few good things to note. This is the best sounding radio adapter I've used... and I've used old Belkin TuneCasts and iTrips. I'm impressed this has a volume control. When sound check drops the output level, this thing can compensate.

A few annoyances. It still sounds like a radio adapter; the sound quality is acceptable, but not perfect. The device works best with EQ off. If I turn on EQ, (Rock for Rock songs, R&B for R&B songs) even if I adjust down the volume, I'll hear the dreaded "hiss" on the end of s's and clipping on the cymbals.

Also odd, twice in three days, for reasons unknown to me, the signal is overpowered by something else... (possibly by other similar, stronger devices?) As far as I know, there is nothing broadcasting on 87.9 here.

To try to answer MPLB's first question, it seems to be a tight fitting connection. I've never seen an AirPlay2 to make a comparison. There is a small plastic adapter to use if your iPod is not in a case or in a case with no bottom. To the second question, in stereo mode, you will get some interference (like any radio adapter in the city), but I've been using mine in the cupholder without issue thus far.

Posted by amp300 on June 15, 2006 at 3:40 PM (PDT)

6

How does the TuneFM compare to the Kensington FM Digital Transmitter? My Kensington was stolen from my car yesterday and I need to replace it.

I used the Kensington for several months and was very happy with it. There was very little static even when competing with broadcast stations. The sound quality was surprisingly good with impressive stereo separation and a dynamic range. I felt that it lived up to it's iLounge review that stated, "Kensington’s sound is so good, in fact, that we flipped back and forth between the radio and a simultaneously connected Sony cassette adapter, and though the Sony had an edge (mostly in base-level noise), the difference between the two was smaller than we’ve ever heard before. "

I am tempted to buy the TuneFM because of its price and its ability to be used outside of the car. However, the review did not seem as confident and optimistic as the one written about the Kensington. I am concerned about the short range, but it's an acceptable compromise if the quality is excellent within 5 feet. Since the TuneFM made no reference to the Kensington, I don't have any frame of reference.

Does anyone have experience with both the TuneFM and the Kensington Digital FM Transmitter? Or, can anybody offer more real-world experience with the TuneFM.
•Is there an issue with static?
•Is there an issue with interference (or drop off) when used in a car?
•How well does it compete with broadcast stations in a crowded spectrum?
•Is the sound rich and dynamic or flat and hollow?
•How bad is the sibilance (exaggerated ‘s’ sounds)?

Any thoughts, observations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by silentJ on June 17, 2006 at 10:52 PM (PDT)

7

Does anyone know if this unit works for the iPod 3G. The FM connection looks like it fits the standard iPod connection. - Reason being is that I don't want to buy another iPod just so I can listen to my music in the car when my 3g 15gig works fine. Thanks in advance.

Posted by Ndrooo on July 11, 2006 at 12:06 PM (PDT)

8

i live in the US. if i turn it to japan settings, so that i can get the coveted 87.9 mHz frequency, would it work?1

Posted by mrmojorisingi on August 10, 2006 at 6:39 PM (PDT)

9

Ndrooo I'm pretty sure it doesn't work with the 3G iPod... I think it has something to do with the powersource and dock connector stuff. (perhaps I'm wrong, but I think there's a reason why.)

I've got a 3G 40 GB ipod that I use the old lipstick style iTrip (a fantastic portable FM tuner that I've used since one week after I bought my 3G iPod) and I've got a new 5G 60 GB video iPod that I unfortunately have to by a new transmitter for.

I've got my eye on this one, because of the rating from here, (and it's got both portable transmitter and car charger) but I'm also on the watch for comments on quality. The most recent iTrips seem to be getting lots of bad feedback from users (about buzzing) so I'm going to take a gamble and try this one.

Posted by snowbutterfly in Winnipeg on August 16, 2006 at 9:57 AM (PDT)

10

Can this tuner/charger be connected to my 5th gen 60 gb iPod while still in its case? My case is the Pods Plus Aluminum V2 (http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/ipod/review/pods-plus-aluminum-v2-case-for-ipod-video)

Posted by HiHoSilver on September 26, 2006 at 10:51 AM (PDT)

11

I bought one and the answer to my question above is "Yes." The transmitter does connect with the case on. However, the sound from mine was awful. I don't know if I got a bad transmitter or what, but I couldn't get this to play in my car without static. I was real disappointed & got a refund. I settled for the Phillips cassette adapter from Walmart ($9.44) and the sound was 10 times better.

Posted by HiHoSilver on October 1, 2006 at 8:08 AM (PDT)

12

Can someone give me an idea of how much the FM transmitter connector sticks out without the sizer plate? I'm trying to figure out if this will work with my new case. Thanks!

Posted by T1Panda on October 8, 2006 at 6:30 PM (PDT)

13

When I upgraded from my 3G to 5G iPod, I debated between the Belkin TuneFM for iPod (with car charger) or sticking with Griffin and getting a new iTrip. Belkin won out because of the iPodlounge rating and also because it came with the car charger for a good price.

However after receiving it, attaching it to my iPod, and testing it in my car, I was immediately disappointed.

Belkin's TuneFM slipped very easily off the iPod (I have an iSkin EvO case for it with a flap that accommodates the dock connections) and would come off if I even moved it slightly, causing the tuner to "re-tune" every time it detached. This made for changing songs a pain.

This "looseness" of the transmitter also changed the way I have to carry my iPod in my purse, as the transmitter would fall off somewhere and I'd constantly have to dig for it when I got back to my car. It's very compact (which is good) but I was used to carrying both transmitter and iPod attached for easy access with my 3G and (old-skool, lipstick-style) iTrip. This also worried me, as I had a feeling it just might fall out of my purse by accident and I wouldn't notice until it was too late.

A couple of days ago, just as I had anticipated, the transmitter fell out of my purse, so I ended up buying the Griffin iTrip Black. AND, ONCE AGAIN, ALL WAS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD.

Griffin's iTrip was what I should have stuck with: there was less static in my car compared to the Belkin, which I would have to switch stations quite often to avoid fuzziness. Also the iTrip, even though it may be a little more bulky than the TuneFM, was much more snug with the iPod, and in my case less likely to be lost in my purse.

Even better, I just plugged in the Belkin's car charger (that came with the transmitter) into the iTrip and now I do not have to buy a new charger. (Huzzah!)

I suppose I am just use to the Griffin Transmitters, but I have to say I wish I didn't go through the long wait of trying to get the Belkin off of eBay and just gone right out and bought the iTrip. Would have save me a lot of anxiety.

That being said, I did end up finding the original Belkin transmitter - but I leave it now in the car for emergencies. The iTrip is the one I carry arround with me and I'll stick to Griffin from now on, despite the reviews.

Posted by snowbutterfly in Winnipeg on October 25, 2006 at 8:31 PM (PDT)

14

Does anyone know if there is a list of likely FM stations in my zip code for my TuneBase FM Transmitter? Sirius radio's website has a search engine that does this

Posted by daffy173 on December 28, 2006 at 10:07 AM (PDT)

15

To answer the Evo3 skin question, if you take off the collar around the Tune FM's connector it fits just fine. I've got an Evo3 skinned 5g 30gb that I'm using with the de-collared Tune FM and the connector seats easily and has a solid, grippy connection with the iPod.

Again, the key if you're using the Tune FM with a case of any reasonable thickness (like the Agent 18, Evo3, etc.) is to *make sure to take off the connector collar*. Otherwise you'll wind up having the same problems that snowbutterfly did, and pass on a perfectly good fm transmitter.

Posted by novaluna on January 6, 2007 at 11:41 AM (PDT)

16

Has anyone experienced a battery drain with the Belkin TuneFM used at home? I am only getting about 2 hours per charge for spoken word playback.

Posted by aefre on January 20, 2007 at 10:37 AM (PDT)

17

Just got mine today. Overall:love it.

Cons:
-Couldn't get my radio autotune to pick up the signal due to the weak signal. Have to manually tune to the frequency. But once you get the frequency, the audio quality never hiss or fade anymore.
-the connector is loose without a lock like the ipod sync cable or nyko audio cable.

Pros:
-sound quality is comparable to the nyko audio cable connected to RCA. I had this setup on my previous car when i decided to buy a USD250 cd player plus the USD30 Nyko audio cable. My new car's radio is custom built for the car, thus i cannot change it. But still, I get similar audio quality using this USD50 radio adapter. It's either this, or get the USD200++ CD changer adapter to Ipod, which also provide track control from the radio control buttons on the steering. Not worth the extra though.
-i like the fact that it charges my ipod while i'm using it. The nyko cable only provided audio connection, thus when i ran out of juice, i ended up having to listen to boring radio stations.
-this product is gonna stay with me for at least 2 years before i decide to find another solution. Good job Belkin!

Posted by kandaq on March 4, 2007 at 8:57 PM (PDT)

18

I was excited when I found this thing, and bought it on the spot because of the high iLounge rating. As much as there is to like about it, mine is going back to the store.

Pros:
- Separate charger and transmitter allow use in both car and home.
- Transmitter is so small it fits in my wallet. I've sworn off locking my car, so this is fantastic.
- Charger uses a generic USB connection -- the same kind as my last four cell phones. If I kept this thing, I could chuck my bulky Blackberry charger.
- Clear sound, in the unlikely event that there are no adjacent stations.

Cons:
- Too loose! The dock connector comes out when you brake, turn a corner, touch the iPod, or look at it funny.
- Weird interface problem: If you hit pause to retune the transmitter, the damn thing signals the iPod to unpause.

I was willing to tolerate the looseness; the price was right, and I love that I could charge the ipod, then unplug the power and charge my phone without interrupting transmission. Sadly, the pause issue is a dealbreaker. I make one or two 400-mile drives each month, and use the time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. Since no podunk southern town is complete without eight country stations, six rap/r&b stations and four mariachi stations, each trip requires at least two retunes on crowded, unfamiliar dials. Somebody's boneheaded design decision adds a bunch of irritating, imprecise rewinds to the frustrating task of finding a usable frequency.

If the next version of this device eliminates the software problem and adds a dock clip, I'm all over it. For now, though, I'm done with FM transmitters... they don't work inside the city anyway. Next stop: the TEN flexibleDock and a cassette adapter. Wish me luck!

Posted by kexline on May 30, 2007 at 2:45 PM (PDT)

19

Has anyone had problems using the TuneFM in a minivan, where the antenna is in a back window? I could measure, but I bet it's right around 5-6 feet from the front of the car where the iPod would be. Is that going to cause problems? Will I have to be very careful to position the iPod as far back as possible to manage having the antenna in the back like that?

I don't want to buy this product (which otherwise sounds like what I need) and then find out it doesn't work well in minivans with the antenna in the back.

Thanks!

Posted by shannon0001 on August 3, 2007 at 4:40 PM (PDT)

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