Review: DLO TransPod 2003
Pros: A good all-in-one solution that compliments the look of the ipod and offers flexibility in choosing FM frequencies.
Cons: At a retail price of close to $70, I wish the sound quality was a little better.
It has always been the problem that needed a solution. How could iPod users utilize their handheld jukeboxes while in their car. How can iPod users hear their music while driving, without endangering themselves or their passengers? I am pleased to say my friends, that the TransPod from Netalog is the answer. The TransPod is touted as, “The All in One iPod-Specific solution” and it certainly delivers. Imagine driving cross-country and never having to listen to the same song twice and never once having to plug your ipod in to recharge. With the TransPod, you can do just that. With it’s Firewire autocharger, you will never run out of battery power while listening to your music. And with its broad range of frequencies, the FM transmitter will work in big cities like New York and small towns like Estes Park, Colorado. Let’s break down this product.
The TransPod comes in a neatly and securely packaged cardboard box which slides into a cardboard sleeve. All of the pieces you need to set up your TransPod are here. Directions to set up and use the product are also included on a double-sided black and white sheet of paper. In addition, a snapshot of the kit contents makes it easy to follow along with the installation process.
This unit comes with everything that you need to mount it securely in your car. I feel confident that it could easily fit any vehicle based on the variety of parts included. I have chosen not to use the dash mount materials and have instead used the adjustable lighter mounting arm so the unit is sticking out from my cigarette lighter and my iPod is comfortably sitting where I can see it.
This is how you use the product. With your iPod secured in the Base Dock (sliding it in, it is securely locked by the retractable security shelf, and the headphone and firewire jacks are plugged in) and the base dock connected to the lighter in your car, you turn on your radio and turn on your iPod. There are 3 frequency settings to choose from: L, M, and H. The L setting covers frequencies from 88-94. M is 94-102 and H is 102-108. This is significant because in your specific location at any time there are some frequencies that are unused. You tune your radio to one of those unused frequencies, switch your Band selector to correspond with that number, and use the fine tuner to make your music nice and clear. This broad range of frequencies blows the iRock and the iTrip who both have a set of frequencies to choose from, out of the water.
I plugged in my TransPod and tested it out for 5 different trips. This trial occurred while driving both on highways and smaller roads. Everytime I was able to quickly find an unused frequency and hear my music. Because the music is being played through an FM radio tuner, you will never hear the high-quality digital sound like you would listening with your headphones. But the sound quality was adequate. There were no problems adjusting the volume on my iPod, and the sound seemed to hold up when I cranked the volume on my radio. I do not feel that the sound quality beats that of Griffin Technologies iTrip. But with a built-in charger, it might be worth the sacrifice.
There were a few details about this product that bothered me. They are few and they are minor but nonetheless I should mention them. First off, owning an iPod with a firewire cover, this is more difficult to get the iPod into the base dock. This is by no means this products fault and if they come up with a model for the new iPods it would be a non-issue. But it is tricky to get it locked in. Also I wish the switch for the frequencies had clicks to give me confirmation that I have indeed switched it to the right setting. The switch is somewhat loose and sometimes I had problems figuring out whether I was set on L or M. I opted to just forget M altogether and just move the switch all the way to the left for L and all the way to the right for H. Finally, based on the position of the lighter in my car, I had some difficulties using the stick shift. This can be remedied easily by using the dash mount kit. Like I said, very minor things.
Retailing at over $60, this is a great product for those who take a lot of road trips or are in the car a lot. You have to figure that buying an FM transmitter and a car charger separately would cost about the same but you would be dealing with more cords to clutter up your car. The sound quality is adequate but the real selling point to me with this product is the flexibility of finding the right frequency and the built-in charger. The product is secure, attractive looking, and well manufactured.