Pros: A simple car charger that works, connecting without issues to our test car’s power outlet and providing nine feet of maximum cord extension, neatly coiled into a two-foot length. Thin Dock Connector plug is highly compatible with iPod cases, and certain new iPod accessories from XtremeMac. Available in white or black colors, at a reasonable price.
Cons: No audio output port or other functionality, which can be extremely limiting for users of 5G iPods and nanos. Not compatible with 5G/nano accessories from some other companies.
With automotive iPod chargers now a commodity, it seems like everyone’s now releasing simple devices that recharge your iPod’s battery while you’re on the road. XtremeMac’s new Car Charger for iPod nano, iPod, and iPod mini ($20) is an example of this trend, offering a competent cable that plugs into both an iPod’s Dock Connector port and the cigarette lighter power port on any car. A small power light on the bottom of the power bulb lets you know that power’s running through it.
There are three noteworthy positives to the Car Charger: first, it’s available in two colors, black or white, to meet the iPod- or car-matching needs of users. Second, its nine-foot-plus cable is coiled down to roughly two feet, providing a much greater maximum length than some competing options without having all of their dangling wire. Third, the Dock Connector plug is one of the smallest and sleekest we’ve seen, and thereby compatible with virtually every case we’ve tested, save those marked otherwise. As a neutral point, and no surprise here, it worked properly in our testing, recharging iPods we connected without any complalnt or issue.
There’s also one negative. As we’ve mentioned in other charger reviews, the release of Apple’s latest iPods has rendered charging-only devices almost anachronistic, as there’s now only one iPod port – the bottom – for accessories. Connecting the Car Charger to a 5G iPod or nano prevents you from connecting other devices you may own, such as Griffin’s latest iTrip. XtremeMac has an answer for that: its competing FM transmitter product AirPlay2 has a pass-through Dock Connector port, so you can daisy-chain the iPod to the AirPlay2 and the AirPlay2 to the Car Charger. That’s great if you want to buy AirPlay2, but not if you want other options.
In our view, and as we’ve expressed in other reviews, the smarter purchase for iPods going forward is an multifunction charger that handles audio output and charging, such as Belkin’s Auto Kit (iLounge rating: B+) or SiK’s imp (iLounge rating: B+), or better yet something that does both of those things and also handles mounting, like TEN’s flexibleDock (iLounge rating: A). Like the other affordable but simple car chargers we’ve reviewed, XtremeMac’s Car Charger earns our flat B recommendation, but for a little extra money, you can do better.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod 3G, 4G/color/photo, 5G, nano, mini