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Griffin iTrip Autopilot FM Transmitter for iPhone 3G/3GS Review

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Do you listen to your iPhone or iPod with your headphones while driving in the car? Personally, I don’t but I’ve seen many people do it. Not only is that an inconvenient way to listen to your music it also looks a little weird when you pull up to a red light. The next best thing is to obviously get a FM transmitter for your iPhone! This brings us to today’s Griffin iTrip Autopilot for the iPhone 3G/3GS review!

What is the Griffin iTrip Autopilot?

This little device achieves two goals: first, it will allow you to transmit music from your iPhone to any open FM radio station so you can listen to it in your car; secondly, it will also charge your iPhone at the same time! The quality really depends on the clarity of the open FM radio station you’re able to find, but the Autopilot does the hard work for you. We’ll get onto that later in the review.

Here are the main features of the Griffin iTrip Autopilot:

– AutoPilot controls iPod playback from your dash or console’s cigarette lighter with the touch of a finger.
– Industry-leading SmartScan does all the work — scans the radio dial for the three best frequencies then saves them automatically to 3 programmable presets for easy recall at the touch of a button.
– New SmartSound Plus technology delivers clear sound under real-world conditions.
– High-contrast display is easy to read.
– Three-stage light ring changes color to indicate the charging status of your iPod.
– RDS technology shows song information on RDS-enabled car radio display.

So How is the Sound Quality?

Setting up the iTrip Autopilot is dead easy. Plug in the cigarette lighter inside your car, then attach the other end to your iPhone. Then, on the iTrip you let the SmartScan feature hunt out the best frequencies for you. Tune your radio to those FM stations, launch some music on your iPhone and voila! You’re listening to your entire music library in the car!

The music quality is pretty good if you find a clear FM station out of the city. Obviously it’s not the best (beware audiophiles) but you can listen to all your songs in the car! If the station isn’t clear, you can also rearrange the position of the iTrip to get in tune with your car’s antenna. I had no problems using the device in Vancouver. The iTrip’s sound quality will depend on your car’s FM antenna, availability of open FM stations, and where you live.

What I liked about the Autopilot was the cigarette lighter controls. Being able to pause and skip forward/reverse is very handy when you’re driving. Also, having my iPhone 3G being charged at the same time is awesome too. If you don’t have a music library, just install FlyCast and stream online radio using your iPhone’s data! There are pretty good stations out there. This is when you can take advantage of that 6GB data plan folks (or choose a new value data pack to save money)!

Conclusion: You Want This in Your Car

The Griffin iTrip Autopilot not only works for the iPhone 2G/3G/3GS, but it works for pretty much all iPods too. Check the website for compatibility. The retail price on this unit is $99CDN and I’ve seen it on sale at the Apple store and other electronics stores too. It does seem a bit steep but if you factor in FM transmitter, touch controls, and the ability to charge your iPhone in an all in one device that might urge you to buy it. I’ve tested it and I love it–highly recommended (add this to the Top iPhone accessories Wishlist this Christmas!). Check out the gallery below:

iTrip AutoPilot with SmartScan Technology

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