The Good The Griffin iTrip Auto SmartScan is an attractive FM transmitter and battery charger for the iPod that can make short work of finding a suitable station for in-car broadcasting.
The Bad The mirrored surface on the Griffin iTrip Auto's display is distracting and nearly illegible during daylight. The iTrip's long cable may be too messy for neat freaks. As the name implies, the iTrip Auto can be used only in your car.
The Bottom Line The Griffin iTrip Auto can only bring distraction and eye strain. Last year's more useable model can be found for half the price.
Griffin iTrip Auto SmartScan
The world has no lack of iPod FM transmitters. Unfortunately, because FM broadcasting technology is tightly controlled by the Federal Communications Commission, the FM transmission performance of this year's crop of iPod FM transmitters is largely unchanged from the previous year.
The Griffin iTrip Auto ($79) is no exception to the parade of vaguely revamped products from 2006. Unfortunately for Griffin, the iTrip Auto Smartscan may actually be a step backward, compared with last year's model.
The Griffin iTrip Auto is essentially one long cable (3.5 feet) with a universal iPod dock connection on one end, a cigarette lighter adapter on the other, and a digital FM tuner right smack in the middle. Unlike the Belkin Tunebase or the DLO TransPod, the perceived benefit of the iTrip Auto is that it doesn't try to provide a sturdy (and usually bulky) docking station for your iPod. Instead, the iTrip's cable allows you to place your iPod wherever is most convenient--whether that's on the passenger seat, in a cup holder, or shoved in a change tray. If you're the type of person who hates messy cables, the iTrip Auto is not the right choice for you.