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Mobile Accessories

XtremeMac AirPlay FM Transmitter

Even though it's definitely not one of the more effective FM transmitters we've tested, we liked the AirPlay's minimalist design and decent sound quality.

XtremeMac Airplay FM Transmitter

We aren't huge enthusiasts of FM transmitters. They degrade audio quality, and static, particularly in urban areas, is a fact of life. Unfortunately, FM transmitters are the only choice for many car owners who don't have a cassette deck or a line-in port. One of the coolest-looking devices we've seen to date is the $40 XtremeMac Airplay FM Transmitter for dock-connector iPods, including the third-gen model and the Mini. At 1.25 by 1 by 0.5 inches and 1.1 ounces, the dwarfish AirPlay plugs into the iPod headphone jack and adjacent smart connector. Colored white to match the typical iPod, the AirPlay has a tiny backlit single-line LCD and two gray buttons for adjusting the FM stream; it uses any frequency from 88.1 to 107.9 and gleans it power from the iPod. Unfortunately, it seemed to have a significant effect on the iPod's battery life in our tests. Incredibly simple to use, the AirPlay's beauty is only skin deep. The transmission signal is on the weak side, but sound quality is pretty decent when you maintain a good signal. While it's simple, tiny, and affordable, the iPod-only AirPlay isn't the most effective FM transmitter we've tried.

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