The Groove Transporter II from Cygnett is an attractive unit for connecting your iPhone, iPod, or any other MP3 device to your car stereo via FM radio. The glossy black unit we reviewed had a solid build and complemented the stylish iPhone nicely. While a little on the bulky side, we think the solid finish gives it an edge in the looks department compared to similar devices on the market.
For those who haven't used an FM transmitter before, it's a pretty straight forward exercise: find an unused FM frequency, set that frequency on both the Groove Transporter II and your car stereo, and whatever's on your iPod, iPhone, or MP3 player will come through your car's audio system. Thanks to the Groove Transporter II's memory function, you needn't repeat this little dance every time you hop in the car.
Poking out of the bottom is a iPhone/iPod connector, which not only ferries the sound on its first step towards the airwaves but also charges. This is nice considering the 3G iPhone's battery juice limitations. Individuals who aren't on the train to Jobstown are also catered for thanks to the USB port, which is responsibly only for charging non-Apple players, and a 3.5mm auxiliary jack for sound. With its padded, adjustable cradling arms, the Groove Transporter II should fit any reasonably sized MP3 player.
Included in the package is a small remote control, although unlike on the Kensington LiquidAUX Deluxe, it's a free-standing device that doesn't clip on to the steering wheel. Being loose means that using it while driving might be a bit dangerous. Additionally, it could look like you're using a mobile phone, which is illegal in Australia. On the plus side, it does have the ability to not only play, pause and skip tracks, but also change the volume — a feature that many other remotes fail to do.
During our tests we found the sound quality of the Groove Transporter II to be good, although clearly FM is not quite CD quality, even on the open road. In built-up areas or when stuck in traffic, there were a few instances where we experienced some crackling — an important consideration if you're thinking of using the Cygnett on your commute to and from work.
The downside for some car owners is that the Groove Transporter II may not be compatible with some dashboard configurations. That's because the stem of the cradle which connects to your car's cigarette lighter port is short and inflexible, meaning that the Cygnett could get in the way of the gear stick, handbrake or even your knees.
For the price, the Groove Transporter II is one of the more attractive and easy-to-use FM transmitters on the market. It'll deliver a quick and easy way to connect your music to your car stereo, but you may want to investigate other options that produce better sound quality first. Also, be careful as it may not fit your car's dashboard configuration.