Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fix Your Thinking Review: DLO TransDock Micro

Fix Your Thinking

Review Of:

DLO TransDock micro

From The DLO website:

Enjoy your iPod’s music in your car while you keep your iPod fully charged with the DLO TransDock micro. The DLO TransDock micro is based on the award-winning design of the DLO TransPod. It plays any iPod’s music over any car stereo.

The TransDock micro is the most flexible, cost-effective car solution for the iPod you can buy. It comes with a removable USB charge and sync cable that can be used at home or on the road. That’s an added $20 value! TransDock micro also features a beautiful black and white color scheme that matches any car’s interior as well as your iPod.

The TransDock micro broadcasts the iPod’s music to any FM radio frequency from 88.1 to 107.9 while keeping it charged. The new TransDock micro is a complete iPod solution for your car, yet it requires no installation. This makes it a great alternative to expensive custom installations. Its all-in-one functionality and superior sound quality elevate the TransPod micro above lower-end, bottom-mounting FM transmitters.

Like the TransPod, the TransDock micro also features an auxiliary input, allowing it to broadcast the audio from any MP3 player or audio device like an iBook, MacBook Pro, a Sony PSP gaming system or a travel DVD player. The DLO TransDock micro also gives you the choice of connecting to your car stereo with a cassette adapter or mini plug cable with it's auxiliary line output.

DLO gave me a sample of this unit approximately 1 month before it's release in April of this year. I wanted to provide a different type of review. So, I wanted to give the TransDock micro a long term test and show you a couple of unique uses and features I have discovered. (Don't read as; excuse for being belated).

One of the most unique features of the TransDock micro is that is has a USB connection rather than an iPod Dock Connection to charge and transmit the audio from your iPod. This means that you can charge and transmit audio to your car radio from ALL iPods - including the iPod Shuffle.

This also allows you to charge any small electronic device that has a corresponding USB charger cable such as PDAs, cellphones, and bluetooth headsets.

One of the more unique uses I found for the TransDock micro is to use a Car to Home AC adapter (as pictured above) and transmit to my home stereo. This way, you can use anyone's iPod for music in your home without a dock for your home. Pretty nifty! This also means that you don't have to have a mess of cables going into your home stereo.

The audio transmitted from the TransDock micro is excellent. Tuning to a proper open channel on your FM radio is a breeze. Most likely you won't have to read the instructions to be up and running. You can read about the quality of the unit in just about any review, I want to focus on some uniqueness to this adapter.

One other unique use I have found is to plug this in to a Home AC adapter as mentioned and transmit the audio to a Griffin RadioShark. Of course, DLO will most likely think that mentioning their competition (favorably) in a review of their product is sacrilege - it IS a cool use of this product. The RadioShark picks up the TransDock quite nicely. It's also nice not to have to use up yet another USB port for my iPod or have to plug in an audio cable that may not be handy.

Another unique use was to use my HP iPaq cellphone that has GPS and provides turn by turn directions to your destination over my car stereo. I could also store MP3's on the iPaq via SD card and listen to them through the car stereo as well. Or, I could have my cellphone calls over the car stereo - more or less giving a very high end function of luxury cars.

I tried the Kensington iPod Shuffle adapter to see if I could give the TransDock micro a dock connector (having to also use a USB A to A adapter) ... but it gave off feedback. This is an unnecessary solution though as DLO provides a nice USB to dock connector for you. I just wanted to try it anyway!

Overall I love the TransDock micro and think it to be the best solution for FM radio transmission because of the many other uses it has. It has held up well despite being bumped a few times and moved to many different cars and to my home adapter.

[NOTE] The description says transmission on channels 88.1 to 107.9 - my review unit can also transmit on 87.9. I'm not sure if shipping units provide that functionality. Only about half of all car radios support 87.9FM.

Thanks again to Digital Lifestyle Outfitters' Andrew Green & Jeff Grady for providing me with the review sample.

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