I was really excited to receive Griffin’s first iPhone FM transmitter in the mail because up until a few months ago I had no way to listen to my music on the road… except by burning CDs, and who does that anymore?
I first used the Griffin FM transmitter while traveling down from north Florida to Miami, a six-hour drive. I was in the passenger seat so I had a chance to mess around with all the controls and devote my full attention to it.
It’s got some cool features, like
- the ability to charge your iPhone
- playback controls on the plug for pausing or skipping songs
- stereo and mono modes (mono is said to produce a stronger signal)
You can learn more from the iTrip AutoPilot manual (PDF).
Griffin iTrip AutoPilot for iPhone – How it works
Once connected to your car’s power socket, the iTrip’s so-called SmartScan will seek out the 3 clearest radio frequencies and program them into the transmitter’s presets.
All you have to do is choose a frequency on the iTrip and then set your car radio to that same station. From there, Griffin’s FM transmitter will broadcast what your iPhone is playing through your car’s speakers… that is, in theory.
As it turns out, Griffin’s FM transmitter for iPhone has worked only 1/3 of the time.
I kid you not, I have spent hours fidgeting with stations and looking for a clear signal, often with no luck. At best, the iTrip AutoPilot will play for 10 minutes and then the signal will go fuzzy with static.
I have tested the AutoPilot in Gainesville, in Orlando and in Miami, and it has never been dependable.
The verdict on Griffin’s iTrip AutoPilot
I wish I could, but I can’t recommend Griffin’s iTrip AutoPilot FM transmitter for iPhone.
I delayed posting this review, because I believe Griffin is a good company and I wanted to give the iTrip AutoPilot a fair chance. But after giving it another shot tonight, it is clear that this thing is just plain unpredictable.
Granted, I have a feeling FM transmitters are generally erratic and unreliable. But for $100, Griffin’s iTrip AutoPilot for iPhone is simply not a risk worth taking.