Belkin Australia TuneCast II
- Four presets available, Easy to use, Wind up Headphone jack cord, Works with all MP3 players
- Looks dull, Sound quality isn’t the greatest, Runs on batteries, doesn’t charge your MP3 player
It runs on batteries and looks as dull as a tack, but then again, it works with all MP3 players on the market. If you own an iPod however, we’d advise you to look at other options.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
Belkin's TuneCast II is another in the wide range of FM Transmitters hitting the market. Its main advantage is that it works with any MP3 player, (thanks to a standard headphone jack input) but is let down by a bland and dull design combined with pretty poor reception quality.
Our first major gripe with the TuneCast II is the fact that it runs off two AAA batteries. Yes, we know - this means it doesn't drain your MP3 player battery, but we would rather it did if we didn't have to use batteries for it. There is nothing more frustrating and annoying than having to have to change batteries, for example, during a long trip in the car. We can already hear the kids screams as their favourite song suddenly stops, with it coming an influx of headaches for mum and dad in the front. And considering there are a plethora of accessories on the market that charge our MP3 players whilst they are connected in the car, we feel Belkin's decision to run with batteries is a poor one.
This decision however, may have a lot to do with the fact that the TuneCast II operates via a standard headphone jack port. This means that the unit can be used with any MP3 player on the market. The headphone jack port is attached via a small cable that wraps neatly around the unit and clips in at the top. If you are using the unit with multiple MP3 players, you'll be very pleased with this design; as much as it may come as a shock, not everybody owns an iPod so it's good to see Belkin catering for everyone for a change.
The front of the TuneCast II features a monochrome LCD screen surrounded by controls to the left and right. There is a memory button on the left, which is used to set up to four FM frequencies and Up/Down tuning buttons on the right. The TuneCast II automatically switches on when it is plugged into your MP3 player and from here it's as easy as finding an empty frequency on your car radio and tuning this into the TuneCast II. There are four preset frequencies that can be tuned between 88.1 and 107.9, which means you shouldn't have many problems finding a station. In saying this, we struggled with sound quality; many times during driving the sound would drop out only to return a second or two later and this was a common occurrence wherever we traveled. We realise that transmitting data via FM frequency isn't stable, but other units such as the XrtremeMac AirPlay2 didn't have these problems.
On the bottom of the grey and white (and very dull and bland) TuneCast II, you'll find a DC input, but even if this is connected, it still won't charge your MP3 player. Overall, the TuneCast II may be worth considering if you don't own an iPod, but for the rest of us, there are plenty of other options we'd look at first.
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