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Gear4 AirZone FM Dock
When we first looked at the Griffin iTrip, reviewed way back in 2003 would you believe, we were fairly enamoured with both it and the concept it represented. Being able to listen to the music imprisoned within your iPod via a car radio is clearly a great extra feature to add to everyone's favourite MP3 player.
Of course times have changed over the last four or five years and the concept which so wowed us back then, when the iPod wasn't such a ubiquitous device, seems fairly common place today. Nonetheless, as the driver of a car which isn't among the increasingly large number sporting a built-in iPod dock, line-in jack or similar and the owner of an iPhone, I can still appreciate the benefit of being able to listen something other than Just a Minute with my car's radio.
The most recent iPod FM transmitter we looked at was the Moosik CK3000-HD and although we decided the name was utterly ridiculous, we also concluded that if you were in the market for an FM transmitter for your iPod then that was the one to get. Today we're looking at a contender for such a recommendation, the Gear4 AirZone FM Dock.
If simplicity were all that was required to garner a recommendation then the AirZone would certainly be in line for one. At what I shall consider the top of the device is the iPod dock connector, at what presumably must be considered the bottom is a mini-USB port for charging the iPod with the device still plugged in (a notable feature regardless the AirZone's main capability) and on the front sit three buttons.
Pressing the central M button changes the function of the other two. By default pressing the right cycles up through the AirZone's four pre-set frequencies and the left the opposite. Press M once and these buttons allow you to choose what frequency said preset is actually set to. Pressing M a further time saves that selection. Incidentally, these buttons all have a reassuring feedback, both tactile and audible. It's hard to convey in words but they really are lovely to press.
On the subject of frequencies, the range of the AirZone is from 87.6 to 107.9 FM, meaning that unless you often find yourself driving the entire length of the country regularly via several major cities you should be able to find a frequency free from interference that you can stick to - and then plug that into both your radio and AirZone's presets.