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Review - TuneDeck for iPod nano
Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 at 12:00 PM - by
So-called "premium" FM transmitters for iPods have been around for a couple years now, with some models commanding price tags north of $80 to pump music to your car stereo, but cassette deck adapters have remained surprisingly 1990's-like. Given that a quality deck and adapter will beat the pants off an FM transmitter any day, we never understood the lack of more iPod-oriented solutions (a regular adapter dressed up in white plastic doesn't count, guys), but we're happy to see that Belkin shares our position and did something about it, recently releasing the TuneDeck for iPod nano.
Belkin TuneDeck for iPod nano
The TuneDeck is an ingeniously simple idea: a typical plastic tape adapter is fixed with a hard plastic piece that protrudes about two inches and connects to a cradle for your iPod nano. Drop your nano into the dock-connected cradle and it sits securely right by your radio controls. It's an elegant solution that finally does away with the long wire that accompanies most standard tape adapters.
An included car power adapter connects to the bottom of the TuneDeck and provides optional charging capabilities for your iPod nano. When connected, the power adapter also adds functionality to the TuneDeck, automatically pausing your iPod nano when your car is turned off. On its own, however, the TuneDeck will continue to play your iPod nano even when the car and stereo are off.
Our only major gripe regarding the TuneDeck lies in its limited flexibility, literally speaking. The iPod nano cradle can pivot about 20 degrees to the right or left to provide a more opportune viewing angle for its user, but that's it. Given that the TuneDeck will invariably block some sort of display or controls in most cars, it would be ideal if the cradle could also rotate, as it does iwth the TuneBase.
The Bottom Line
For cars lacking a direct iPod connection, cassette adapters are the next best solution for connecting your iPod, delivering sound quality that is noticeably richer and clearer than even the best FM transmitters can. The TuneDeck delivers everything one could expect from it, and is the ideal solution for iPod nano owners with a tape deck in their car. Just make sure that propping the nano up by your stereo won't block any displays or controls you might want easy access to.
While it sports a slick design, the TuneDeck prevented us from inserting or ejecting CDs, as well as
compromising the cup-holder in our Subaru WRX, without first removing the iPod nano.
Just The Facts
Pros: slick design, excellent audio quality, includes car charger
Cons: may obstruct car displays or buttons, limited positioning options
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