The Airplay is an FM Transmitter for the Apple Ipod that allows you to tune in any FM radio to play your iPods music through, without cables.
I had decided in advance without seeing one in person, that I would not buy an Airplay. They looked ugly, had buttons and a screen (which the Apple iPod already has), and for some reason, all the photos I had seen of them, made it look very large.
I have now given up my iTrip in favour of this nifty little FM transmitter for Apple iPod, and here is why…
The XtremeMac AirPlay
The device cost me NZ$74.95 (US$51) from Harvey Norman, who as always, gave me great service, and never questioned me when I asked to return the opened/used iTrip in favour of the Airplay.
Took it home, plugged it into the Apple iPod, and using the device’s own buttons and basic blue-backlit LCD display, tuned it to a station. XtremeMac recommends a volume on the Apple iPod of 50-90%, but I think 70-80% yields the best results. Any more than that and the sound starts to distort; any less, and there is too much FM static.
It defaults to 88.1FM, and goes up to 107.9FM.
There is no software to install, and no tricky workarounds like the iTrip for changing station – it is plug’n’play style technology at its finest.
The XtremeMac AirPlay connected to an Apple iPod
The Airplay worked equally well in the car, and won me over when I took it into my lounge – playing through my home theatre system, it yielded better results than the iTrip, with better range, less static at any given range, and less directional-intolerant.
It still has some background static, but most of the time I prefer to have the Apple iPod docked via cable to the home theatre setup. It is certainly very acceptable for wandering around playing DJ at a party where the guests are not likely to notice the minor static, and you can change the music at will to match the mood without having to dig through your CDs – or worse, have a drunk party guest or 10 look through them. (Give them your Apple iPod instead!!)
I have also reviewed the Griffin iTrip. If was only going to use the device in the car, then I would choose the iTrip for its relative simplicity in most situations. Ultimately though, the iTrip loses out to the Airplay in all areas except the almighty ‘coolness’ that Griffin has mustered up in the iTrip.
The extra ten bucks over the iTrip is justified here, though you might find a better price by shopping around online.
Hopefully by the time I upgrade my Apple iPod, they will have built in Bluetooth and/or WiFi, so forking out for a device you could forget to take with you won’t be necessary.
Value for money
Uses the iPod’s battery power (and not much either)
Good signal strength and quality
Great bottom and top end frequency delivery (bass and treble)