iTrip & inMotion - mini-review

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Pablo, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. Pablo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    Got a 40Gb iPod for Christmas. Needless to say, it's outstanding.

    I did some research on these two products before purchasing. Most were mixed, but I decided to go ahead and spring for both and give them a shot myself.

    First Griffin Technology's iTrip FM Transmitter:

    Neither my wife nor I have a tape player in our vehicles, so a tape adapter was out of the question. I probably would have shied away from one anyways due to my distaste for extraneous wires.

    This thing just works as advertised. I've used it in Houston, and across the state on a trip I took just after New Years. Hardly ever had to change the broadcast settings from 87.9. Sure it's not CD quality, but it beats the hell out of relying on my 6-disc CD changer. Now, I've got my entire CD collection with me. No more worrying about which 6 CDs to put in the car. I can now remove them all from the changer and leave those spaces open for friends who want to play their CDs in my car.

    This also worked very well in my friend's truck on our trip. I rode shotgun and joked that I got my own radio station for Christmas. I played DJ while he was driving and vice-versa.

    For $35, this is a fantastic product. While it may not be quite as clean-sounding as a tape adapter, it more than makes up for it with convenience and ease of use.


    Next Altec Lansing's inMotion speakers:

    I've got a 17" Powerbook at home with an old 3-piece Altec Lansing speaker set (with subwoofer). To save space on the notebook, I keep my ~15 Gb of music on my iPod. I also have my collection mirrored on an old Windows box I use as a file server and have the music available via Rendezvous.

    When I want to play music, I simply stream from the Windows box or connect the iPod. The speakers are far from audiophile quality, but at the same time aren't your average cheapo speakers that come with your store-bought PC. They meet my needs.

    But at work, I do have the previously mentioned cheapo twin mid-range boxes. Regardless of what type of speakers, I needed another cradle and USB cable to connect my iPod to my work PC...both to play music and to charge the iPod.

    I had seen the inMotion...but only on the web. I was hesitant to spend $150 sight unseen. I read the reviews I could find, but the local Apple store didn't have any in stock.

    So my options were to either buy an extra cradle, cable and anything else I'd need to connect to my work PC. So the cradle was $40...and I couldn't figure out if it came with the USB cable and/or AC adapter. I only have USB1.1 at work, and don't believe that I can charge from this. Regardless, it was at least $40.

    The other option was to splurge for the Altec Lansing inMotion speaker system. I was initially drawn to this due to the tight integration with the iPod, ability to take it away from my desk (also works on AA batteries), and familiar quality with Altec Lansing speaker systems.

    Having a little extra Christmas cash, I decided on the inMotion (obviously, or you wouldn't be reading this review, right?).

    It took a few days to come in from Apple. FedEx left in on my doorstep, rang the bell and took off at 6:30 a few nights ago. I don't really blame him as it was getting into the 30s that night. Not bad for most, but this is Houston.

    Anyways...The speakers actually fold out from a hinge on its self-enclosed case. This protects the speakers and allows you to transport the set without fear of damaging the components. The back of the unit (once unfolded) shows a AC input for the included adapter, line-in audio (for aux input or for older iPods), and a line-out for earphones (I guess if your older iPod's line-out is taken up with the adapter. 3rd Generation iPods don't have to worry about this as the sound is carried through the cradle).

    So I plugged it in, dropped the iPod onto the dock-like connector on the base of the speakers. The front of the unit has a power button, as well as +/- volume buttons. These were a nice touch, but it would also have been helpful to have play/pause and forward/reverse buttons on the inMotion. As there are none, these actions must be done on the iPod. Not too big of a problem, but sitting on a desk, it's kind of at a weird angle, so navigating the iPod's menu (again, everything except volume) is a little awkward, as using your forefinger isn't as natural as using your thumb when your iPod is in the palm of your hand.

    Another issue with the angle of having the unit upright on the desk (essentially the same angle as sitting in the cradle that comes with the iPod) is viewing angle. No big deal when connected to your computer, as you can control everything through iTunes. But without, I had to turn the contrast all the way up to be able to read the screen when it's sitting in the cradle. No biggie.

    Sound is very nice for something this size. The specs from the site are:

    Whatever. I'm no audiophile or engineer, so these numbers don't mean a whole lot to me. For a clock radio type replacement, this is a great solution. Nice sound, good volume (goes higher than I'd want to at the office), and small size so it doesn't take up too much precious desk space.

    The only complaint I have as far as sound is that the speakers are so close together and are not detachable, so you really can't isolate the left and right channels, so don't expect a surround-sound experience from this. The higher you can turn it up, and the farther you can get from it, the less of an issue this becomes, but at low volume and about three feet from my head, it's pretty noticeable.

    Overall a good product. Only real gripe is the price. Yeah, I knew what it cost before I bought it, but it's a little steep for what you get. If you've got the money - great - buy it. It would be a lot more palatable in the $75-$100 price range. Taking into account the portability takes some of the sting out of it. No questioning the quality, but if you start into a cost/benefit analysis, the shine starts coming off a little bit. Besides, tight integration with hardware/software is part of the reason I moved (back) to the Mac platform a while back...and I understand you pay somewhat of a premium for that.

    All-in-all, both are great products that I would highly recommend. But as with everything, YMMV and you must do your own research to figure out what best fits your needs.
     
  2. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #2
    Now that you have had it for a month, what are your impressions? Do you regret not spending $50 each on speaker sets that you could have at work and home?

    Having the 20gb iPod this seems like a good solution for those of us that travel. I also like the idea of music to put me to sleep. So it would be nice to have at home. as well as the office and the road.
     

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