Review: DLO TransDock micro

by on September 7, 2006

When everyone had iPod shuffles on the brain, DLO introduced a product called the TransPod for iPod shuffle. Not much was heard about the device, and after the shuffle became “just another iPod”, but with fewer capabilities, the product seemed to end up on the back burner. That is, until it was adapted.

For $10 more, around $70, the TransDock micro looks nearly identical, but offers something that few other car adapters do—it works with every iPod model (well, models that support USB charging).

TransDock micro
TransDock micro

TransDock micro
TransDock micro (bottom)

TransDock micro
TransDock micro (in use)

The TransDock micro is a somewhat small FM transmitter, with the transmitter sitting just on the end of the cigarette lighter adapter. Two 3.5mm jacks are located on the bottom of the TransDock: one is for connecting the TransDock to a car radio or cassette adapter (line output) and the other is for connecting other audio devices (line input). Although using the line output defeats the purpose of the FM transmitter, it provides some flexibility if you’re taking your iPod from car to car.

Obviously, the TransDock micro is aimed to be direct competition to the iTrip Auto. Although the device looks a lot like its sibling, the TransDock micro includes a Dock Connector-to-USB cable. The difference between this one and the ones that come with iPods is that on the USB end, it includes a number of extra contacts, like the shuffle’s USB connector. These carry the audio signal from the Dock Connector to the TransDock.

A large LCD is located on the front and displays the current frequency, if the iPod is being charged, and what presets you have selected. Speaking of which, the TransDock micro allows for four presets by pressing the two side buttons together. Pressing the buttons individually tunes the TransDock micro.

One potential problem is that the TransDock micro can only be adjusted vertically by tilting it. In some cars (especially those with center consoles or manual transmissions), this might prove to be a problem, at least with seeing the LCD or adjusting frequencies. The other downside is that the USB cable does not seem to charge the iPod when hooked up to the computer (it does synchronize, however).

The actual transmitting abilities of the TransDock micro are on-par with everything else. It worked with our fifth-generation iPod on a trip across Indiana down to Cincinnati with no trouble, even though we left it on 88.5 the entire trip. If you feel the need to adjust, it does offer you .1 MHz step tuning from 88.1 to 107.9. Things got a bit tough once we got into the city, but it worked quite well and didn’t have us reaching for the controls every few minutes.

Overall, the TransDock micro is a pretty good product. Although it is a bit expensive, it is both an FM transmitter, charger, and nabs the line out signal from the iPod for other uses.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

DLO’s TransDock micro is a very flexible FM transmitter, and works just as advertised.

Pros: Fairly strong signal, compact design, usable with regular iPods or shuffles

Cons: None significant

The Facts

4/5Product: TransDock micro
Company: DLO
Platform: iPod (4 4+ 5 M N S)
Price: $69.99

This post has been filed in FM Transmitters, iDevices and Reviews