Review: DLO TuneStik
While Griffin Technology has carved out almost every market niche by offering iTrips in all shapes and sizes, some wondered whether or not DLO would be able to keep up. DLO has, and, in fact, is offering a bit more in their latest product, the TuneStik, but is it just another FM transmitter?
Actually, no. The $60 TuneStik combines a rather small FM transmitter (a little smaller than the original iTrip or current crop of Dock Connector accessories) and a RF remote. Combined with your favorite car charger or AC adapter, this promised to be the perfect setup for your car, home, office, or anywhere else.
If DLO had some sort of “product matrix” like Apple does, the TuneStik might be in the same class as the Mac mini. With the TransDock as the “ultimate” option for those who want something almost permanent in their car, and the TransDock Micro for those who want something for frequent use, the TuneStik is designed to be a device that can serve multiple purposes.
As it does not have a cigarette lighter charger for car use, it relies on your iPod’s battery. Fortunately, it features a Dock Connector pass-through on the bottom, so you can use any car charger with it if you plan on long trips. The pass-through also allows use of devices that turn the Dock Connector into an auto line out, allowing you to still use the remote functionality in cars that have a direct line in or tape deck.
FM transmitting is now taken care of on-screen, like many products nowadays. Bringing up the functionality to change stations (or presets) is done by pressing a button on the remote and then adjusting appropriately. In our tests, the TuneStik’s audio quality was not as good as the TransDock Micro or iTrip Auto, but better than the iTrip Pocket. It seemed that it was not able to completely block out distant weak stations in our crowded radio market, but did manage to provide adequate listening with a little static. For people who can find plenty of free space on their radio dial, the TuneStik should be more than adequate.
As for the other functionality of the TuneStik, the remote, we were pretty happy. Included with the remote is a steering wheel holder that attaches via Velcro. Buttons are available to skip tracks, play/pause, adjust the volume, bringing up the FM transmitter settings, and turning the iPod’s backlight on or off. It worked well in our tests and we didn’t notice any problems with the signal.
The key selling point for the TuneStik is its versatility. Although the FM transmitter is not as powerful as some of its siblings, it would be a good choice for the user who wants their iPod in their car sometimes, but could use the remote in other situations. By justifying this as two devices for the price of one, the TuneStik is quite an attractive product, especially if you live in an area where FM transmitters don’t have trouble.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
DLO’s newest FM transmitter is tiny, has a useful remote, but is not as strong as other products.
Pros: Small size, Dock Connector pass-through, RF remote
Cons: FM transmitter could have a stronger signal