Review: Griffin iTrip Pocket
It seems like Griffin Technology has created an iTrip for every iPod ever made, and some for iPods not yet made. In the case of the iTrip Pocket, there’s a new twist on a familiar product. This $50 gadget is one of the tiniest FM transmitters out there.
The iTrip Pocket is about the size of a book of matches, and when used with a second-generation iPod nano, looks like an extension of the iPod itself. Fortunately, the iTrip Pocket can also be used with first-generation nanos and any fourth- or fifth-generation “regular” iPod.
Included with the iTrip Pocket is a small plastic cap that covers the Dock Connector, as well as has a loop in it for use on a keychain (although make sure what keys are next to the iTrip Pocket as this is an easy way to get some scratches). The front of the iTrip features just five buttons: three presets and tuning up/down. A small red LED illuminated to let you know the iTrip is transmitting. The iPod’s display is used to let you know what the transmitting frequency is, as well as to select monaural or stereo output.
Using the iTrip Pocket is a piece of cake, as one just has to plug it in to the bottom of an iPod to start using it. If the default broadcast frequency (87.9) is not clear for you, pressing the left/right buttons on the iTrip let you choose a new one. After a few seconds, the iPod returns to its normal display. Pressing both the left and right buttons at the same time allows you to select monaural or stereo output, depending on if you’d rather have a stronger signal or better sound.
Unfortunately, the iTrip Pocket’s transmission capabilities are on the weaker side. You must select a frequency that is completely clear, as the iTrip Pocket cannot overpower weaker stations. While better than some of its predecessors, the Griffin iTrip Auto, DLO TransDock Micro, and XtremeMac AirPlay Boost provided a clearer signal consistently. If you’re not in a very crowded radio market, phone cards or using the iTrip Pocket in a location where other radio stations aren’t likely to interfere, it should be fine.
The other negative on the iTrip Pocket is the lack of any sort of charging port pass-through. If you plan on using your iPod with the iTrip Pocket, plan on having it fully charged or taking breaks while listening to your music. It does not drain battery life as much as some of the earlier models, but it is something to take into account.
Overall, the iTrip Pocket is a slick product and works fairly well. Despite its rather tiny dimensions and easy-to-use interface, users in a crowded radio market or needing something stronger will find better alternatives.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
Griffin’s newest iTrip is also the tiniest, and mixes simplicity with slightly-better-than-average performance.
Pros: Tiny size, simple controls, uses iPod’s display
Cons: Transmission performance not as good as many similarly-priced alternatives, no way to charge iPod with iTrip Pocket in place