Review: SendStation smartCharge
Although we received a smartCharge over a year ago, some defects caused it to be postponed. When we received the second revision of it, the problems were fixed, and a Dock Connector cable was included. In that time, the iPod shuffle’s design changed, causing the smartCharge to find a new audience.
The smartCharge is a $25 car charger for any iPod that can charge via USB (this includes the Fourth- and Fifth-Generation iPods, the iPod mini, all iPod nanos, and the First-Generation iPod shuffle. Users of iPod with Dock Connectors will find the included Dock Connector cable to be a nice inclusion, as it can also be used to synchronize the iPod or use it with a USB charger elsewhere.
A white and grey color scheme makes the smartCharge blend in a little less with a car interior than some of its competitors, but when you think about its originally purpose, almost being completely integrated with an iPod shuffle, it makes some sense. To accommodate various car interiors, the smartCharge tilts 72° up or down, allowing it to fit almost anywhere.
One thing that the smartCharge’s Dock Connector cable includes that the stock one does not is an audio signal. By utilizing extra pins in a USB connector, a line-out audio signal is also taken from your iPod (much like the original iPod shuffle) and a line-out jack is provided on the side of the smartCharge for FM transmitters, cassette adapters, or direct connection through an auxiliary jack. By including this capability, one would only need a smartCharge for the best possible sound in their car and to keep an iPod charged.
With a price tag of $5 less than its overheating predecessor, the current smartCharge is a great choice for anyone who wants to put their iPod in their car and have a charger and good audio quality through their car stereo. The included Dock Connector cable is not only a nice inclusion, but it’s also necessary for the line-out feature.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
The smartCharge allows you to charge your iPod in your car, tap into your iPod’s line-out signal without having to connect more than one cable to your iPod.
Pros: Reasonably priced, small design, line-out, removable Dock Connector cable
Cons: None significant