Belkin TuneBase FM
Belkin is now out with its TuneBase FM with hands-free. Nothing beats a fitted iPod/iPhone in your car with built-in holders, track info, 30-pin dock connectors and album artworks, but the next best thing, when that kind of integration isn’t possible, is the TuneBase FM. You can use this with mostly just about any iPod, but it’s specifically designed for the iPhone, and it’s amazing because it does pretty much everything you want.
You can charge your iPhone; there is also a USB port on the stalk. But the main feature is the FM transmitter – which broadcasts your iPhone’s music to the stereo of your car. It’s not only smart but also efficient – and it scans the airwaves to pick one that is totally clear of any interference. The frequency is displayed on the rotatable screen – and all you need to do is tune your car’s stereo to that particular frequency. The RDS capable stereos display TuneBase – as the station name- that’s a pretty nice touch!
On long journeys, you would probably have to do a bit of rescanning and retuning, but that apart, the audio quality is pretty clean, and there is a 3.5 mm jack for option direct connection.
There is a large button with a handy chin, this allows you to grip and press it easily. You can play/pause, skip tracks and backtrack with pretty much the same clicks you’d have used on an iPhone headset. You can also go for Voice Control. There is a bit of struggle to pick up your voice especially during motorway speeds – but this works nonetheless.
You can also do hands-free calling, any playing music is paused when a call comes in. the audio is channeled through the speakers of your car. The audio quality is pretty reasonable, albeit a little quiet.
This new gadget allows you listen to your iPod or iPhone music, and also to talk hands-free through your car stereo system. What TuneBase FM does is basically this – it connects through your FM radio receiver, with no special installation or wiring – so in effect you get stereo sound for not only your playlist but also for your calls. Your calls and music are transmitted over the strongest FM frequency available. ClearScan technology is used to find the clearest signal, at just the push of a button. You can adjust your stereo to the station, and the rest is done by TuneBase. Plus, there is an easy-to-read display; this allows you to see which station is being used.
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With a push of a button, you can make and receive calls. We’ve already mentioned that if your iPhone is playing music when a call comes, the music automatically fades out to make way for the call. Then you hear the caller’s voice on speakerphone reasonably loudly.
You must remember that there is a rather innovative cradle, which holds your device tightly and securely – while you drive. It swivels horizontally for easy viewing of your device’s GPS features, like turn-by-turn directions. Plus, it’s also easier to watch videos!