TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick
Company: Griffin Technologies
The flexible cradle is nothing new to iPod/iPhone ecosystem. Many companies including Griffin have been producing these types of products for quite some time. The TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick is a well constructed product combining a 12 volt adapter with a line-out auxiliary port, rubberized flexible arm, and a configurable 30 pin adapter/cradle.
The TuneFlex is black with a interchangeable cradles system that boasts translucent plastic. The translucent cradle system is a nice touch and improves the overall design aesthetic of the product. Attached to the cradle is a rubberized flexible arm which terminates into the 12 volt adapter. A line-out audio port and gain control knob are located on the 12 volt adapter.
One of the new design elements of the TuneFlex AUX is the SmartClick System. From a design perspective, the SmartClick System includes a smallish oval remote control and Velcro strap for attaching the remote to the steering wheel. The cradle for the remote is magnetic so you can remove the remote and set it on your center console etc.
The fit and finish of the TuneFlex, like all Griffin products, is of the highest quality. Each component fits properly and works as one would expect. Even the packaging was designed to maximize a minimal packaging footprint. I give Griffin high marks for the overall design of the TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick.
As an in-car audio solution for the iPod/iPhone family of products, the basic features include:
* Configurable Cradle System (cradles for most iPod/iPhones included)
* Flexible Steel Arm with Swiveling Cradle
* Charging System with Charge Indicator
* Line-out Audio Port with Gain Control
* (New) SmartClick Remote Control System
* (New) Works with iPhone Technology
For additional information on the TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick, jump to the product page <http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/tuneflex-aux-with-smartclick>.
Installation and setup were a breeze. Simply attach the appropriate cradle adapter, insert the TuneFlex into the 12 volt receptacle, connect the cable to your stereo and the auxiliary port on the TuneFlex, and insert your iPod/iPhone into the cradle (see installation video). You are now ready to Rock & Roll (metaphorically speaking of course).
(or download mp4 version here in higher quality)
As an in-car audio solution for the iPod/iPhone, the TuneFlex performed well. For anyone who has used one of the many RF solutions on the market today, the line-level audio quality of the TuneFlex will sound heavenly. I found the audio quality to be more than acceptable. The line-level audio signal transfered from the 30 pin connecter on my iPhone 3G was faithfully reproduced by my car audio system. Only when the iPhone was paused was there any discernible electronic noise, and this was slight.
The integrated charging system of the TuneFlex worked flawlessly. The ability to charge your iPod/iPhone in between appointments is worth its weight in gold. The charging indicator located on the end of the 12 volt plug, provides a great visual status of where the inserted device is within the charging process (red when connected, amber when charging, and green when charging is finished).
The ability to answer your incoming calls while the iPhone is cradled within the TuneFlex, is possible through the included Works with iPhone technology. One of the problems with the first generation of the iPhone was the cellular radio noise which would bleed through most audio systems. The solution was to place the iPhone in Airplane Mode thus turning off the cellular radio and eliminating the noise and your ability to receive any calls.
With the advent of the iPhone 3G, the Works with iPhone technology was developed to allow users to play their audio and receive calls. Thus, any product adorning the Works with iPhone Logo should theoretically allow the user to have the best of both worlds (iPod functionality and cellular service).
When receiving a call while the iPhone is cradled in the TuneFlex, the music is slowly faded as the iphone waits for you to answer the call. Once the call is answered, you must select the speaker icon on the iPhone incoming call screen. This will route the call through the car audio system speakers. However, the location of the mic on the iPhone renders your voice somewhat muffled and hard to hear by the person calling you. A slight redesign of the cradle housing to expose the mic of the iPhone would be helpful. Maybe a Bluetooth headset or an audio cable with an inline mic would help to mitigate this problem. Sans the mic issue, the TuneFlex performed admirably in this new frontier of, “Works with iPhone” audio systems.
MAKING A GOOD THING BETTER
While the TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick performed well in most areas, a little tweaking of the mic interface would help this product to excel in the crowded space of in-car iPod/iPhone audio systems.
The TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick is a quality product that allows one to take his/her iPod/iPhone in the car and enjoy their ever growing music collection. With the addition of the Works with iPhone technology, one can even receive calls without the dreaded cellular bleed through of previous generation audio systems. Rounding out this in-car audio solution is the SmartClick remote which allows the user to keep his/her hands on the wheel while controlling the critical functions of the iPod/iPhone. Considering the quality, feature set, and implementation of this product, we are giving the TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick an almost there 4 out of 5 in our MyMac Rating System.