Belkin TuneDeck for iPod nano Review

If your car has a cassette deck, a cassette adaptor is often the easiest – not to mention the least expensive, with some adaptors available for as little as £5 – way to get your iPod’s audio to play through your car stereo.

Although a cassette adaptor won’t sound as good as a direct connection to your car stereo, it should sound better than most FM transmitters, which have to send your iPod’s audio over the airwaves and are thus subject to both interference and the quality of your car’s radio tuner. On the other hand, cassette adaptors generally leave you with cables dangling from your cassette deck, and most require you to find someplace to mount or secure your iPod as well as to fiddle with your iPod’s volume to get the right level.

If you’ve got an iPod nano, a near-perfect solution – provided it works with your car stereo – is Belkin’s TuneDeck for iPod nano. This unique accessory combines a cassette adaptor with a car mount: you insert the TuneDeck into your stereo’s cassette slot, and a sturdy, built-in cradle protrudes from the stereo. Place your nano in the cradle and the TuneDeck grabs the audio output from your iPod’s dock-connector port and sends it to your car stereo. Because of the line-level audio signal provided by the dock connector, the TuneDeck’s sound quality is better than that of most other cassette adaptors, and you don’t have to fiddle with your iPod’s volume control to get the right level.

The TuneDeck’s cradle rotates approximately 45 degrees from side to side to give the driver or passenger a better view of the screen. Although another 10 degrees of rotation in each direction would make this feature more appealing, even the limited rotation is useful. Of course, an obvious minor drawback to the TuneDeck’s cradle design is that if your car stereo has a CD player located just above the cassette deck, you’ll need to remove your nano from the TuneDeck before inserting or ejecting a CD.

OUR VERDICT

We enthusiastically recommend the TuneDeck if you’ve got a nano and a car with cassette deck. The TuneDeck sounds great, is well-designed and rids your car of the cable clutter associated with traditional cassette adaptors. Its biggest drawback is that it’s expensive compared to most cassette adaptors – but, of course, it offers quite a bit more.

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