GP gadget: iPod on FM

If you are prone to forgetting to change the CDs in your car, and are one of the more than two million iPod owners in the UK, this is the accessory for you.

Model: Griffin iTrip LCD FM Transmitter  

Price from £29.99  

Available: www.itripstore.co.uk  

The iTrip is a transmitter that plugs into an iPod, converting what would normally be heard through headphones into an FM radio signal. By tuning a radio to your chosen frequency, you can listen to your iPod through that radio’s speakers.  

The device draws its power from the iPod, so there’s no fiddling with external batteries. It does deplete the iPod’s battery a little quicker, but this is only really a problem on long journeys, and easily solved with an in-car charger.  

Aesthetically, the iTrip blends well with the iPod, and its controls are simple and easy to use. A knob on the side acts as a dial and button, while an easy-to-read, back-lit LCD screen shows the frequency.  

The iTrip automatically finds the iPod’s optimal volume, and in areas of crowded FM frequency, you can switch from the stereo LX mode to a stronger, mono DX signal, reducing the chance of interference. 

There are several makes of iPod transmitter available, but Griffin’s iTrip is reasonably priced and mine has been very effective. An update from Griffin is compatible with all dock connector iPods, including the new fifth-generation iPod video, and costs £39.99. If you use another make of MP3 such as a Zen, similar transmitters are also available.  

One point worth noting: in its current form, the iTrip is illegal to operate in the UK because it can intrude on official broadcasts. However, in response to consumer demand, Ofcom is set to legalise these products in early December (check www.ofcom), making them a perfect stocking filler.  

Dr Zoe Kelion is a GP in London 

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