Many other FM transmitters make use of the 12V power point found in the cigarette lighter on the dash. This is convient as long you don't need it for any other devices, such as the charger for a cellular phone or digital music player, or that necessary part of any long trip with the guys, a cooler to hold adult beverages. The Belkin TuneCast II can function in that mode, through the use of an optional power converter meant for the iPod. You need to purchase that separately, though. As it arrives, the device is powered by two AAA batteries. How this affects performance I'll get into later in the review. First, let's continue our tour of the device.
Not much for an interface. But since all the grunt work of choosing playlists, skipping songs and the like will be handled by the player it is connected to, more buttons aren't really necessary. The ones present control the frequency of the FM output, the stored stations in memory, and an on/off function that requires holding down both right side buttons to work.
It does pay to read the manual, because without that you would never realize that the device has an "auto" on/off feature, which only lets it work when there is an audio input signal present. That means you have to turn up the volume beyond a minimum level for the TuneCast II to realize that something is being fed into it. As for the aesthetics, Belkin tried to model it after the iPod obviously, and market it as such. The minijack input cord does wrap nicely around the device, and has a spot reserved for it to rest in when not in use. It's a small thing, but does indicate some thought went into the usability of the design. The display itself is very simple, it shows the FM frequency, and that's it. Most likely that's a direct trade-off for extending battery life.
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