Zero support for iPod or iPhone. It's a common problem with older cars. In fact, it's not even always a given with new cars. One solution is the Griffin iTrip DualConnect. It gives you two ways to get that particular job done and throws device charging into the mix, to boot.
That's handy because, as we'll see, while FM radio is perhaps the mostly widely supported method of pumping tunes into your car stereo, it's not the most reliable. Other than Bluetooth, which is a whole different ballgame, the best methods are ultimately wired.
Griffin iTrip DualConnect: Features
If your car's head unit has an line-in connection, the iTrip DualConnect will slide straight into your iPhone's dock connector, giving you both audio out and transport controls for selecting tracks and controlling playback.
The other option is to use the Griffin iTrip DualConnect's FM transmitter to wirelessly send tunes to your car's built-in stereo. In theory it's just a case of selecting a frequency using the iPhone app and then tuning into the Griffin iTrip DualConnect's frequency on the car radio.
You can also plug the Griffin iTrip DualConnect into a standard 12V cigarette lighter power socket which adds charging into the mix.
Griffin iTrip DualConnect: What's it really like?
Like any FM adapter, results using the radio broadcast fucntion vary. Out on the open road, it's pretty good. But in built up areas with lots of radio stations, interference is an issue. That's true despite the fact that the Griffin iTrip DualConnect's broadcast frequency is fully tunable.
Better, then, to think of the FM functionality as a handy back up for using in hire vehicles or in a friend's car and buy the Griffin iTrip DualConnect for its wired connection.
Using dock connector doesn't just mean it's possible to have transport controls for selecting or pausing tracks. That's handy because it means you can control playback without fishing out your iPhone, which is very probably illegal for a driver since it means handling a mobile phone on the move.
It also means you have a normalised audio feed from the dock connector and therefore better sound quality than using the headphone jack with its analogue output and variable volume.
If there is a downside, it's the location of the transport controls on the power adapter. For some cars, that' just fine. But if your power socket is buried deep in a cubby or glove compartment, not so much. Transport controls independently located on the cable might be a better solution.
It's also true that the Griffin iTrip DualConnect inevitably adds to your in-car cable count. That's a problem if you have, for instance, a third party navigation device competing for space and a power socket with the Griffin iTrip DualConnect.
In an ideal world, some kind of cradle for your iPhone would be nice, too. But for under £30, that's probably asking a bit much.
Griffin iTrip DualConnect: Verdict
If FM radio is the only way to get iPhone support into your car, the Griffin iTrip DualConnect is about as good as it's going to get. You get transport controls along with handset charging and full control over broadcast frequency.
Where available, a line-in is always a better solution, but does beg the question of why you wouldn't just use a cheap cable. The answer, again, involves those transport controls and charging capability.
Throw in superior sound quality from the dock rather than headphone interface and we think the Griffin iTrip DualConnect is a pretty solid proposition. Especially for under £30.