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Jivo Utune FM review

A weird device with mixed ability and frankly odd features

An affordable yet quirky FM transmitter

Our Verdict

Many features could be stripped away to make this a sleeker product


  • Comes with in-car charging cable
  • Ten preset stations
  • Acceptable signal strength
  • Cheap


  • Weird, clunky design
  • Batteries add bulk

After a group test and many single reviews of FM transmitters such as this one, there are a few things about this new Jivo product that strike us as a bit odd.

Firstly, why do you need a battery compartment on an FM transmitter? Does anyone really need to transmit an iPod signal to a radio in a park? Why on Earth would you bother when there's the world's supply of portable iPod speakers out there, or the cheapest of cables to connect to the radio instead?

Jivo might counter that the batteries can charge the iPod too, which is true (you'll need to bring an Apple charging cable, though) but when, if ever, will you need to charge an iPod from a transmitter? In a car on a long journey, perhaps? Maybe, but why not use the socket power cable that comes in this pack too, and cut out the bulky battery bays? Things like this, tragically, annoy us.

Things get weirder still on the LCD panel, which for some inexplicable reason was telling us the temperature was 22 degrees Celsius on a cold April morning.

Much of the display is taken up by unnecessary symbols and signs, such as the erroneous temperature gauge or the large 'Music' icons that flash seemingly out of sync with any other function of the device.

All you really want is for the screen to display the transmitting frequency so that you can tune your radio and forget about it.

In terms of signal strength, it's an average device. Ten stations can be preset, which is a commendable amount, and tuning is done in increments of 0.1MHz, which is the precision you want.

The buttons are a bit plasticky and difficult to use when driving, unlike many other transmitters, notably those from Kensington, Belkin and Griffin.

Overall, the Jivo is too big, too odd and only average at perfoming its main task. Mercifully, it's cheap, but you're getting what you pay for.