Tunelink Auto, a great Bluetooth FM broadcaster auto adapter (Update: FAIL!)
Tunelink Auto from New Potato Technologies is a very cool device. Basically, it allows you to connect an iOS device via Bluetooth and broadcasts the audio to an FM station. The entire device plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter plug.
The station you use to broadcast can be set using a free app that you download from the Apple App Store. Your mileage will vary greatly depending on whether or not your area has a lot of FM stations. In San Antonio, TX, there are a few open frequencies which work fine. In Los Angeles, it’s difficult to find an open one. The app, has a feature called Speed Tune that uses your location and suggests frequencies to use.
Of course, the audio quality isn’t very good. For better quality, the device also has an 1/8″ stereo output plug so you can also connect to an Aux In or a cassette adapter, if you have one of those. It even has a USB connector so you can use it to charge your iOS device too. It comes with a 30-pin connector USB cable. The Apple Lighting adapter works fine if you’ve got an iPhone 5.
What I really like about this device is that you can set it up so that it automatically connects my iPhone to the device when I start the car and starts playing music from where I left off. When you shut off the car, the player also stops. It’s wonderful! It also plays nice with my car’s built-in Bluetooth phone connection.
I will have to say that my initial experience was less than satisfactory. Most of the time it wouldn’t connect to my iPhone and when it did, it would usually not stay connected. I also couldn’t get it to use any station other than 88.5. I contacted techsupport and they sent me another after I mailed them my old one. This one worked perfectly.
Well, my replacement unit from Jan started to get flakey with symptoms like not staying connected, difficulty pairing, etc. I sent it back and got another unit. This one is flakey too. I’m giving up. Based on the review on Amazon I am not alone. It’s got barely over 2 stars and 160 reviews! I’m going to try the Belkin Bluetooth Car Hands-Free Kit (4 stars and 677 reviews). The Griffin Technology BlueTrip also looks interesting. Look for a hands-on review soon. Wish me luck!