My review of the Griffin TuneFlex when used with the iPhone - with pics!

Welcome to our Community
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

Nikos

New Member
Bronze
Sep 14, 2007
149
0
0
Long Island, NY
www.nikostoscani.com
#1
Picked up a Griffin TuneFlex the other day, so I figured I would review it for anyone else interested in using it with the iPhone. Before I begin, it's worth noting that you can get this accessory for $28.99 from Newegg rather than $49.99 from the Apple store.

I am reviewing this unit based on its performance in a 1998 Jetta with a stock radio. I am using it with an iPhone. Now, without further adieu, on to the review!

As soon as you connect your iPhone, it will ask if you would like to enter Airplane mode. Simply select "No" and your iPhone will function normally. This may be an inconvenience for some, so I thought it would be worth mentioning.

The unit has two preset output volume levels, selectable via a switch at the base of the unit (pictured below):


The higher one is WAY too high and results in so much distortion, it almost sounds like I'm listening to white noise with a faint signal of music layered on top of it. The lower output level is much better, but still a little too high. I can tell the levels are clipping and it results in distortion/crackling in the higher frequency range. The mids and lows sound OK. These two output levels are set, and not adjustable.

The GOOD news regarding that is you can still use the top headphone jack on the iPhone, and the output volume is adjustable, so you can purchase an iPhone compatible tape adapter, 1/8" to 1/8", 1/8" to RCA, etc. and use the unit that way. It's a little less convenient, but it works. I ended up picking up a Monster Tape Adapter from the Apple store (although I am not fond of that company to say the least) since it's the only tape adapter I could find that's compatible with the iPhone and I have yet to replace the stock radio since I just purchased the car so I am forced to connect via the cassette player.

The TuneFlex DOES come with a tape adapter, but it is not compatible with the iPhone's headphone jack. I found that setting the iPhone's output volume to about 50% seemed perfect, and it sounds MUCH better than the TuneFlex's output levels. No more distortion!

Using that setup also comes with a bonus. Since you are using the iPhone's stock headphone jack, when you are using the phone you are able to hear the person on the other line through your car's speakers. This is not possible via the TuneFlex's output, unless you use the iPhone's speaker, as it will still function normally.

As far as build quality goes, it's pretty good and has held up just fine in the few days that I've owned it. There is a foam insert near the tip of the unit, where it plugs into your 12V lighter or accessory power to keep it snug. There is no play at the connection, and it seems quite hard to pull out. I have yet to remove it. The unit doesn't fall over due to it being top heavy, and it has a clamp adjustment on the back to keep your iPod or iPhone secure (pictured below):


Be careful when tightening the clamp, as it tends to leave a very faint mark on the back of your iPhone. Don't over-tighten it, and you should be fine. As of right now, there is no permanent mark on the back of my phone.

There is a little shaking while driving, especially if you hit a bump, which is to be expected, but I probably shouldn't get into that as my car has very stiff after-market suspension. There is an LED near the base of the unit, which lights up green to indicate it is getting power and orange to indicate it is charging your iPhone/iPod (pictured below):


Worth noting is the LED stays lit even when your car is off. Since it's just an LED, I can't imagine it being harmful to your battery, but it may attract thieves if that is a concern to you. Again, this may not be the case with your car depending on its electrical system.

Overall this seems like a great unit. I have yet to test it in other vehicles, so it may work better or worse for you in terms of the preset output levels, etc. As I mentioned earlier, I had to purchase the $24.99 Monster Cassette Adapter from the Apple store, since it seems to be the only one compatible with the iPhone at the moment, but since I purchased the TuneFlex from Newegg the price ended up being about the same as the TuneFlex alone from the Apple store. If you are buying both from Apple, the combination will cost you $75 plus tax, and at that point it may not be worth it to you.

Hope this helps somebody out there! If you are looking for an all-in-one (or all-in-two in my case) charging, playback, and docking solution for your vehicle, this may be the right choice for you. So far I am happy with it, and as long as the arm stays strong, I don't imagine there ever being any issues with it.

Please feel free to ask any questions, as I'm sure I have missed something. I'd be more than happy to help!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Fayewolf

Member
Bronze
Oct 10, 2007
62
0
6
#2
Picked up a Griffin TuneFlex the other day, so I figured I would review it for anyone else interested in using it with the iPhone. Before I begin, it's worth noting that you can get this accessory for $28.99 from Newegg rather than $49.99 from the Apple store.

I am reviewing this unit based on its performance in a 1998 Jetta with a stock radio. I am using it with an iPhone. Now, without further adieu, on to the review!

As soon as you connect your iPhone, it will ask if you would like to enter Airplane mode. Simply select "No" and your iPhone will function normally. This may be an inconvenience for some, so I thought it would be worth mentioning.

The unit has two preset output volume levels, selectable via a switch at the base of the unit (pictured below):


The higher one is WAY too high and results in so much distortion, it almost sounds like I'm listening to white noise with a faint signal of music layered on top of it. The lower output level is much better, but still a little too high. I can tell the levels are clipping and it results in distortion/crackling in the higher frequency range. The mids and lows sound OK. These two output levels are set, and not adjustable.

The GOOD news regarding that is you can still use the top headphone jack on the iPhone, and the output volume is adjustable, so you can purchase an iPhone compatible tape adapter, 1/8" to 1/8", 1/8" to RCA, etc. and use the unit that way. It's a little less convenient, but it works. I ended up picking up a Monster Tape Adapter from the Apple store (although I am not fond of that company to say the least) since it's the only tape adapter I could find that's compatible with the iPhone and I have yet to replace the stock radio since I just purchased the car so I am forced to connect via the cassette player.

The TuneFlex DOES come with a tape adapter, but it is not compatible with the iPhone's headphone jack. I found that setting the iPhone's output volume to about 50% seemed perfect, and it sounds MUCH better than the TuneFlex's output levels. No more distortion!

Using that setup also comes with a bonus. Since you are using the iPhone's stock headphone jack, when you are using the phone you are able to hear the person on the other line through your car's speakers. This is not possible via the TuneFlex's output, unless you use the iPhone's speaker, as it will still function normally.

As far as build quality goes, it's pretty good and has held up just fine in the few days that I've owned it. There is a foam insert near the tip of the unit, where it plugs into your 12V lighter or accessory power to keep it snug. There is no play at the connection, and it seems quite hard to pull out. I have yet to remove it. The unit doesn't fall over due to it being top heavy, and it has a clamp adjustment on the back to keep your iPod or iPhone secure (pictured below):



Be careful when tightening the clamp, as it tends to leave a very faint mark on the back of your iPhone. Don't over-tighten it, and you should be fine. As of right now, there is no permanent mark on the back of my phone.

There is a little shaking while driving, especially if you hit a bump, which is to be expected, but I probably shouldn't get into that as my car has very stiff after-market suspension. There is an LED near the base of the unit, which lights up green to indicate it is getting power and orange to indicate it is charging your iPhone/iPod (pictured below):


Worth noting is the LED stays lit even when your car is off. Since it's just an LED, I can't imagine it being harmful to your battery, but it may attract thieves if that is a concern to you. Again, this may not be the case with your car depending on its electrical system.

Overall this seems like a great unit. I have yet to test it in other vehicles, so it may work better or worse for you in terms of the preset output levels, etc. As I mentioned earlier, I had to purchase the $24.99 Monster Cassette Adapter from the Apple store, since it seems to be the only one compatible with the iPhone at the moment, but since I purchased the TuneFlex from Newegg the price ended up being about the same as the TuneFlex alone from the Apple store. If you are buying both from Apple, the combination will cost you $75 plus tax, and at that point it may not be worth it to you.

Hope this helps somebody out there! If you are looking for an all-in-one (or all-in-two in my case) charging, playback, and docking solution for your vehicle, this may be the right choice for you. So far I am happy with it, and as long as the arm stays strong, I don't imagine there ever being any issues with it.

Please feel free to ask any questions, as I'm sure I have missed something. I'd be more than happy to help!


Really really nice!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ZAT

Member
Bronze
Sep 14, 2007
30
0
6
#3
What is the charge voltage on the unit? I bought one a hile back for my iPod, but threw away the spec sheet. I am hesitant to use it since the iPods use a 12v charger while the iPhone only uses a 5v unit. don't want to end up turning my phone into a toaster.
 

mittenman

Member
Silver
Jul 25, 2007
813
0
16
Nowhere, Mitten
#4
What is the charge voltage on the unit? I bought one a hile back for my iPod, but threw away the spec sheet. I am hesitant to use it since the iPods use a 12v charger while the iPhone only uses a 5v unit. don't want to end up turning my phone into a toaster.

Most iPod chargers work fine with the iPhone. I use an old iPod car charger when on the go.
 
Jan 16, 2008
28
0
6
NY
#7
What were you originally plugging the jack into, the aux port of your car? If so, its input level might be adjustable (it is on my MINI), so you might be able to use the line out with disortion rather than the headphone jack.