Reviews: MacAlly FMCUP and Griffin TuneFlex AUX

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drahardja

New Member
Sep 30, 2007
28
0
0
#1
I purchased both the MacAlly FMCUP and the Griffin TuneFlex AUX in an attempt to find a better solution for operating the iPhone in my car.

Both devices bring up the infamous "Airplane mode" pop-up dialog, that invites you to turn off the radios in the iPhone to keep the audio noise down. Since I bought an iPhone and not an iPod Touch, I naturally answer "No" to this request every time.

The FMCUP

The FMCUP turns out to be a disappointment, but not because of its lack of quality. It is a very sturdy, well-made product that has an easy-to-use user interface. Once fitted into the cupholder, it seems to hold its place securely and without rattling. Its ability to transmit on any user-selectable FM frequency is a welcome feature.

The FMCUP's shortcomings are two: First, it holds the iPhone high above the rim of the cupholder. Since my cupholder is in the center console between my elbow rest and the shift gate, this makes it probable that I will one day damage my iPhone by hitting it while reaching for the shifter. I guess this will not be a problem for cars that have cupholders mounted high on the dash.

Second, while its music output is very good, the FMCUP appears to retransmit the iPhone's GSM radio interference with a vengeance. The radio noise was so bad that it completely drowned out the music. This made it an unworkable solution for me.

The TuneFlex AUX

Next, I tried the TuneFlex. Its cigarette lighter plug is fitted with a foam rubber flange that keeps it firmly in place, and the gooseneck is stiff enough that the setup does not droop.

I found out that the cigarette lighter socket in my car can be unscrewed out of the dash. So it was important that I placed the iPhone to the right side of the cigarette lighter socket, so that its weight will tighten the socket. Once I figured this out, the setup was solid.

The fit of the TuneFlex is excellent. The acrylic sleeve fits the iPhone perfectly, and the Home button is easily reached. The cradle depth adjustment allows the iPhone to rest in the cradle without rattling about.

The audio quality out the Aux port is excellent. I piped the music in using a cassette adapter. Although there is GSM radio noise present, it does not seem to be made worse by the TuneFlex (in other words, connecting the cassette adapter directly to my iPhone's headphone jack resulted in the same amount of noise).

The Low volume setting is fine. The High volume setting is unusable and will cause distortion and clipping in the audio.

It is easy to (very carefuly) operate the iPhone during driving while it is in the TuneFlex. It is also easy to adjust the unit so that the iPhone is upright (the cradle swivels against the gooseneck), and that unwanted reflections are minimized.

If there was a downside, it would be that the power indicator LEDs in the base is too bright for night driving. I plan on applying some black paint to cut down the light.

Last Words

It is a plus that the both products come in black instead of white. With a black interior and a black iPhone, those white iPod accessories look terribly out of place.

I highly recommend the TuneFlex. I recommend the FMCUP only if you intend on turning on Airplane mode. Otherwise, stay away from the FMCUP.
 
Apr 27, 2008
2
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#3
TuneFlex Aux 2

I just have to thank you for your indepth comparison of the two in-car solutions for the iPhone.

I too, originally and separately, narrowed my solutions to the exact same products - the FM Cup and Tuneflex. eventually, i decided on the Tuneflex product and promptly went to the Apple Store to purchase one when I received my new iPhone. But unlike you, I was not able to find a good fit with any of the adapters.. Most were too small for iPhone and the others allow it to liberally wabble or rattle around.

Other than that disappointment, I could not recommend a better product for the iPhone, but mine will be going back.

I purchased both the MacAlly FMCUP and the Griffin TuneFlex AUX in an attempt to find a better solution for operating the iPhone in my car.

"...The fit of the TuneFlex is excellent. The acrylic sleeve fits the iPhone perfectly, and the Home button is easily reached. The cradle depth adjustment allows the iPhone to rest in the cradle without rattling about."
 

drahardja

New Member
Sep 30, 2007
28
0
0
#4
I just have to thank you for your indepth comparison of the two in-car solutions for the iPhone.

I too, originally and separately, narrowed my solutions to the exact same products - the FM Cup and Tuneflex. eventually, i decided on the Tuneflex product and promptly went to the Apple Store to purchase one when I received my new iPhone. But unlike you, I was not able to find a good fit with any of the adapters.. Most were too small for iPhone and the others allow it to liberally wabble or rattle around.
I ended up not using any of the adapters with the Tuneflex. As for the flopping about, did you adjust the backstop to get the right depth setting for the iPhone?
 
Apr 27, 2008
2
0
0
#5
I ended up not using any of the adapters with the Tuneflex. As for the flopping about, did you adjust the backstop to get the right depth setting for the iPhone?
Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a backstop on my Tuneflex. It only has a series of adapters that snap onto the 30 pin connector - even the acrylic sleeve has been removed in this version and is only available on the connector for the iPod touch - and unfortunately, the iPod touch is slightly thinner than the iPhone, so that doesn't work.

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wa/RSLID?mco=MTM5NDY&nplm=TQ076LL/A

I presume that you must have a different model

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419B5C79QXL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

I seriously thought about returning the one I have and ordering the other model on Amazon, however I stumbled across a different solution called Pro Clips
http://www.proclipusa.com/deviceholders/deviceholders.aspx
and although it is much more costly, I think I will be happier with it in the long run. I have to give it some serious thought.