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Best FM transmitter for iPhones

Posted by Gizmo Guy on 10th Feb 2020

Best FM transmitter for iPhones

I recently started a project to restore a 2000 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W210) and I wanted to keep everything original with all old and worn out replacements with OEM parts. I wanted to keep the original MBZ information navigational system. I want to keep the original look both inside and outside of the car. The goal is to make the car looks like it had just gotten out of the Mercedes-Benz dealer.

But as you can imagine this leads to a technological disparity between this MBZ E-Class I drive and my new headphone-less iPhone. Everyone knows what you can get Bluetooth smart speaker for our homes to make them more connected but doing the same for an older car usually means buying and replacing the head-unit altogether. This isn't really practical for most people. It is also impossible for a newer car. I searched the internet for solutions to Connect iPhone X to Older Car without Bluetooth. 

I'm not even referring to the folks that can't afford new cars or buy new fancy radios and other car upgrades. Doing this would be impractical for them. For the moment I am talking to the car enthusiast like myself that wants to keep the originality, looks, and feel of their beloved car. 

This means driving around with my 2000 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, isn't as pleasurable as driving my new Tesla (Tech-wise). The simple reason for this would be the fact that the MBZ still uses the old FM radio CD and cassette player. I have seen a lot of YouTube tutorials on how to modify and install a new radio with all the bells and whistles but I have also heard horror stories of how those mods could easily disable electronic optioned features. In some cases, it may even lead to the death of the MBZ. This would affect the resale value of the car in a big way.

There just has to be an alternative that just works without having to go through all that stress or at least allows me to retain the original look and feel of my E-Class W210. I should mention at this point, that modifying the Mercedes-Benz E-Class in any way that deviates from the original factory look and feel was simply out of the question for me. Not just for sentimental value but also in terms of resale value. No one wants to buy a car with questionable modifications.

So after some searching, I came across a few promising leads. All of which happen to be FM radio transmitters. The basic premise is that you broadcast the audio output of your device to a particular unused FM frequency station and your car radio picks it up and plays it through the speakers. However, this method is often plagued with static noise and interferences. Get rid of the static noise on a car radio sounds simple, but it's not. 

Yet simple was the very last thing I found this task to be. I'm not talking about building one of these gadgets but browsing through Amazon's various listings all claimed to be the best FM transmitter. There is a wide selection to choose from. But I was looking for the best FM transmitter for my car or failing that, the best FM transmitter for iPhone.

Several wireless radio transmitter I found online involved using an adaptor and the car cigarette lighter port to create a radio combo. But which is better an FM or bluetooth transmitter? the problem with these was that they still involved plugging another adaptor to my iPhone to get audio out. This only makes things more complicated than they should be. What I needed was a simple solution that did n't involve me getting multiple adaptors or something so complex that it would take extra effort just to maintain.

I had a few criteria that one must follow before spending any money on one of these.

  • It must be affordable.
  • Should produce clear and crisp sounds with no white noise or background static
  • Should work with my iPhone
  • Must be light and easy to carry around or at least not take too much space
  • It should be easy to set up and use.
  • Plus should have decent reviews.

All this sounds reasonable enough I would say.

But after eliminating all those that fell short of the above requirements, I was left with very few options for my Mercedes. Now I'm not going into details about the ones I tested but fell short for one reason or the other but instead, I want to talk about the one that stood out the most. Not the best Bluetooth FM transmitter for car, but an easier wireless radio transmitter without Bluetooth. This is a simple FM transmitter I settled from Gizmo Guy Gadgets and is aptly named the Best FM Transmitter for iPhone.

First off, the name wasn't doing wonders for me, but with so many good reviews I thought there has to be something here. So I gave it a shot. The delivery was quick and painless which was the first good sign and the price to performance ratio was going to be determined after I tested out the FM transmitter myself. In case you are wondering this device retails at USD 90. I found out, later down the line, that it was money well spent.

The first step was to see how easy it was to use this FM transmitter, it turns out that it is no big deal either. You just have to plug it into the iPhone. Which sees it as a pair of headphones, then set the car radio to 87.9 and instant playback. This means zero setups or configuration time. At this point, I was starting to see where the beat FM transmitter name came from. But the testing was not done yet.

Next, was to see if I would encounter a problem I had with some other FM transmitter, which was that the volume would become super load when I switched to regular radio stations. And what do you know, it passed this test too with flying colors. Not only did the volume not change between radio stations but I had better sound quality.

For most audiophiles out there, sound quality matters. This FM transmitter for iPhones would have been dead in the water if the sound quality of what it produced in my car speakers was below perfect. I have very nice speakers with solid bases and crisp mids/lows. It would be a travesty to play terrible sounding music on them. Again the device passed this test. Now even if I say the sound quality was better than most radio stations, it would not be saying much. But the quality was decent enough for me to enjoy the experience.

There is one more little thing that caught my attention. This iPhone FM transmitter is really small. A lot of previously tested solutions, as I had mentioned before, were cumbersome and in some cases overly complex. The simplicity and small size of this device made me an instant fan. Not only can I place it in my pocket and not mind it but I can also leave it in the ashtray or glove compartment without it taking any space when not in use. Even when it's attached to the iPhone, there is not much of an inconvenience in its operation as a regular phone or in handling. This was a major plus for me. Other solutions we're just not really mobile, to say the least.

Over the proceeding days, I drove around testing out the gadget and see if it had any effect on my phone battery life while in use. There was a little less charge at the end of the day but nothing I could not ignore.

There are a few things I didn't like about this wireless FM transmitter though. The first being the inability to charge my device while driving. This has always been a big deal for me but I found that with a mix of wireless charging the problem is easily solved. But this might be a deal-breaker for some folks. However, I feel this is more an Apple problem not an issue with the FM radio transmitter. Since we lost the headphones jack, the lightning port has become the defacto port for all things extendable in the iPhone FM transmitter for car.

My second issue was with the best Bluetooth FM transmitter frequency used by the device. Take note, you are most likely never going to run into a problem with this but as a perfectionist, I would like to see a situation where I can adjust the frequency of the FM transmitter to whatever I want. (Would be perfect for playing pranks). But seriously this isn't an issue as the developer chose the perfect frequency to use.

Finally, let's talk about the price. At $90 USD, I am not even going to say this thing is cheap, but I can understand the cost. Here is a device that is the best FM transmitter for the iphone. It is small and portable and does as advertised. Therefore I say its' money well spent on this Bluetooth FM transmitter car kit. After all, we all rather pay for quality and get our money's worth than go cheap with a bucket load of regrets later down the line.

Hence I was left with a few conclusions. If you own both a vintage car you do not wish to replace the factory radio or get a more modern one and you own an iPhone. Then you can enjoy good music of your collection or Apple Music, Spotify and a host of others at your convenience with the best FM transmitter for car from the Gizmo Guy Gadgets.