Review: an hour with Griffin’s TuneFlex AUX

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Griffin’s TuneFlex solves a problem: the iPod Touch and iPhone’s lack of physical controls, which matter when attention is best given to the road ahead. A base unit plugs into the ciggie lighter and the stereo’s auxiliary input, while a remote control (play/pause, FF and rewind) attaches to the steering wheel.

It works well enough, with two minor drawbacks. First, it’s big and cumbersome enough that you might want to not bother with the steering attachment, and just leave it knocking about in the console. Second, the base station caused en error to popup on our first-gen iPhone, which complained that it wasn’t compatible. It worked perfectly, however, after the warning was dismissed. Apart from that, it’s perfect.

It’s also compatible with normal iPods, should you just want a fancy recharching mount or remote.

At $80, though, it seems expensive given what little it does, even if it does it very well.

Product Page [Griffin]

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Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

 

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15 Responses to Review: an hour with Griffin’s TuneFlex AUX

  1. Rob Beschizza says:

    It’s annoying enough to worth mentioning, given that this gadget’s entire purpose is to make the iPhone easier to use in a specific context.

  2. dculberson says:

    Felix, I’ve received those errors too, and trust me, they’re annoying. It’s not like you can just ignore it, you have to dismiss it. Every freakin’ time you plug it in. Not mentioning it in a review would be a failing.

  3. Gregzilm says:

    I bought the Griffen Tuneflex almost to months ago. In January a mechanical problem forced me to upgrade my 1990 toyota to a 2009 Hyundai. In my old car I never needed to worry about what to do with my iPhone, it stayed in my pocket. The new Hyundai presented a problem, it has a dedicated plug just for MP3 players. At first I tried using a car charger and running a line off out of the earphone jack. After about a week I was sick of all the wires and if I got a call had to unplug and untangle the phone from a mass of wires. Next I tried using the dock that came with the 1st gen iPhone, because it has a line out, this helped. Still I had a mass of wires, and the dock fit awkwardly into the car cup holders. In the end I made a trip to Best buy looking for something simple, a car charger for the iPhone that also had an audio out in the same line.
    It turned out the Tuneflex was the only thing close. So far I have been very happy with it. I also encountered the strange message claiming incompatibility with my 1st gen iPhone and even after I upgraded to the iPhone 3g I still get the message. Sometimes the remote doesn’t communicate with the base station. The biggest issue I’ve come across with the Tuneflex is the cigarette plug. It was to small to support the weight of the iPhone, and it kept falling down. This was solved with a few drops of Gorilla Glue. Now it stays in place, for good, and I can pay attention to important things like checking my email and sending text messages rather than watching the road.

  4. Random_Tangent says:

    I’ve got an earlier version of the Tuneflex (no remote!) that I’ve been using. It’s fantastic. The iPhone ‘error’ message is there to indicate that the device isn’t shielded (and its manufacturer hasn’t paid for the chip that tells the iPhone that everthing’s okay).

    A little aluminum foil shielding around the flexible tube (and maybe across your output plugs if need be) seems to cut down a lot on the GSM interference.

  5. dargaud says:

    I’m in the market for an mp3 player for the granma’, something very simple (play, pause, next, auto-off), very loud (she’s very hard of hearing), which can take usual jack headphones (including the big ones without running out of battery in 2 minutes), and above all that has big clicky-click control buttons. I came up blank.

  6. Halloween Jack says:

    It’s a good idea, and I generally like Griffin (have several bits of their stuff for various Apple products), but $80 is a lot for a little convenience–I’d have to drive a lot more than I do to justify it.

  7. Felix Mitchell says:

    an error message that doesn’t actually seem to be reporting a real error? that’s the most pedantic ‘drawback’ I’ve ever seen.

  8. HeatherB says:

    @ #1 You Gorilla glued it into your cigarette plug?

  9. deejayqueue says:

    Well, for starters, the tuneflex is compatible with everything EXCEPT the iPhone, according to the box. I have no doubt that it would work to charge and to play music, but it has no vents to accommodate the mic, and it’s not shielded against radio interference. It also doesn’t have discrete adapters for the iPhone, though I’m sure the iPod touch cradle works just fine.

    If you’ve got a BT headset I guess you don’t need the speaker/mic to be available, but since I’ve got my emails set to “push” I’d constantly be hearing that “You’re about to get a phone call” buzz. I know because I hear it when I listen to my regular iPod with my iPhone in the same pocket. Also, be wary of using apps like Pandora or SimplifyMedia. I did this with a product that was not “iPhone Approved” and it killed my phone. I had to do a full restore after a hard restart to get it back up and running.

    So, I guess it’s kind of odd to review a product based on using it for something and with something it wasn’t intended for. If it works (it seems to) with the iPhone then fine, but it wasn’t made for it, and the fact that it does is out of luck instead of intention.

  10. deejayqueue says:

    It sucks too because my Monster charger won’t work with the iPhone because it uses the FW pins for charging, and it was the only other charger with a line-out in it.

  11. nutbastard says:

    as a newly inducted ipod touch owner, i gotta say, for the road im keeping the damn Sansa. i can navigate that thing with my eyes closed.

  12. nutbastard says:

    @Dargaud

    sansa e200, though the menus are a bit convoluted. drag and drop music management, simple controls, and reasonably loud.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “I’m in the market for an mp3 player for the granma’, something very simple (play, pause, next, auto-off), very loud (she’s very hard of hearing), which can take usual jack headphones (including the big ones without running out of battery in 2 minutes), and above all that has big clicky-click control buttons. I came up blank.”

    Get her a 1st-gen iPod from ebay. I picked one up NIB for $90.

  14. Chris Bannister says:

    I liked it until it started sliding from side to side. The remote worked well, but the arm kept falling from one side to the other. It got really annoying. I got rid of it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I dont like that your not able to watch video while it is hooked up to the dock. I bought it to use in the back seat so i could watch without holding it and to let it charge but when you play a video it plays the sound but not the video. Any fixes for this ?

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