If Father Christmas didn’t give you exactly what you wanted for Christmas and your birthday seems a long way off then why not treat yourself to a nice iPhone accessory to brighten up your day? iPhone accessories are coming on leaps and bounds and not least in the field of in-car accessories, toys and gadgets that can make your daily drive a lot more enjoyable. So, we thought that we would put together a list of the 10 best iPhone car accessories for your viewing pleasure.
1. RoadTrip HandsFree: The Ultimate Music and Hands Free Calling Solution
There are quite a few hands free kits on the market, but we reckon that the best of the best is Griffin’s RoadTrip HandsFree, which allows you to charge, play your iPod and iPhone, make hands free calls from your smartphone all whilst mounted on the handy adjustable cradle with a flexible neck that plugs directly into your car’s power via the cigarette lighter socket.
The RoadTrip uses a powerful FM transmitter that sends music wirelessly to your car’s FM radio, which will them pump through the car’s speakers, enveloping your vehicle in melody. The easy SmartScan 1-button setup automatically finds the best frequency without you having to fiddle from station to station and the in-built Griffin SmartSound always adjusts the signal for best sound.
You can make and answer calls whilst driving via the Bluetooth that connects your iPhone through your car’s sound system, automatically pausing any music while you take the call. Whilst the iPhone or iPod is plugged into the cradle, it will be receiving a full power boost that will mean that you can take the device away from your journey with it fully charged.
Link: RoadTrip HandsFree
You can also get a RoadTrip that just plays music for $40 less.
2. Apple iPhone 4 32GB (Black) In-Car Charger – Dual USB 4000mA
If you’re rushing from one meeting to another and can’t wait to nip into Starbucks to steal a bit of free electricity to give the kiss of life to your dying iPhone, then you’ll thank your lucky stars that you bought this In-Car Charger which will give your iPhone the boost that it needs.
With a clever design that allows you to charge two USB devices at a time, the In-Car Charger is compatible with iPhones, iPods and iPads and works really well with a retractable cable that would means that a passenger could charge their iPhone whilst using it in the back seat.
Link: Apple iPhone 4 32GB (Black) In-Car Charger
3. iTrip AutoPilot: Play Music And Control Your iPhone While Driving
Griffin’s latest little gadget combines impressive FM transmitter technology with a charger that plugs into your car’s accessory power outlet, allowing you to control your iPhone through the device itself. By plugging into your car’s cigarette lighter socket, the iTrip AutoPilot connects to your car’s stereo and even displays artist and track information on RDS-equipped car radios, as well as saving the most useful FM frequencies as presets for quick recall.
Similarly to its little brother, the Griffin iTrip Auto, all you have to do to tune into a frequency is press the SmartScan button and this will tune into the FM frequency that shows up on iTrip’s easy-to-read lighted display. However, the iTripAuto has a superior design in terms of usability, with a large ‘Play/Pause/Forward/Back’ circular interface that makes controlling the iPhone and iPod incredibly easy and will mean that you never have to take your eyes off the road.
Additionally, the fact that the entire design consists of a link between one cable means that you’ll never lose a vital element of the gadget. You can also download a free software app that lets you control your iPhone or iPod Touch from your Multi-Touch display. This really is a truly fantastic little toy.
Link: iTrip AutoPilot
4. Jabra Freeway: Hands-Free Calls And Surround Sound Music
This is the rock star of the hands-free bunch; sure, you can talk whilst driving and enjoy clear, crisp sound quality on your calls, but the Jabra Freeway also allows you to listen to surround sound quality music when you’re not on a call! The three speakers pump out the beats at a very high quality and will only switch off when you take a call.
Other interesting features are the fact that the speaker turns itself on and off automatically when you enter or exit the car and that you can control all of your calls by voice commands, making it truly ‘hands-free’. At the more expensive end of the price spectrum, the Jabra is a real treat; however, if you spend a lot of time in your car and want to make calls as well as listen to tunes, I really do recommend it.
Link: Jabra Freeway
5. CinemaSeat 2: A Cinema In your Back Seat!
If you are taking your kids on a long distance journey and don’t want to be hassled with screams, kicks and endless choruses of, “Are we there yet?” get your sticky mitts onto a CinemaSeat 2, a tailored iPad 2 holder that attaches around your car’s headrest and perfectly positions your iPad 2 behind the backseat for anyone riding in the back to view. They can play games, watch videos, listen to music and gives them full access to the iPad’s controls.
What we really like about the CinemaSeat is that you can plug a set of headphones in to the iPad and stretch the cable to your ears, meaning that anyone in the backseat can watch and hear the action on screen without disturbing the driver; safety first, remember. Whether it’s noisy children or loutish mates riding in the back seat, you can shut them up by giving them something to entertain their minds while you concentrate on driving.
Link: CinemaSeat 2 For iPad 2
Link: CinemaSeat for iPad
6. Jabra Drive: Keep Both Hands On The Wheel While You Talk
You can’t put a price on your own safety, or the safety of others around you when you are driving a car; however, in today’s busy world a lot of us want to stay connected all of the time and this even means when driving. The Jabra Drive in-car speakerphone connects to any Bluetooth enabled phone and hooks up the audio in and output to the speakerphone, giving you the opportunity to hold a conversation whilst driving.
The control buttons are easy enough to use and the sound quality is really clear, as if the phone was held to your ear itself. What I really like about it is that you can connect to two different Bluetooth devices simultaneously, allowing a Multi-use option that can really come in handy on long car journeys. All in all, a fairly essential little gadget for drivers wanting to stay connected.
Link: Jabra Drive
7. Griffin iTrip Auto FM Transmitter: Lets You Listen To iPhone Through Your Car Stereo
The Griffin iTrip Auto FM Transmitter utilizes FM technology with its in-built charger that hooks your iPhone directly into your car’s accessory socket, be it a custom-made socket or simply a cigarette lighter. Once you have connected the iTrip, simply press the SmartScan button that will search for the clearest radio frequency for your needs, then tune your radio in to that channel.
You can assign bespoke presets that allow you to tune directly into the frequency near your house without searching for a new station each time you leave the house and you can also toggle between stereo and mono play modes. If you are going on long journeys, it can be a good idea to switch from station to station by using the SmartScan button, as the frequency can get confused with local radio stations; just be sure to pull over to the side of the road when you are tuning the radio!
To get started with your Griffin iTrip, simply purchase one at any Apple shop or online, then download the free Griffin iTrip Controller App from the iTunes Store, then enjoy the rest of your journeys in musical bliss!
Link: Griffin iTrip Auto FM Transmitter
8. PowerJolt Reserve: A Backup Charger For Your iPhone
One constant moan about the iPhone is the length of the battery life; if the quick-fading green-to-red battery bar is a thorn in your side then get yourself a PowerJolt Reserve and never worry about a blank black screen again.
By plugging your iPhone into the detachable Reserve battery pack you can charge both your iPhone or Pod and the PowerJolt Reserve, effectively giving you twice the amount of power every time that you charge. You can unclip the Reserve charger and carry it with you, (it’s small enough to fit into the tiniest of pockets), and when you see your iPhone running out of juice you can simply plug it into the Reserve PowerJolt and it will give your iPhone a well needed boost.
What we really like about this device is that it can charge practically any device that powers up using a standard USB connection; forget lugging around a charger with you everywhere you go, go for the PowerJolt reserve, the most charge that you can get with minimum amount of luggage space.
Link: PowerJolt Reserve
9. DirectDeck HandsFree: Plug Your iPhone Into Your Car’s Cassette Player
This one is for all of you retro guys out there who have stuck with their in-car cassette players instead of upgrading to a CD player stereo; well, you’re the ones who are winning now, as the DirectDeck HandsFree bypasses the need for a CD player and makes the leap from cassette to iPhone in one fell swoop.
By plugging DirectDeck’s audio microphone cable into the headphone jack of your iPhone or smartphone, then inserting the tape into your cassette player, you can play your iPhone’s audio through your car’s stereo speakers so that you can send and receive phone calls as you drive. Essentially working in the same way as the RoadTrip HandsFree, DirectDeck gives iPhone fans the opportunity to use a handsfree kit that lets you pump music through the car without having to upgrade to a fancier stereo system. For less than 25 bucks, it’s a steal.
Link: DirectDeck HandsFree
You can also get a DirectDeck that just plays music for $10 less.
10. SmartTalk BlueTooth for iPhone: The Ultimate BlueTooth Headset
For a BlueTooth earpiece that really is the crème de la crème, this stylish and contemporary earpiece from Griffin has it all. With a sleek design courtesy of StepLabs featuring twin built-in mics that allow you to differentiate between your voice and background noise, filtering out any unnecessary noise and giving you a clear and crisp sound on both sides of the conversation. You also receive human voice confirmations in order to make SmartTalk easy to set up and use, getting rid of the annoying beeps and bleeps that can drive you crazy. Charge the SmartTalk in your car’s accessory output using the PowerJolt 12 volt auto charger and get the most use out of this fantastic device. Griffin are currently running a massive reduction in price, so get your hands on it now and you’ll save a fair few pennies.
Link: SmartTalk BlueTooth for iPhone
Price: $39.99 (On sale from $119.99)