As someone else already noted, there are better methods of listening to your MP3 player in your car, such as through the tape transmitter. For those of us who don’t have it, though, this is a sufficiently apt substitute.
First, whoever said that there are 8 presets must be thinking of some other device. You only have 3 presets here, but you define them yourself from the whole FM range, an you can always deviate from them. Hence, this thing has an advantage over, say, the iTrip because you can easily surf between three stations if the one you’re listening to now starts getting static.
Second, I find it powerful enough in most situations. I live in Boston, and drive around it often enough. Downtown, most stations will give you a small amount of interference, and that is probably the best you will get. Drive around the suburbs, though, and you can easily find around 3 stations that will play almost as well as your CD player in terms of quality.
The secret to this is to set your iPod volume somewhere around the middle to upper two-thirds of its capacity. If you set it to the maximum, all bass lines will be completely distorted. Set it to the middle, though, and you’ll have rather crisp audio, although you will have to compensate for the lost volume by turning up the car radio. Hardly anything to complain about, though.
My two complaints with this device are these:
First, the marked price is far too high. You can find a much cheaper device on eBay, or even in the Amazon marketplace. I paid around $20 for it, plus delivery.
Second, some types of music sound distorted even at medium volumes on a lot of the stations. I have in mind the Waltz of the Snowflakes from the Nutcracker when I write this. Beside it, just about every song I played sounded clean, although sometimes a given station would encounter pockets of interference.
Given that a more powerful transmitter would probably end up messing up the radio reception of neighboring cars, I’m prone to think that this is an inherent problem to all FM transmitters. I think this is one of the better ones, though, because of its preset options, its ability to scan the whole FM range, the fact that it doesn’t drain your iPod’s battery, and the fact that you can manipulate your iPod volume on it for better performance. The iTrip can’t do three of these. You will, of course, have to sit down in your car and look for usable stations manually, .2 by .2, but ultimately, and if you have no other option available, I think you will find this device to do a good job. Just do yourself a favor, and find a cheaper source.