Car charger for dockable iPods.
We’ve reviewed a number of accessories for powering your iPod while in your car — regardless of how you connect your iPod to your car stereo, you need power, especially for longer road trips. DLO is the latest accessory manufacturer to release an “accessory jack” (a.k.a., cigarette lighter) power adapter, but the new AutoPod, available in white or black, includes a unique feature: The square end of the AutoPod provides a three-color indicator light that tells you the status of your iPod’s power. A red light means the charger is plugged in correctly; an orange light means your iPod is charging, and a green light means your iPod is fully charged.
The AutoPod’s 15-inch coiled cable can stretch to several feet in length, and the package includes a Velcro tab for “mounting” an iPod nano on your dash; I didn’t test this feature, as I didn’t want to attach a patch of Velcro to my iPod. (Note that the AutoPod is compatible with all dockable iPods; DLO only mentions the nano for use with the Velcro tab, likely because the nano is so much smaller than other dockable iPods.)
One feature missing from the AutoPod is an audio output. Our favorite car charger is currently Belkin’s Auto Kit, which not only charges your dock-connector-equipped iPod but also uses the dock connector to grab the iPod’s higher-quality line-level audio output. The AutoPod forces you to use the iPod’s headphone jack to get audio from your iPod to your car stereo. Then again, the AutoPod, at $20, is half the price of the $40 Belkin Auto Kit. Another feature we would have liked to see — and one missing from pretty much all iPod car chargers right now — is a dock-connector passthrough. This would be an especially desirable feature for nano and 5G (video) iPod models because these newer iPods don’t have a remote control jack on the top — remote functionality is provided via the dock connector.
If you don’t need a line-level audio output or access to your iPod’s dock connector while in the car, the AutoPod is a very nice car charger; its status light sets it apart from other car chargers, especially at the $20 price point. –Dan Frakes