At a Glance
Splits a single headphone jack into two, with independent volume controls.
Griffin’s SmartShare is the latest of a number of available headphone splitters — accessories that convert an iPod’s single headphone jack into two, allowing you to share your tunes with another person. But, like BTI’s descriptively named Headphone Splitter, the SmartShare is unique in that each of its two headphone jacks has its own volume control, allowing each listener to determine his or her own volume level.
Unlike BTI’s Splitter, which is a small plastic adapter with two headphone jacks and two rotary volume dials, the SmartShare is designed as a “Y” cable — a large headphone plug connects to your iPod’s headphone jack and splits the signal into two 4″ cables, each of which ends in a large (1.5″ long) headphone plug that includes a sliding volume control. The advantage of this design is twofold: First, you don’t need as much room on top of your iPod — just enough for the SmartShare’s (admittedly large and bulky) headphone plug. Second, the SmartShare’s separate cables make it less likely that you’ll damage your iPod’s headphone jack by having two headphone cables tugging at the plug itself from different directions — the SmartShare’s cables take much of the abuse. On the other hand, the volume dials on BTI’s Splitter offer much finer control over volume levels and are more difficult to move accidentally.
Although I prefer the design and feel of BTI’s volume dials, the SmartShare flexible-cable design is more convenient. Which you should choose depends on which of these features is more important to you. In either case, after using a headphone splitter with individual volume controls, you’ll never want to use a traditional splitter again.–Dan Frakes