04 April 2009

Griffin WindowSeat Vs. GriffinTuneFlex AUX w/SmartClick

Being that iPhones and iPods are taken everywhere by people, it’s only right to have cool iGear for your car. Today’s mash up occurs between two Griffin products: The WindowSeat, and the TuneFlex AUX w/ SmartClick. Both products support newer Apple iProducts. Here’s a quick compatibility rundown:


* iPod Touch (2nd Gen Only)
* iPhone
* iPhone 3G


* iPhone
* iPhone 3G
* iPod Touch (1st & 2nd Gen)
* iPod Classic (80 or 120 Gig)
* iPod Nano (4th & 3rd Gen Only)

Now that we have that outta the way, let’s get down to figuring out which one’s cooler.

The WindowSeat can be mounted to your windshield or dashboard, whichever works better with your car. I mounted on the windshield as my dashboard is totally round and the adhesive label included would not have a firm grasp. There is a suction cup at the base of the WindowSeat that you can screw tighter around that base with a couple turns of the knob that is just above it on the shaft. The WindowSeat includes 3 different length possibilities that are easy to switch out if you wanna go longer or shorter.


The TuneFlex fits into your cigarette lighter adapter and has raised applicators that you sort of have to push down as you slide it in to insure a snug fit. From there, there is a tight but movable cable you can adjust accordingly in relation to where your cigarette adapter is. After that, jam your iProduct into the appropriate insert and plug the included 3.5mm jack into the base of the TuneFlex and your car stereo. All that’s left is for you to attach the SmartClick controller to a comfortable place on your steering wheel. The SmartClick is a wireless remote controller for your iProduct that attaches to the clip magnetically and runs off of a watch battery.


While the WindowSeat looked really fancy, it was a bit obtrusive to my view of the road. It really depends on your car and maybe dash mounting is a better option for you. It has the ability to swivel from an upright position to landscape style which is cool if you’re using “cover flow”, but is useless for maps because right now, because maps cannot do landscape mode. It felt very secure and attached to the glass. Once I screwed it in further I never thought about it falling, and I’m pretty anal about that sort of thing. What’s cool about the WindowSeat is that you can use it in other places such as the passenger window for kids, or on a bathroom mirror when you’re doing stuff. It comes with a 3.5mm jack that you can use to plug into the AUX input of your car stereo.

Setting up TuneFlex in my car put my iPhone just to the right of the steering wheel and looked sweet. There is a gain adjuster at the base of the TuneFlex so you can match volume levels with you car stereo. You will use it for sure as that volume is weak if you don’t. Also bear in mind your volume levels if you are switching between radio/CD player and the TuneFlex as it could blow you out if you’re not aware.

The TuneFlex will also charge your iProduct and show you it’s doing so through three colors around a ring at the base of the stem. Red means not charging, Orange/Yellow means charging, and Green means that you are all charged. I didn’t like that the TuneFlex stayed on when the car was turned off. Cool if you need to charge your phone, but not if you are taking your phone with you. There should be a power down switch on the TuneFlex because you are forced to take it out of the socket everytime you leave your car. This unfortunate aspect inevitably wears down the security of the stem piece. Not Cool.

The first couple times I used it, the seal between my phone and the TuneFlex insert wasn’t that secure and I would lose sound on one or both sides. After that I just made sure I pressed my phone into the insert firmly to make sure it wasn’t going to come loose. No problems since. What also will happen is that you will need to readjust the TuneFlex here and there due to the bumpyness of your ride on the road. Not a huge deal, but something to be aware of. Anyone with any McGyver/McGruber ancestry would be able to figure out some DIY solutions for the problems I’ve stated above. Also in my car, the TuneFlex totally blocked a clear path to my stereo’s volume knob. Since the SmartClick Remote doesn’t have volume controls you are forced to look down to find it. Not so cool, but I know everyone’s car scenario will be different but it’s still worth mentioning. Though you can take calls through the TuneFlex, Griffin suggests using a BlueTooth headset for the best reception. I don’t really have any friends and rarely receive calls so I did not try this.

Also worth mentioning is that all of the included inserts are faintly labeled on the back so you know which is which. I also noticed that the insert for the iPod Classic 80 & 120 Gig was a little big for the 80 Gig model, and it wasn’t as secure.

The SmartClick Remote took a little while to get used to in regards to turning the wheel because you forget it was there. Fractions of a second later you are quickly reminded, throwing you off for moment. The controls on the SmartClick let you: Play, Pause, FastForward, Rewind, Light Dim, and Shuffle. Shuffle did not work at all with my iPhone. All the other controls worked fine, and felt at ease against my thumb. The SmartClick detaches easily via magnet and you can pass the controller around the car so anyone can change the music.

So which is better? Through it’s multiple flaws I still liked the TuneFlex better. Being that it is more than double the price of the WindowSeat, it will obviously be a tune changer for some, but I liked the flow of the TuneFlex and it looked better in my car. Charging is a bonus, but detaching the TuneFlex every time sucked. Both are really cool in their own right but if I had the extra coin, I would buy the TuneFlex as it is just more practical for my scenario. Both of these Griffin products ooze quality of design and function, and you’d do well with whichever one suites you best.

Griffin WindowSeat Pros:

* Secure and fastened hold on windshield glass
* Easy to find the right fit for your car
* More than just a car product

Griffin WindowSeat Cons:

* Can obstruct view of road while driving
* Swivel feature only cool right now for “cover flow”
* I can’t think of a third con

Griffin TuneFlex AUX w/Smart Click Pros:

* Looks and works great (once you know its flaws)
* Charges iProducts while you use it
* Positions my iProduct closer to me

Griffin TuneFlex AUX w/Smart Click Cons:

* No power off switch, you have to unplug everytime
* Has security issues (holding in iProduct in place)
* Blocks my car stereo volume control

Buy the WindowSeat for $25.

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