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Griffin iTrip Aux & iTrip Bluetooth Review

iTrip Bluetooth Testing
iTrip Bluetooth is super easy to use, plug it into a cigarette lighter for power, it’ll automatically go into discovery mode, search for iTrip Bluetooth on your device, and you’re ready to go.

Griffin iTrip Bluetooth

iTrip Bluetooth also supports AAC and aptX for higher quality Bluetooth streaming. Sound quality is subjective, but iTrip Bluetooth’s output did seem a bit clearer than my car’s built-in Bluetooth system. This could be attributed to the fact iTrip Bluetooth was using AAC or aptX, and my car’s built-in Bluetooth system only supports SBC. Although, I felt that volume was a bit louder through my car’s built-in Bluetooth system, which isn’t a huge problem, I just had to turn the volume up a couple notches. iTrip Bluetooth doesn’t feature any control buttons on its body to to skip forward/backward, or play/pause. All control of your music will have to be directly through your device.

Griffin iTrip Bluetooth

One great thing about iTrip Bluetooth is it enables anyone in the car to easily connect their phones at any point in time. Usually built-in systems restrict adding new Bluetooth devices if you’re driving, even if there’s a passenger in the car that could be the person pressing all of the buttons. iTrip Bluetooth doesn’t know whether or not you’re driving, so you can hit its discovery button at anytime to disconnect a device and connect a different device. Also if you have a larger SUV and someone in the back wants to play their phone on a roadtrip, iTrip Bluetooth makes this process really easy to accomplish. Not to mention iTrip Bluetooth is gold if you’re an Uber driver. Your passengers can easily connect to your stereo system to play their favorite songs while you drive them to the club.

iTrip Bluetooth will go to sleep after you’ve reached your destination and turned off your car. Waking it back up is as simple as pressing its only button, or going to Bluetooth options on your device and telling your device to reconnect. While pressing iTrip Bluetooth’s button will wake it up, it also places it into discovery mode and does not attempt to reconnect to the last device. Therefore, the only way to reconnect to iTrip Bluetooth is if a device actively attempts to reconnect (which none of mine do), or manually reconnect through a device’s Bluetooth settings.

I did experience more dropouts, stutters and skips than I’d expect. Only two reasons come to mind why iTrip Bluetooth has these issues:
– It is more sensitive to interference
– It has a small buffer, so if interference occurs, there is less flexibility for errors

My trip from home to work is about 45 minutes, so I was able to test iTrip Bluetooth for a minimum of 1.5hrs/day, 5 days a week, for a solid 3 weeks. I would estimate 90% of the time, iTrip Bluetooth worked exactly as expected. However, if I was in stop and go traffic, maybe close to other cars that have Bluetooth, iTrip Bluetooth would start to stutter and skip. It would usually clear up once traffic resumed its normal flow. I also did some random testing while parked in my garage, and there too I experienced skips and stutters. If I turned off WiFi on my phones, disabled Bluetooth on my car’s built-in system, and made the air ‘as clean as possible’, then skips and stutters were eliminated.

One great example of this is when I tested a MacBook Pro with iTrip Bluetooth. When WiFi was disabled on MacBook Pro, it was streaming music fine to iTrip Bluetooth using aptX. However, once WiFi was enabled, connected, and in use (loading websites), audio output by iTrip Bluetooth severely degraded, and even caused my MacBook Pro to completely disconnect from iTrip Bluetooth. In past tests with other Bluetooth devices, my MacBook Pro had no trouble streaming aptX and using WiFi to browse websites.

Without a spectrum analyzer and connection statistics, it is difficult to pinpoint why playback errors occured while driving and testing in my garage. However after owning my car for about 2 years, driving over 40,000 miles and extensively using its built-in Bluetooth capabilities, I have never experienced one skip, stutter or drop in any situation. So it is a bit alarming that I had so many issues with iTrip Bluetooth.

One note
iTrip Bluetooth only supports music over Bluetooth, so if you’re thinking of using it to listen to calls over your car’s speakers, iTrip Bluetooth isn’t the device for you. This isn’t a negative against iTrip Bluetooth, but I wanted to point it out for anyone who is curious.