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Looking for the perfect car MP3 player/FM transmitter

I have bought quite a number of car MP3 player/FM transmitters from DealExtreme and other similar websites.

A car MP3 player/FM transmitter is a device that takes a SDHC memory card or a USB memory stick and plugs into the car cigarette lighter socket. It plays the MP3 files stored on the memory card/stick and transmits that as FM signal to be picked up and played by the car stereo.

It is a nifty and convenient device because not all car stereo can play MP3 files, or be able to accept a memory card or stick. Also such a device is very portable. You can simply plug it into any vehicle eg. a company car and it will play all your favorite music.

Other alternatives exist eg. bluetooth, but they are simply not as straightforward and universal as this solution. After all, you'd be hard-pressed to find a car without a cigarette lighter plug.

The perfect car MP3 player/FM transmitter should have the following characteristics/features:

  1. Emits strong FM signal
  2. Remembers last FM frequency used
  3. Remembers last MP3 file played
  4. Remembers position of last MP3 file played
  5. Supports Unicode font on LCD display
  6. Body of memory card should not stick out when plugged in
1 and 3 are pretty much essential for the device to be useful. Unfortunately I have had to throw at least .a few devices away right upon arrival because they were lacking one or both of these features.

2 and 4 are good-to-have features (some may even consider them essential). 2 can be overcome by setting the car stereo to the default frequency, but sometimes you need to change the default frequency on the device because of interference, and having to do that during every cold start gets old after a while.

4 should be quite easy to do (just a little extra memory to store the last play position), but surprisingly I have not seen any device that has this feature! Either there is some unknown technical barrier to implementing this feature, or Chinese manufacturers are .too stingy to spend a few more cents to do so.

5 is a nice-to-have, since none of my Mandarin songs have their ID3 displayed correctly. On the other hand, this is understandable because it will probably add a lot to the production cost to embed a Unicode font into such a tiny device.

6 is simply a design issue. Half of the devices have it right, others have the memory card sticking out so badly I wonder what the designers were thinking.

I have yet to find my perfect car MP3 player/FM transmitter. I have bought at least a dozen such devices now, and none of them have all of 1,2,3 implemented, not to mention the others. The local Chinese OEM devices sold in Oz stores are not .much better.

Anyway, if you know of the perfect car MP3 player/FM transmitter, please leave me a comment. I am willing to pay a premium for such a device, but I am tired of buying one device after another and being disappointed over and over again...


  1. you ever find one that met conditions 1 - 3? I did with the Soundfly but it's limited to 1999 songs.

  2. Hi with the soundfly could you plug a phone into it play music through it


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