FeaturesThe Fusion CA-IP500 deals with the issue of the various generations and sizes of iPods by shipping with an array of adapter sleeves. The unit works with and has adapters for the iPod Classic, the iPod Touch, and all three generations of the iPod Nano, but not the iPhone. Just snap in the appropriate adapter, slide in your iPod, and close the faceplate. If you’re a single iPod user, setup ends here and you can enjoy your music. However, if you own multiple iPods–for example a Classic and a Nano–or if you want to listen to music on a friend’s device, then you’ll have keep the appropriate adapters with you at all times. Who wants a glove compartment full of empty plastic sleeves?
This setup also presents a problem if Apple releases a new iPod design in the future. For example, the fourth-generation iPod Nano was released after the Fusion CA-IP500. People can order an adapter sleeve for this new Nano on Fusion’s Web site at no additional cost, but then you still have to deal with the slight inconvenience of waiting for it to be shipped. Fortunately, Fusion’s customer service is quick and very easy to deal with.
While some iPods are easy to remove, others–such as the slim iPod Touch–are more difficult to grip and require more force than we were comfortable with to remove.
In addition to iPod playback, the CA-IP500 features an AM/FM tuner with RDS and a rear-mounted RCA auxiliary input.
In sumWhile in theory, an internal iPod dock answers the question, “Where do I put my iPod while driving?” and eliminates cables and USB dongles, it creates a new problem of carrying around adapter sleeves or being unable to use different size iPods. We also factored in the cheap-feeling build quality when determining our design score. Audio quality and ease of use is just average and we rated the unit’s performance as such.
When all is said and done, we conclude that while it is possible to have an enjoyable in-car iPod experience with the Fusion CA-IP500–particularly if you are a single-iPod user–there are much more elegant solutions from the more-established competition that are more future-proof, have better build quality, and easier-to-use interfaces.