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ATPM 9.09
September 2003





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Review: naviPod (iPod Wireless Remote Control)

by Chris Lawson,


Developer: TEN Technology/Dr. Bott

Price: $50

Requirements: iPod (there are different versions of the naviPod for different iPods)

Trial: None

I’m a gadget geek. There, I said it. Some gadgets make it worth being saddled with this label, though, and the naviPod is one of them. I don’t need a remote control for my iPod, because it’s rarely out of arm’s reach, but having one is a convenience I’m certainly not complaining about. Those of you who use your iPods as part of a home stereo system, or who use them heavily in the car and don’t want to deal with reaching for the iPod to change tracks, will greatly appreciate this device.


The naviPod is a three-piece unit, consisting of a wireless IR remote control about 25% larger than a silver dollar, an IR receiver about the size of a container of dental floss that snaps onto the top of the iPod and occupies the FireWire and audio-out ports, and a chrome-plated metal stand that snaps into the back of the IR receiver. The whole apparatus is quite attractive, with the two electronics modules matching the iPod’s plastics and the stand matching the iPod’s chrome casing. Assembly is very intuitive, in the spirit of the Macintosh experience, requiring only the joining of the IR receiver and the iPod and the receiver with its metal stand. The only assembly issue I had was with the alignment of the FireWire and audio plugs on the IR receiver, which are designed to be somewhat adjustable, since the spacing between FireWire and audio-out ports on the various iPods differs slightly. A quick adjustment to the FireWire plug achieved perfect alignment and no further issues were had.

Remote performance is on par with a typical IR remote control for your television or VCR. I had no problems operating the unit at a distance of up to 30 feet, with a clear line of sight to the receiver. It remains to be seen how long the included CR2032 lithium button-cell battery will last, but I anticipate it to be similar to other IR remotes (i.e., a few years). Battery life on the iPod is shortened slightly, but probably not enough to be an issue, since the purpose of the naviPod is to be used in a semi-permanent setting where AC power is likely to be readily available.

The remote, like the wired remotes included with Apple’s second-generation iPods (and available separately for first-generation models with manual scroll wheels), controls audio functions only, including volume, play/pause, and skipping forward or backward track-by-track. The skip buttons function just as they would on the iPod, acting as fast forward or rewind buttons if held down. The iPod’s remote protocol makes no provision for accessing the menus, and thus the naviPod can’t either.

The biggest drawback to the naviPod is that its included stand renders it unusable with many iPod cases, including Dr. Bott’s own LeatherPod (which itself cannot function effectively as a stand). With the stand removed from the IR receiver, the case can be left in place without much fuss. The manual notes that although the pass-through FireWire jack on the naviPod allows for recharging of the iPod via the power adapter (or via computer), it does not allow for data transfer to or from the iPod, so the naviPod must be removed in order to synchronize your iPod with your Mac. Attempting to synchronize the iPod with a Mac through the naviPod will not damage anything, but it simply doesn’t work.

My only other complaint—albeit a minor one—is with the remote, which, while very attractive, seems to have been designed with a “function-follows-form” attitude in mind. The rounded bottom makes it nearly impossible to set on an angled surface without sliding. TEN should have taken a tip from Bose’s Wave Radio remote and made the naviPod remote rectangular and flat.

I’ve also been told that devices such as Griffin’s iTrip will refuse to work in conjunction with the naviPod; I hope to address some of these potential problems in future reviews. For now, I suggest anyone wishing to use two devices such as these at the same time contact both manufacturers and do some investigating, and please post your findings as feedback below.

Reader Comments (11)

Mimi Tackaberry · December 13, 2003 - 20:01 EST #1
Thanks for the caveat about naviPod's compatibility with iTrip. My local Mac store confirms this to be true. If you want to use a naviPod while your iPod is connected to the FM, the iPod must be connected with the "line out."
Michael Hill · April 3, 2004 - 20:44 EST #2
I own the iTrip and I'm very happy with's great for broadcasting your iMac to a boom box or car radio, but because of the clever design and well thought out capabilities of the naviPod the need for iTrip is eliminated because the NaviPod has an AUDIO OUT jack on the back which allows you to phyisically attach your iPod to your stereo system using a much better quality, hard-wired connection.

I don't really see incompatibility with the iTrip as a negative because they serve different purposes. Being able to pick my iPod up and change channels in the car is not really much different than picking up any remote control. But knowing that I have a much better quality connection between my iPod using the built in Audio-Out of the NaviPod and remote control capabilities proves that there's room for both.
Chris Lawson (ATPM Staff) · April 3, 2004 - 23:37 EST #3
the need for iTrip is eliminated because the NaviPod has an AUDIO OUT jack on the back which allows you to phyisically attach your iPod to your stereo system

There are hundreds of thousands of vehicles sold each year whose factory stereos have no provision for any external audio input, to say nothing of the millions of vehicles on the road already that also have this problem. Had I not installed an aftermarket stereo in my car, along with the $20 auxiliar audo-input adapter, I would have had to resort to a device like the iTrip for iPod-car stereo connection.

You're right that the two devices serve different purposes, but because they serve different purposes, their functions are complementary. The naviPod's incompatibility with any such device for the first-generation iPod user is a drawback worth mentioning.

glenn · May 23, 2004 - 03:39 EST #4
question my 2003 honda goldwing motorcycle has a factory male audio plug that allows you to plug in a portable cd player or mp3 player. the volume of the music is controled by the motorcycles volume knob. since the audio out port is covered by the navipod, is there any way this device will work for me? please help

glenn in phx az
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 23, 2004 - 12:14 EST #5
Glenn - didn't you just read Chris' comment above yours? He clearly stated that the NaviPod has an audio out jack so you can plug in your iPod's audio to your motorcycle's audio plug.
Richard Evans · May 26, 2004 - 05:27 EST #6
I have a navipod for my 40GB and 20GB iPods. I play my ipods through my main stereo system. Sadly the volume control on the Navipod doesn't work! Is it faulty or is there some king of compatibility problem? Any adveic would be greatly appreciated.

Chris Lawson (ATPM Staff) · May 26, 2004 - 16:50 EST #7
You may simply need to make sure the connection between the NaviPod and iPod is secure. I've had a similar problem -- the remote doesn't work at all -- on a couple occasions where I didn't quite get the NaviPod seated on the iPod's headphone jack.

If that doesn't do it, I'd contact Dr. Bott about a replacement.

joe costanzo · July 10, 2004 - 18:07 EST #8
when using your ipod with a docking station through your stereo receiver. the volume control on your stereo controls the volume. the ipods volume control does not work.
CK · May 22, 2006 - 10:41 EST #9
Please help me if you can……

I am using my home stereo Sony Amplifier STR DE 425 that outputs 100 watts per channel however once I plug in Ipod I can only get maybe ~25 watts

Is there a way to amplify the signal from ipod and send it to home receiver so it plays like it should?

Kris · August 14, 2007 - 00:42 EST #10
where can i buy naviPod (iPod Wireless Remote Control)?

please let me know asap

it's really urgent
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · August 14, 2007 - 01:57 EST #11
Kris - according to the TEN Technology web site, they've ceased operations and probably don't sell the naviPod any more, but it appears Dr. Bott has some for sale. We provided a link at the top of the review—as with all our reviews. You can search for 'navipod' on the Dr. Bott site and you should find results.

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