Kensington LiquidAUX for iPhone and iPod model:K33429US

Filed under: , , , , , , , by: TRuC

Out of the Box :
Roadworthiness: 3
Ease of Use: 2
Cost Vs. Value: 3

In a nutshell: "It's better than most aftermarket iPod car audio accessories I've seen."

5 - You better get this before you're the last loser on the planet without one
4 - You know that kid that you went to school with that smelled like used diapers, had perpetual big neon-green boogers and never brushed his teeth? You'll be that kid if you don't get this
3 - It's alright. Your parents might even think it's cool
2 - I like it, no, I hate, actually I like it but sometimes I hate it
1 - Worse than getting kicked in the balls/boobies and tossed headfirst into a port-a-jon

Final Eval: Jury is still out waiting on a warranty replacement 5/29 - update (7/15/09) Well. I've tried to make this work, but apparently, the LiquidAUX has some issues revolving around the remote control communicating with the power adapter after the car has been turned off. I still have to disconnect and reconnect the iPod to reset the connection so the remote will work.

I hate to give this a poor rating, but it is a product that isn't functioning like it should. I called Kensington again and asked for any known issues, which there were not. My report is "being checked out by the R&D team and they will get back in touch with me when a possible resolution is found." I asked if it was plausible that Kensington sent me two malfunctioning units in which the customer service rep said yes. Unfortunately, this places a fault within their Quality Control Department.

I still use it as is, and I reset the connection when I know that I'll be driving for awhile where skipping or replaying a track will be needed. I've relocated the remote to the emergency brake handle to keep my steering wheel clear and free. I've found that the e-brake handle makes a great location for the remote.

In this day and age, an iPod is about as common as a toothbrush - everyone has one and those who don't, should probably get one. For some, having an iPod is such a no brainer that it's not uncommon to have more than one. For others, it's about as hard to accept having an iPod as it is to open up a Facebook, Myspace or even an iTunes account. But this isn't about getting an iPod, it's about how to play the damn thing in your car.

The iPod accessories market is as saturated as that of the mp3 player itself. Companies came out of the woodwork to battle the iconic digital player, and even more came out to create the accessories. I've tried out several different iPod products and accouterments ranging from the simple AUX Cord to the fancy wireless systems.

I felt compelled to review the Kensington LiquidAUX (K.L.) because I was pretty excited to have a cleaner set-up in my car. It was obvious that Kensington focused on the aesthetics for this one. The benefit of a wireless steering wheel mounted remote was icing on the cake...especially for Heidi who has to deal with the 75mph, white knuckle ride on the rumble-strips while I searched for the perfect track.

So to use the K.L., you have to have an Auxiliary jack. Newer cars have them as an option on the dash but for us less privileged folks, it's pretty easy to get around it. I've been installing aftermarket car stereos in my own cars since 93' and even then, couldn't imagine putting in a stereo without an AUX jack. If you're not savvy on installing and you're so far behind on the times and still using a tape player, you can put in tape adapter. Those of you who have neither and your stereo is straight out of the factory, I guess you're screwed.

Set-up with the K.L. was pretty much plug-and-play. It's so simple in fact, the manual only uses illustrations. As with all mp3 aftermarket car adapters, the power adapter goes into the cigarette lighter. The beauty of this set-up is that the AUX. cord is wired from the power adapter and you just plug the other end into the AUX. jack, attach the wireless remote to the steering wheel and voila, you're set.

The remote is simple and gives you the options of play, skip forward, backwards and shuffle. I had minor reservations about putting it on my steering wheel because it kind of becomes a speed bump in the smoothness of the steering wheel itself- which could be a problem if you're like me and like to lightly let go of the steering wheel to let it correct itself. I also had to tell myself a couple times that it was more function that it was form - I wasn't a big fan of the obvious aftermarket look.

Despite the simplicity of the plug-and-playability, there are some complications to the operation. The main issue that I had came when the process of turning the car off after using the system and then turning it back on; this rendered the remote dead and useless. I had to unplug and replug the system from the iPod to get it to work again. This became quite annoying after awhile. I believe the problem lies in the systems' "smart" function and how it puts everything in "sleep mode." I tried several different shut-off and on combinations but to no avail.

Now, amidst all the contempt I've developed for this device, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I called Kensington this morning and reported my problem. Not only was there a surprisingly short hold period, the company decided to replace the complete system at their expense. Even though Kensington has a 2-year limited warranty on the K.L., the operator didn't ask me the date of my purchase and promptly gave me a replacement confirmation and asked that when I had the opportunity, to call back with the serial number.

So, with that, I'll be gladly giving this a second chance.

See you out there,



On June 9, 2009 at 2:59 PM , Adam said...

So this system works on an iPhone as well? I've had trouble in the past with after market car adapters claiming to work for both iPod / iPhone and causing my phone to heat up (that's a bad sign, right?)

On June 10, 2009 at 6:36 PM , TRuC said...

check out their website, they make a few models made for the iphone, it's seems like it could be a good one with great reviews.