Android Vehicle Mount Review
If like me, you spend a lot of time in your car, then a decent mobile phone dock will be one of your must have mobile phone accessories. A good dock is even more important to me as my phone essentially becomes my in car media player and navigational guide almost every time I enter my car. My car stereo for example, has Bluetooth connectivity so I get to do cool things like stream Spotify through my car speakers (and take calls). As I also have an NFC enabled phone, everything works as soon as I tap the NFC chip stuck to my dashboard, but that’s for another post!
I’ve been using what was a pretty terrible car dock, one I picked up for an outrageous £10 from PC World for a while now. It wasn’t very good, it was poorly made and my phone came flying out with the tiniest bump in the road, and if you’ve seen the state of the roads up North, you’ll understand when I say my phone spent most of it’s time on the floor, than actually in the dock.
The guys over at MobileFun understood my troubles, and sent me a couple of car docks for me to check out, the Genuine Samsung Universal Vehicle Dock and the SuperGrip Universal Case Compatible Car Mount. I’ve been putting both through their paces to see just how good they are. Rather than a typical couple of reviews, I’ll compare both and see how they match up. Take the jump for my thoughts!
The genuine Samsung dock looks very premium. The matt black plastic looks extremely sophisticated when attached to your windscreen. The sticky pad is attached to a thick, short arm, again made of the same black plastic. The arm is well made and both looks and feels like it was made to last. The part of the mount that holds the phone contains soft padding to ensure that your phone won’t get scratched or damaged when using the dock. Again, as with the rest of the mount this padding feels more towards the premium side too.
The Supergrip mount looks a bit cheaper than the Samsung dock. The quality of the plastic used doesn’t meet the standards Samsung have set. The arm that holds the mount to the windscreen pad, once again, feels cheap. The arm becomes very thin towards the ball, and although this allows for a lot of movement, it also makes the mount feel like it may snap easily if you’re not careful. The grip itself contains a red material that does help add a bit of style to the dock. It looks fine when a phone is connected, however when the “claw” is closed with no phone inside, it looks slightly ugly.
The Samsung dock contains a sticky pad that has kept the dock secure to my windscreen despite the many bumps I’ve been over. You'll be unlikely to see the dock coming off the screen. The mount has adjustable grips that are wide enough to fit the Galaxy Note II in with ease. The grips also gradually come inwards to ensure that it has complete hold of your phone. Unlike cheaper car mounts, your phone should never come flying out mid-journey.
The Supergrip has what is possibly the stickiest suction pad I’ve ever seen. The pad is actually patented, and I can see why. Because it is so strong, it’s also suitable for use on your dashboard too, however in my testing the dashboard location has to be as flat as possible or it simply won’t stick. The grip itself holds the phone fine, and again is wide enough to hold the Note II with ease, even with a fairly thick phone case on.
It’s slightly awkward to open the Supergrip to add a phone, or to release the grip to remove a phone. The clip is at the rear and you will find yourself awkwardly reaching around the back to unclip. the Samsung mount is substantially easier on both counts. To add the phone you simply place it within the grip and push them together until they wrap the phone. To release the phone, there is a conveniently places button on the rear, towards the bottom. A press of this button opens the spring loaded grip and the phone is released.
The Supergrip has a slightly larger range of movement than the Samsung mount, however the Samsung one covers most scenarios you’d potentially place the phone. It works well both vertically and horizontally, the phone fells same in both orientations. The Supergrip feels less secure in portrait due to their being nothing under the phone. Having said that, I don’t believe it was actually any less secure, at least in my testing it held the phone perfectly in both directions.
Both mounts are suitable for any type of smartphone, even up to and slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy Note II. This is one of the more important features of a car mount as you can re-use it when you get your next phone. Neither have a charger included, a desirable but by no means must-have feature. I personally found the Samsung holder to be of higher quality and easer to use on a day-to-day basis. However, the Supergrip did contain one feature that puts it head and shoulders above most other mounts out there...