Best car mount for your smartphone

Best car mount for your smartphone

Summary: It's not easy to mount your smartphone in your car in such a way that it's not going to end up under your brake pedal at the wrong moment. Here's a car mount that will make sure your smartphone stays where you want it to.

SHARE:

Following my "How to turn your tablet into a mobile workstation" piece the other day, many of you pointed out to me that it omitted a very important product for the road warrior--a car mount.

Over the years I've tried dozens--possibly hundreds--of car mounts for a number of devices ranging from smartphones to GPS receivers. These mounts have had price tags ranging in price from a few bucks to well over $100.

Most of the mounts turned out to be junk, either breaking easily or falling off regularly, while others seemed good until the day that that it falls off the screen or explodes into its constituent parts at the most awkward time possible.

This is not something you want happening on the highway when you're doing 70 miles per hour.

One car-mount brand stands head and shoulders above the rest, and it is RAM Mounts by National Product. Whatever you want to mount in your car, truck, boat, or motorcycle, RAM Mounts has a mount for you.

The mount I use is the RAM Universal X-Grip. Thanks to its innovative spring-loaded four mounting legs, this mount will accommodate not only an iPhone--with or without a case--but also any device that is between 0.875 and 3.25 inches wide, and a minimum of 4 inches in height.

(Credit: RAM Mounts)

I have the X-Grip attached to a 6-inch RAM double-socket arm, which is itself connected to the windshield using RAM's excellent 3.25-inch diameter suction cup twist-lock base. The suction cup is a monster, and if attached properly, there's no chance of it going anywhere.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 08.54.06
(Credit: RAM Mounts)
  • RAM Universal X-Grip: $23.55

  • RAM double socket 6-inch arm: $20.38

  • RAM 3.25-inch diameter suction cup twist lock base: $16.95

  • Total: $60.88.

The great thing about this mount is that it will fit a wide range of devices--iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone--and thanks to the masses of socket arms and mounting options, you have masses of options.

In practice, my RAM mount set-up is rock solid and very reliable. There's hardly any vibration, and once that suction cup is attached, it stays put.

(Credit: ZDNet)
(Credit: ZDNet)

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

31 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Nagging problem solved!

    Thanks for this tip!
    :-)
    kd5auq
  • Just ordered mine!

    I just ordered a different car mount not two days ago from Amazon. If only I waited a little longer I might have went with this one. Oh well, if the one I ordered doesn't work out I will give this one a try.
    statuskwo5
  • Uhhh

    You're driving on the wrong side of the road!
    FDanconia
    • "Made in the USA"...

      ...but only available for right-hand drive cars.
      It'sNotMe
    • Looks like he's driving on the wrong side of the car too!

      Unless he's in one of 'those' countries!
      UGottaBKidding
  • How does it do when frozen?

    I have also tried several different mounts, and while they seem to work fine in the summer when it is warm. During the winter when it is -5 and the suction cup freezes it does not work so well. So I would like you to try an experiment. Put your mount in the freezer for a couple hours and then see if it will stick to your window and let me know. If it works I will buy one today. If it doesn't then it is no different than all the rest.
    ryanmc
  • Poor Selection Technique

    Having tried dozens and now found one that worked I wonder how you're choosing them. Is it by colour?
    I've had a navigon gps for 3yrs, never failed after the first couple of attempts when stationary. My smartphone holder, brand unknown while I sit here has not failed in 2yrs. Are you getting a kickback?
    Little Old Man
  • It's real ugly!

    Why do we need car mounts? If cars can have DIN (German Standards) size slots for stereos built by ANYONE, cars should by now have a standard recess for a smart phone.
    kingkong88@...
    • Standard?

      Which phone do we use as a standard? Even different iphones won't be comfortable in the same dock any more. DIN based stereos are also on the decline, replaced by built in units which can't be easily stolen or replaced.
      Little Old Man
  • Homemade

    Large binder clip. Replaced wire handles with custom-bent ones made out of coat hanger wire, shaped for maximum phone grip area ("[K" where the 'left bracket' is the part that clamps to the phone and the angled legs of the "K" are bent inwards at the ends to fit into the spring steel clip's wire holes) and wrapped with cloth gaffer's tape to avoid scratching the phone. Clamped to air duct--has added benefit of cooling the phone when using GPS (it gets pretty warm). Cost: Free. Time to make: 1 hour.
    Geedavey
    • 4 hours and I gave up

      This sounded easy to do, but I've spent 4 hours ( not including the time to drive to a store and buy binder clips ) and 3 failed attempts. If you can get it to work, then it your idea will save money. Personally, I've given up and decided to buy a mount.
      Answerfactory
  • I have a similar mount... it sucks.

    It's a pain in the ass to get the phone positioned just right, so that the spring loaded grips don't press the volume / camera buttons on the side of the phone. For the price of the one you posted, I would expect it to have docking / charging built into it instead of a couple of generic rubber grips.
    mrefuman
  • Even better...

    ...3M Dual Lock strips (what mounts an E-Z Pass to a windshield) on the phone & dashboard.

    Instant $55.00 savings.
    IT_Fella
    • Mess up my case?

      and this doesn't require you to attach anything to your phone?
      Answerfactory
  • Wildly Agree!

    I've been using RAM mounts for a few years now, starting with a pole mount laptop solution for off-road topo navigation; without question they are the best you can get. I currently have the same X-Grip setup for my iPhone (might be a smaller base than yours) and also have the larger 7" X-Grip for my iPad mini (mostly for Waze navigation) -- even with the additional weight of the tablet in an Otterbox, the vibrating/shaking is minimal. Git you one! ;-)
    john_kaufman
  • Best One For Me

    The best one that I've found and use is the model below:

    Bracketron PHV-202-BL Grip-iT GPS and Mobile Device Holder

    It mounts to your vent and works for either GPS or cell phones and is only $11 on Amazon.
    terrr28
  • I have one worry...

    The "suction cup twist lock base" did not go into the test video of the "RAM Universal X-Grip"...
    so no matter how strong the "RAM Universal X-Grip" is then do it need a very strong suction cup that do not fall off the windscreen because of strong sun and some shaking ride...
    iTrucker
  • Suction Cup Mount???

    I have had three phone mounts that use suction cups, one that was really huge and as soon as the temperature goes below freezing, all suction cups released. If I warm up the car and reattach the mount it stays until I park and it gets really cold again and when I open the door, there they are, on the floor. I found a place that dosen't show and epoxyed the thing to the dash. Now it is there to stay!
    dennyc5@...
  • Pocket

    The only safe mount is in your pocket. Shut up and drive already! You are not the only one using the road and you are endangering the rest of us by diverting your attention away from the immediate task at hand, which is getting somewhere safely. If safety is not your concern, take it to a demolition derby at your county fair.
    trapper
    • GPS is legit

      Far safer to have a GPS unit / smartphone giving voice commands than someone fumbling with printed directions or a map they stare at in their lap.

      The real safety tip is to consider where an airbag is going to deploy when mounting items to the dash and/or windshield. Having those items rocket into your skull at 200mph airbag deployment speeds isn't going to be fun.
      ejhonda