Review: Annex Products Quad Lock Mounting System Bike Kit for iPhone 5
Unlike other bike-mounting cases we've seen in the past, Annex Products' Quad Lock Mounting System Bike Kit ($70) is also capable of being used as a normal case, not just when you're riding. The package is made up of several components, starting with a plastic case that's respectable in its own right. You also get a mount, O-rings and zip ties for attaching the unit to your handlebars, and a clear rubber "poncho" to cover the iPhone's screen. It's part of the company's Quad Lock system, which includes a wall mounting kit and tripod adapter as well.
The case itself is a one-piece playthrough design, coming only in black. Flexible edges allow for easy installation of your iPhone 5, and once it’s inside, it’s pretty well-protected. Sleep/Wake and volume button coverage is built-in, and there’s a slight raised lip protecting the screen. Tight openings exposing the speaker, Lightning port, microphone and headphone port mean greater protection for the bottom edge. However, this limits you to only using Lightning cables with smaller plugs; Apple’s and slightly larger third-party options will work.
Annex Products includes the poncho to protect your iPhone from water and other elements on an as-needed basis. The transparent rubber fits around the front and edges, covering each of the buttons and ports; you’re still able to use all the buttons through the material, though. We were surprised by how well the screen and FaceTime camera worked through the material, although the rubber sometimes clings to the screen in small areas, creating a prismatic effect. It’s not ideal for making calls; the audio output is surprisingly good, but input to the iPhone’s microphones is so muffled that callers will have problems understanding you.
On the back of the case is a 1.25-inch circle with four extended segments. This is how you attach the bike mount, and it’s a pretty smart locking system: simply line up the mount, press down, and twist. A blue plastic ring snaps in place to lock it in. To remove it, you lift the ring, twist in the opposite direction, and pull it out.
Although not as solid as a proper clamp mounting system, the O-rings and zip ties are totally acceptable ways to mount Quad Lock on your bike. Hooks at all four corners of the curved plastic that fits around the handlebars hold the strong rubber rings securely, and in our testing, we had no fear that the iPhone would fall off.
Ultimately, Quad Lock Mounting System Bike Kit is a pricey package, but quite nice. We appreciate that it can be used full-time, rather than just while you’re riding, and that it’s a good case for non-biking purposes. The poncho is a smart way to give people added protection for the times when they need it, without encumbering the iPhone’s screen and phone calling abilities during dry times. That said, we would have expected that it would include a screw-on clamp or similar, heavy-duty mounting system given the price; the O-rings and zip ties work, but don’t feel worthy of the price premium. Overall, the Quad Lock Mounting System Bike Kit is a good product, and earns our general recommendation.