Company: ProClip USA
Price: $29.95, $39.95 respectively
Compatible: iPod 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, iPod photo
ProClip Padded Adjustable Holder with Tilt Swivel
Pros: An attractive, sturdy and car-customized mounting solution for iPods and iPod photos, using a padded lining to protect the iPods from scratch damage. iPods can be used with or without their cases on - a significant improvement - and the holder’s adjustable sides are easily adjusted to accommodate virtually anything you want to put inside.
Cons: Price of full mounting system is high relative to other options.
In the “accessories that are worth their price premiums” category, ProClip’s various car mounts have continued to deliver superior alternatives to cheaper and simpler competing designs. Most recently, we reviewed the company’s Padded Holder (iLounge rating: A-), which came closer than ever to offering the perfect in-car mounting solution for full-sized iPods and iPod photos. Now the company has released the Padded Adjustable Holder with Tilt Swivel ($39.95), a design which we believe is the very best car mount we’ve ever seen for the iPod, but with only one caveat: like its predecessors, it requires a separate vehicle-specific part called the Dashboard Mount ($29.95), bringing its total cost up to nearly $70.
If you can get over the price - which, unlike so many products, we would actually urge you to consider - you’ll be blown away by ProClip’s newest design. Familar, positive features are in abundance. It starts with the soft, anti-scratch padded sides of the company’s Padded Holder, which we liked before and respect even more after an unexpectedly rough test: a naughty dog managed to grab the Adjustable Holder and use it as a toy, yet barely removed the padding and did very little damage to the plastic. We’ve also left the Holder in a hot vehicle for days at a time without any issues - it’s very resilient.
The other building block is ProClip’s easy repositioning mechanism, taken from the company’s earlier Tilt Swivel Holder (iLounge rating: A-). Consequently, you can drop an iPod inside without its case on, turn it on virtually any angle you prefer, and tilt it 15 degrees left, right, up or down. One Philips head screw in the rear of the mount tightens or loosens the ball joint; four small screws attach the Adjustable Holder to the Dashboard Mount. For more details on that process, check out our earlier ProClip reviews.
New to the Adjustable Holder - and critical to its appeal to us - is its ability to accommodate silicone and other encased iPods. As much as we have loved ProClip’s other holders, we’ve always felt (and expressed) dismay at having to pull our iPods out of their silicone cases to use them - a problem common to many (but not all) other holders that are out there. Now ProClip includes two movable left and right side pieces that lock into place with a set of four thumbscrews. Spin them to a loose position with your finger and put your DLO Jam Jacket, iSkin eVo series, Power Support Silicone Jacket, Speck SkinTight, XtremeMac Silicone Sleeve, or other case inside to test the fit, then tighten the screws. The Adjustable Holder can’t shrink to iPod mini size, but any 1G-4G or photo iPod will fit without a problem.
Adjustment and use of the screws is simple and effective. While you can loosen the thumbscrews to the point where they’ll fall off, they’re easy to replace if that happens, and the Adjustable Holder’s body feels sturdy no matter how its sides are positioned.
Simply put, this new and well-executed feature put us in a rating quandry: does the Adjustable Holder deserve a flat A or an A-? It’s expensive enough to be on the fine edge of those two grades, but it’s money well-spent. We’ve been using the company’s prior Padded Holder for months, and liking it so much that we’ve stopped carrying our iPods in cases all the time - a major mistake, entirely our fault. Scratches from daily use are now very evident on the iPods’ front and back surfaces, but would have been entirely prevented if we could have kept the iPod in a case and mounted it in the Adjustable Holder. Additionally, based on our prior reviews’ comments, we only briefly need to reiterate that the vehicle-specific Dashboard Mount portion holds the iPod more stably and in a better position than the various inexpensive alternatives we’ve tested - again, you pay more, and get better results - a better look, firm mounting, and less damage to your iPod.
Without a doubt, ProClip’s Padded Adjustable Holder with Tilt Swivel is the best iPod car mount we have tested. While it rides the fine edge of A status because of its price, it’s incomparably excellent once installed, and we feel pretty certain that no one who buys one will be disappointed by its performance - just as has been the case with the company’s earlier mounts, which continue to receive positive comments from our readers. That said, we’d love to see ProClip work on reducing its prices so that more iPod owners can afford to take the plunge into proper in-car mounting. Products this good should be ubiquitous.