There is an important semantic distinction between “inexpensive” and “cheaply made” that differentiates high-value iPod accessories from affordable but disposable ones. JAVOedge’s Universal Mobile Mounting Kit for Apple iPhone ($30) walks so directly on that fine line that it’s equally hard to hate or love, delivering a mounting option that we haven’t yet seen from other companies.
By “option,” we mean to say that the Universal Mounting Kit grafts two different car accessories together in one package: an air conditioning vent clip for the iPhone and a suction-based mounting arm, each designed to share the same iPhone-gripping plastic and foam rubber holder. As the photos suggest, you can mount the iPhone either on your car’s windshield with the suction mount, or on one of the vents of your car’s air conditioner with the clip. Both of these ideas have been done before by other companies—Radio Shack is just one of many places that have been selling them for years—but it’s unusual to see them in a single package that gives you the choice of solutions.
JAVOedge’s implementation is acceptable rather than stellar. The suction cup arm mount will work to attach iPhone to the windshields of some cars, and includes an adhesive mounting plate if you prefer to attach the arm to another surface, such as a dashboard. Unlike companies such as Kensington, which have released flexible gooseneck-laden Car Mounts to help crane the iPhone to your preferred viewing angle and position, JAVOedge’s arm is shorter, and uses a couple of pivoting points that offer somewhat less satisfying control over iPhone’s angle. Similarly, the included vent clip does hold your iPhone in many cars’ air conditioning vents. It has an angle pivot joint, which lets you turn the iPhone left or right by 15 or 20 degrees, but doesn’t offer upward or downward tilt like the ball joints in more expensive ProClip adjustable holders.
With one exception, the iPhone holder is basically of the same “universal device” variety we’ve been seeing for years. It uses pressurized, pop-out left and right arms to hold the iPhone in place, flip-out bottom tabs that optionally provide added support, and foam pads to prevent any of its parts from scratching the iPhone’s body. To JAVOedge’s credit, the system’s arms and tabs can be completely adjusted to avoid interfering with iPhone’s side buttons or bottom speakerphone and Dock Connector features; this isn’t necessarily the case with some of the generic car mounts we’ve seen.
However, JAVOedge’s quality control is once again to blame for the holder’s major failing: first, one of the side pads started to peel off when we tried to adjust it with the iPhone inside, and then both of the pads started to come off when we removed the iPhone from the mount. While this caused no iPhone damage and the pads could be pushed back into place, the idea of having to deal with this every time you pull out your iPhone—merely because of cheap glue—is maddening. Your only other option is to use a spring release button every time you want to get the iPhone out, then re-clamp it into place every time you want to put it back in.
That’s a shame, because for a total price of $30, the Universal Mobile Mounting Kit is otherwise a good deal. It doesn’t look ridiculous, and provides you with the ability to choose from multiple potential mounting locations regardless of the specific vehicle you own. While we continue to prefer slightly nicer, vehicle-specific options such as ProClip’s Padded Holders, and would give the nod to Kensington’s design first if you want a higher-quality windshield mount, the Universal Mobile Mounting Kit is an okay option at a reasonable price, and could be a real contender if the company fixes its most glaring issue.
Company and Price