Earlier today, we looked at two ZeroChroma “accessories for accessories” — wall- and car-mounting solutions for the iPad Air and iPad mini. Now we’re turning to similar iPhone add-ons called the Car Vent Mount ($20) and the Reflective Armband ($30), which are designed to be paired with ZeroChroma’s FluxStand-equipped VarioEdge or Vortex cases. Unlike the company’s Slide-Mounts, which were so thin and seemingly simple that their $30 asking price was hard to justify, each of these accessories is closer to right-priced; the only question is whether you’ll like the cases that work with them.
ZeroChroma’s Car Vent Mount is a small vent mount solution that competes with case- and device-agnostic solutions such as Kenu’s Airframe and Airframe+, enabling your encased iPhone to hover in front of a car’s air vent. Uniquely, ZeroChroma’s version is built with a screw-based tension clamp, which enables it to attach firmly to pretty much any car air vent out there. Users who may have felt thwarted by car vents with vertical slats will find that ZeroChroma’s solution can firmly grip either vertical or horizontal vents, as the easy-to-adjust rear thumbscrew and four-clip front work together to orient both the Mount and your iPhone any way you prefer.
The particularly novel element in the Car Vent Mount is how FluxStand-equipped iPhone cases expand its functionality. You can flip the stand open and fold it back on a 90-degree angle to get a flat look at your iPhone, or use the ratcheting and rotating features of the FluxStand to choose any other angle and orientation you prefer. Car Vent Mount’s rubberized lobster claw-like grips can hold the stand and iPhone however you like. There’s only one hitch: the adjustments are best made gently in your hand when the case is detached from the Mount, as the torque could otherwise bend and break the stand.
ZeroChroma’s Reflective Armband is similarly different from the pack. Almost every iPhone or iPod armband we’ve reviewed follows the same basic template: combine soft, stretchy neoprene fabric with a Velcro tab closure in the back and a pocket-like iDevice holder on the front. The Reflective Armband alters that formula in several key ways. While it’s still made mostly from neoprene, ZeroChroma has impressively ditched the nearly ubiquitous Velcro in favor of a closed fabric loop that can be adjusted to your preferred size, with circumferences supporting small- to medium-sized arms. We were concerned that the hard plastic sliding adjustment ring wouldn’t be secure enough, but in our testing, it actually worked really well to keep the armband snug across a range of sizes. Only thin kids and particularly beefy bodybuilders might hope for a wider range of sizes, but what’s here is right for most people.
Another unique twist is the hard plastic attachment point that connects the Reflective Armband to ZeroChroma’s iPhone FluxStand-equipped cases. It helps to start with an empty case, open the rear stand, then test the pinch-required pressure clip on the armband to see how they fit together. Seeing them lock together in this way lets you understand both how secure the iPhone is on the band, and how you can hold the iPhone at the edges of the circular stand holder to safely rotate the device to your choice of positions.
Very, very few armbands we’ve tested let you change your iPhone’s orientation for interactions or glances on an as-necessary basis, so the Reflective Armband is a standout here, too. It’s only modestly problematic that your iPhone will cover at least half of the silver reflective coating on the armband as seen from the front, although material may remain obvious from the sides.
The most serious issue with the Reflective Armband is the limited and not particularly workout-friendly collection of cases that currently support it. A majority of the armbands we test include nearly complete coverage for the iPhone, preventing sweat, rain, and other contaminants from messing up your device.
ZeroChroma is currently pitching this accessory as compatible only with two iPhone case designs, VarioEdge and Vortex, both noteworthy for their lack of comprehensive protection. Neither case offers any front coverage, and each has a lot of exposed surface area in the back. The Reflective Armband is good on its own, but with the right protective case in front, it could be great.
Despite their status as accessories to accessories, the Car Vent Mount and Reflective Armband are each good enough to merit our general recommendation. The single biggest knock against both of them is their dependence on a relatively small range of cases in order to be used at all, and then, the Armband’s current lack of wholly protective, workout-safe case options for the iPhone 6. That said, if you have a compatible ZeroChroma case and want their added functionality, both of these accessories offer uncommon frills. We’re anxious to see them supported by more FluxStand options, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.
Company and Price
Model: Armband + Car Mount
Compatible: FluxStand iPhone Cases