When shopping for cell phone accessories, I have only one criteria: they need to work. That’s it. I don’t require anything shiny or fancy, and it doesn’t need to perform multiple functions. All it needs to do is work as advertised, and you’ve got a sale.
It’s surprisingly difficult to find a dashboard mount for my phone (Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD). I could buy the officially licensed dashboard mount with a built in charger, but that thing is pretty damn pricey. Not only that, but I would also have a wire running from the mount to the USB port in my car just so it can power the phone when docked. That’s way too much work and inconvenience for something that’s supposed to make my life easier.
I could also go the route of cheap or As Seen on TV…which is unfortunately what I did a few months ago. Seeing an infomercial for the GripGo car mount, I decided to pull the trigger and get one (which came with one free and another ASOTV tomato seed grower thingy). After all, it looked so easy on the infomercial…it must work, right? WRONG.
So here we are, months after the GripGo debacle. I had resigned myself to a life of popping my phone into the cup holder. It’s not too bad; after all, I never use it while driving anyway, and I can make calls with my Ford Sync system, so no harm done. But then, one day I was given a chance to review a phone mount by Satechi, and also a tablet mount for my little ones. Score.
What can I really say about the Satechi Universal Smartphone Dashboard Mount for 3.5-5.5 phones? It meets my only criteria: it works. It’s also small and minimalist enough to where it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. It looks clean, and it blends in with my dashboard.
Setting up the holder is a cinch as all you have to do is remove an adhesive backing from the bottom of the gel suction, press the unit down wherever you want to use it, and press the locking lever down. I live in a pretty warm area of California, and even on “cold” days, the inside of my car can get really toasty. One of the issues with the GripGo was that the mounting suction was always getting loose due to the heat inside my car.
I’m happy to report that I have had no such issues with the Satechi. In fact, the area where I have mounted the holder isn’t even a flat surface; it’s sloped downward and has a textures all over the surface, yet the Satechi has maintained its grip so far. Even with me wrenching the device around to get the best viewing angle, I still haven’t had any issues with the mount sliding loose. My phone pops into the mount easily with the spring holder. It’s strong enough to maintain a tight grip while driving, yet easy enough to insert and remove with one hand. That’s a win for Satechi: it does what it is supposed to.
The next product I received was the Satechi Universal Tablet Headrest Mount for 6.5-8.9 tablets. First off, I did not know they even made 6.5 inch tablets, but I suspected my Nexus 7 would work just fine (which it did). The Universal Tablet Headrest Mount attaches to the pole of your car’s headrest via a clamp. Included with the product are a couple of padded grips to accommodate headrest poles of different girths, so that was nice to see. I ended up having to use one of the inserts myself, since apparently my poles were quite narrow.
Behind the clamp itself is a joint that allows for tilting of different angles, 360 rotation, and height adjustment. You’ve got quite a bit of freedom as to where and how you can mount the device, but I did notice one slight restriction. It appears that you have more freedom of movement with the mount clamped to the back of the driver’s seat; if your child is front facing. If your child is rear facing like both mine currently are, then clamping the mount to the back seat restricts some of the tilting movement based off of the way the seats are angle between front vs back. It’s not a huge inconvenience and my kids are still able to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse just fine in the back on long car rides.
My Nexus 7 sits nice and snug in the mount and doesn’t wiggle about at all. In fact, even while navigating some bumpy terrain at the local pumpkin patch and some windy roads leading up to the pumpkin patch, it didn’t present any issues…which is a lot more than I can say for my old tablet mount for my 10.1 inch tablet (it was a velcro wrap, no bueno).
Both the Smartphone and Tablet Mounts from Satechi are excellent accessories. They work exactly like they’re supposed to, and the price is right. You can find each on the Satechi website: $14.99 for the smartphone mount, and $22.99 for the tablet mount.