Dash cradle for iPhone
December 9, 2010 8:34 AM   Subscribe

iPhone car kit?

I have noticed that I am beginning to need a GPS in my car, mostly in driving off to far-flung Craigslist locales deep in twisty culdesac suburbia. I have an iPhone 3G, and I am a cheapskate (thus, Craigslist).

So my thought is to try out a few of the iPhone GPS apps.

In order to do that, I'll need a dash cradle and in-car power for the phone. Adding boosted speakerphone capacity at the same time makes sense to me but is not crucial.

Since the 3g form factor has been out for so long, searching Amazon for "iPhone 3G car kit mount" produces hundreds of results.

Any experience with specific products?

I guess the decision point is around the speakerphone. A dash-or-glass mount kit with no inbuilt power plus a separate in-car charger seems likely to be the least expensive. Bluetooth speakerphone add-ons are also available separately. So I guess I am leaning toward the simplest, cheapest solution in case I find that using the phone this way doesn't work for me.

I should note that I do not use the device's music-playing capacities at all and consequently do not care about non-telecom audio out.

Previouslies, all a couple years old:

iPhone car charger? November 18, 2008

Where's the simplicity? May 11, 2008

iPhone Car Integration February 5, 2008

My iPhone won't place nice with my car January 29, 2008

Looking for an iPod car kit September 15, 2007
posted by mwhybark to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How about this FM transmitter that will power your phone and let you use the stereo to listen to GPS' voice commands, and a cradle that will attach it to the windshield.

Upside: cheap & works
Downside: really cheap and will take a month to show up.
posted by aeighty at 9:00 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd be wary of FM transmitters in general. My experience with them is that it is often difficult to find a good FM source unless you're in the middle of nowhere (meaning rural, not suburbia) and even then, the sound quality is often spotty at best. I don't think you'd want to be at the whim of whatever the radio reception is like in the areas you're traveling for something like GPS instructions, which are by definition dependent upon location.
posted by dhammond at 9:10 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have an iTrip FM transmitter and I have not had any problem finding and keeping a good spot on the FM dial to use. I drive in rural, suburban and urban locations. I've used cheaper ones in the past that only allowed for four stations at the low end of the spectrum and they really only gave me trouble when their batteries were low. The iTrip runs off your phone's battery and has a input for a charger. I highly recommend it for music or non-music uses.

I keep mine at 87.9 all the time.
posted by soelo at 9:45 AM on December 9, 2010

I just went with the TomTom Car Kit for my vehicle with no integrated nav. It was $79 at my local Best Buy (despite the link). I've used it for a heads-up display app and Navigon and so far it seems fine. It has an in-built speaker - not as nice as a sound-system integration, but enough to meet my need to hear "Turn left" or whatever.
posted by cairnish at 9:47 AM on December 9, 2010

I use an Arkon SM415 mount for my iPhone. It's cheap, works great and seems solid. They also sell the different parts in case a piece breaks. It's 100% better quality than the incredibly junky Griffin Tuneflex Aux with Smartclick and Kensington LiquidAux Deluxe I used in the past. I use the Griffin AutoPilot for charging and audio, through you could get something cheaper if you aren't interested in audio.
posted by cnc at 12:43 PM on December 9, 2010

I can highly recommend CoPilot Live as an iPhone sat nav solution (£20 for UK version). Coupled with a suction mount cradle which I got from eBay for about £2, a twin-USB adaptor which connects into the cigarette lighter and a standard iPhone USB cable this is a ideal solution for me.

I have a Belkin Tunecast FM transmitter but prefer to use a cheap cassette-to-3.5mm adaptor as it cuts down on interference.
posted by mosherdan at 5:42 PM on December 9, 2010

I like the TomTom car kit as well, without the TomTom Navigation app.
posted by shazzam! at 7:58 PM on December 9, 2010

Response by poster: The Arkon looks interesting, I like that it's not model specific.

Not really looking for any transmitter anything, but thanks all the same. Also trying to avoid spending as much as I would for a standalone GPS and avoiding subscription fees.

I do think it's interesting two folks suggested the TomTom without the TomTom application. It's about the same price you cited on Amazon.
posted by mwhybark at 9:01 PM on December 9, 2010

I bought a car holder mount kit from spider-foot.com for my HTC and it has proved to be quite sturdy, although I had to solder some wires in the car charger. Their Iphone 3G car kits.
posted by Authorized User at 2:33 AM on December 11, 2010

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