Please recommend a good windshield or dashboard mount for my iPhone 4s.
August 14, 2014 8:24 AM   Subscribe

I'd like some recommendations for windshield or dashboard mounts for my iPhone 4s.

* I drive a lot and have what some might call an extreme commute.
* I have an iPhone 4s in an Otterbox Defender case. I love this case and I'm not getting a different one; if the case ever breaks I will very likely buy the same case again.
* I use Waze for traffic avoidance and GPS directions.
* I use Audible to listen to audiobooks during my commute.
* I have a car charger and a patch cable which jacks the audio into my car's AUX port so the audio goes directly to my car stereo. If it matters, which I don't think it does, I drive an '07 Subaru Legacy.

Right now I set my phone down on the center console, on top of the little sliding door that covers the drink holders. I hate having to look away from the road to interact with Audible or Waze, even for just a moment. It's not just annoying, but it's also dangerous, and illegal in most states (including mine).

So, I'm researching car mounts. Amazon and Google both show me tons of options, plus I've looked at a few of the linked reviews. All this information just leaves me even more confused and undecided than before. So, I'm appealing to you, Ask MeFi, for some help and recommendations.

Some Requirements -- I'd like a mount that will:

* Keep my phone at eye level for GPS purposes, preferrably a windshield or dashboard mount such as those used with standalone GPS devices. An air vent mount would be nice in the summer for keeping the phone cool, but obviously not during the winter when I run the heat in the car, so I've ruled out any air vent style mounts.
* Allow access to the charging port at the bottom of the phone and the headphone jack at the top.
* Allow the wires not to be TOO messy going to the cigarette lighter charger and the AUX jack, though this is probably not easy and is therefore not a hard requirement. Difficulty level: my car is stick-shift.
* Not require me to remove my phone from the case. As much as I love love LOVE the Otterbox, it's a pain in the arse to get the phone in and out of it. I NEED the case when I'm not driving because I'm a huge clutz and have been known to drop the phone.

posted by tckma to Technology (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe the Mountek nGroove?

This isn't *exactly* what you're looking for, but I had limited mounting surfaces in my MINI Cooper. I bought this essentially site unseen and it's *great*. If you don't want to attach the magnetic plate directly to your case you can sandwich it between your case and your phone—which my SO does and it works just fine.

There is some glancing down (in my MINI anyway) but your placement may negate that.
posted by littlerobothead at 8:40 AM on August 14, 2014

My brother loves these Everydaymount things so much he's been buying them for the rest of the family. It's lightweight, and has these non-sticky rubbery-adhesive patches that kinda magically grip the dashboard and the phone - it's just feels like ever-so-slightly warm rubber (sort of tacky) but it leaves the dash and the phone clean. Your phone can stick to it in any orientation, and cables won't be a problem. Super cheap too.
posted by Joeruckus at 8:43 AM on August 14, 2014

The Kenu Airframe is the bee's knees. It mounts on the dash air vent and pops right off for out-of-sight storage.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:09 AM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just noticed your remark about air vent mounts in winter. I've used mine with no heat issues at all; you can close or deflect the inner louvers so the phone doesn't overheat.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:12 AM on August 14, 2014

Best answer: Ram mounts are my favourite. We've had a couple of systems, but the Ram's are a great combination of moderate price and convenience.

I wasn't sold on the whole suction cup cup mount until I tried it. It's very secure and adds a lot of flexibility too (we can take it with us when we travel in a rental, etc...). Because they're a spring mounting system they're device agnostic (and thus work well with big cases). A smallish GPS will mount just fine too.
posted by bonehead at 9:16 AM on August 14, 2014

I also like the Kenu Airframe. On one of my cars it's glommed onto a bit of the dash where the radio is, not the air vent.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:35 AM on August 14, 2014

Response by poster: bonehead -- the Ram mounts do indeed look nice, but when I took a close look it seemed like they might not accommodate my case. Do you have a case on your phone?
posted by tckma at 10:21 AM on August 14, 2014

Best answer: I've got this one:

Ram Mount Twist Lock Suction Cup Mount with Universal X-Grip Cell/iPhone Holder

The X-Grip is great. Will easily accommodate your case.
posted by cosmac at 10:25 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

The InfiniApps Slyde is the best mount I've used. No monkeying with the springy sides to mount or unmount the phone. You just touch the phone to the surface and it's mounted.

Be aware that the thin metal piece in the back can interfere with NFC.
posted by cnc at 10:26 AM on August 14, 2014

Best answer: Here's a video showing a 4s with an Otterbox case in a Ram. Otterbox themselves have recommend Rams as their mount of choice.

I actually have a Nexus 5, though the mount works even with my wife's Note 2 (in a wallet case).
posted by bonehead at 10:27 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I came in to recommend the Kenu Airframe as well. Its so small, will accommodate your case and charging cable, and its pretty flexible about placement. I love it because its such a simple and elegant solution to the problems of cases and cables.
posted by Joh at 11:14 AM on August 14, 2014

I have this iOttie mount ... it's not meant for an iPhone specifically, but I use it on a large-ish phone (Samsung Galaxy S3) with a Otterbox Commuter case and I don't have any problems getting it into or out of the mount.

Whatever you go with, keep in mind the various state laws regarding where you can mount things in your car. If you're still in Maryland and never plan on driving out-of-state, you can mount on your windshield with some restrictions, but I'd recommend a dash mount if you ever plan on driving out-of-state.
posted by zebra at 6:01 PM on August 14, 2014

If you go with a suction-cup windshield mount, be aware that thieves look for ring marks on the glass and will break in to steal your non-existent GPS device. Be sure to clean off the marks when you stow the mount.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:34 PM on August 14, 2014

You won't regret the RAM mount.
posted by conrad53 at 11:18 PM on August 14, 2014

I also have the RAM mount twist lock suction cup with X-Grip, and it's super solid. The only potential drawbacks I've run into are that if your dashboard is too curved it might be hard to get it to stick (works great in my VW New Beetle; had problems in a rental Toyota Venza) and that getting the phone in/out of the X-Grip is a two-handed operation.
posted by jjwiseman at 3:45 AM on August 15, 2014

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