Since I’ve been writing this year about mobile accessories, the next logical step was to literally take things on the road.
In car phone options have been around for years, however what to do with all these smart phones which are so prevalent these days? Most modern cars seem to incorporate modern handsets in some fashion,but do they really provide the best value? Given the quality of sensors and cameras, coupled with features like GPS, can we do something better?
Enter the Olixar PhoneDock.
This accessory essentially allows you to turn your smartphone into a bit of a Go Pro or a NavMan style application.
Before we get to the fun options you have with such a device, let’s look at what is included. Out of the box, there’s the phone holder itself, which features a really smart approach to mounting to your dashboard or windscreen. The attaching base appears to use a technology similar to what is used in the Executive Folio, it can be made adhesive by simply adding water.
The only obvious accessories to add to the Phone Dock, is a separate charging cable and an appropriate cigarette charging adapter, as pictured. Attaching the Phone Holder to the dashboard or windscreen is simplicity itself. You just need to clean the area and then hold the Holder in place and push down a tab on the base to achieve suction/adhesion. The Holder is easily removed by reversing this process.
The Road Test
Placement of the Holder is paramount. You don’t want it to obscure too much of your view – and make sure to factor in the profile of your handset too. For my decidedly large iPhone 6, I opted for a dashboard mount, in front and to the right of the existing in-dash display. The arm is easy enough to use that you can insert and remove the phone with one hand, if need be. This is helpful if you are in a rush and are trying to do multiple things at once, e.g. starting the car or inserting car keys etc..
Once you have your smartphone in place (the Dock holds he phone like a large arm), you have a few options in terms of the sort of apps you can take advantage of. On the basis of a referral from a friend, I purchased the iSymDVR app, and the Navmii app from the Apple iStore. My phone is now effectively a dash cam and GPS navigator all-in-one. The Phone Holder holds the phone securely and absorbs a fair degree of shock during driving.
As you can see from these screen captures, the Holder is so steady it allows the iPhone to take steady long exposure photos at night, although unfortunately it is still at the mercy of those golden Winter sunsets!
I’ve been using the Phone Holder daily – almost each time I’ve been driving – and it’s achieved two key things for me: it gives me a logical place to put my phone when I’m driving, and I can easily charge the phone at the same time. Recommended!
More accessories are available at MobileZap