Tech review: A mount for your smartphone that can be moved from car to car, and an add-on Bluetooth receiver can help you use your phone more safely while driving.
Have you ever used your phone to help navigate in the car?
If you don’t have a passenger who can help you with navigation, you will benefit from having your phone mounted conveniently within reach so you can interact with the phone with minimal distractions. (And a mount will help you comply with Washington state’s new distracted driving law, which goes into effect in July and forbids use of a handheld device.)
One of the first things I do in a new car is figure out how and where to mount my phone.
I drive a Honda Fit and I installed a permanent mount that’s designed just for my car, but what about when I drive other vehicles?
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I drive my wife’s car pretty often, and when I’m visiting my parents or my in-laws, I usually end up driving one of their vehicles as well. I usually toss my phone in a cup holder, but a temporary place to mount my phone would be helpful.
Let’s look at a few mounts that are designed to be easily moved from car to car.
And while we’re talking about keeping your phone out of your hands while in the car, let’s look at a Bluetooth solution for those who don’t have built-in Bluetooth in their factory sound systems.
Belkin Car Vent Mount
Most cars have air-conditioning vents with horizontal fins to direct the air. The Belkin Car Vent Mount ($24.99, belkin.com) uses a rubber clip that slides between the fins to hold your phone.
The phone is secured to the mount with a universal adjustable bracket that holds phones up to 3.3 inches wide. It opens wide enough to hold an iPhone 7 Plus that’s in a case.
The mount also rotates 360 degrees to orient the phone’s screen vertically or horizontally, and there are cord management clips behind the bracket.
This is a really small mount that you can toss in your bag easily. But the Belkin Car Vent Mount won’t work with every car. My wife drives a Mini Cooper, and her vents are round and not compatible.
Scosche Magic Mount CD
If your car has an exposed CD slot, you can opt for a mount that holds itself to the car using that slot.
The Scosche Magic Mount CD ($19.99, scosche.com) has rubberized fins that slip into the CD slot. You turn a thumbscrew to tighten the fins and create a secure mount. Remove any CDs in the drive before mounting.
Scosche makes a variety of Magic Mounts that use magnets to secure your device. You’ll need to attach a small metal plate to your phone. Most people mount the plate on a case. You can even attach the plate inside the case if it’s thin enough.
I use a Scosche Magic Mount in my car, and I find the magnet is really the easiest way to mount the phone.
Anker SoundSync Drive
Bluetooth integration from your smartphone to your car stereo is a wonderful thing, but what if your car didn’t come with Bluetooth?
My Honda Fit doesn’t have Bluetooth but it does have an aux-in jack.
The Anker SoundSync Drive ($19.99, Amazon.com) is an add-on Bluetooth receiver that plugs into the aux-in jack. It adds the ability to stream music and make and take hands-free calls from your phone.
You simply plug into power (USB) and aux-in and then find a convenient place to mount the small controller-microphone. Mine is mounted near my radio on the dash. It needs to be somewhere your voice can get to, as it houses the microphone you can use for hands-free calls.
Every time I use it, I can’t get over how crisp and clear the music sounds. It’s also helpful for hearing navigation commands over the car stereo speakers.
It’s the best $20 I’ve ever spent on my car.