Keep your phone or tablet secure when using it as sat-nav on tour – read our Ram Mount X-Grip review to find out why we think it's one of the best
A few years ago, practically every motoring accessory shop sold a plethora of different mobile phone holders and mounts. At the time, that was mainly to cater for rather hit-and-miss hands-free systems, which (thankfully) have now been superseded by Bluetooth technology.
But suddenly, mounts for devices – whether it’s a regular phone, a smartphone, or even a sat-nav or tablet – are back in demand. And one of the biggest reasons is the increased reliance on phone and tablet based sat-nav. And we all know how much stress sat-nav can eliminate from caravan holidays.
In reality, there are few compelling reasons why anybody with a decent smartphone should fork out for a separate sat-nav. After all, phone-based systems are almost always with you, you’ll want to keep it charged at all times anyway, and – thanks to today’s phones’ ability to hook up to the web as and when they choose – many of these systems are able to update themselves at all times automatically. Unfortunately, few mobiles come with any form of vehicle mount or holding device.
So, to help you choose the best mount for your purposes, here at Practical Caravan we conducted an accessory mount group test, reviewing a range of products to see what they offer. And each review followed the same pattern, to ensure results were comparable.
We kicked off our tests by measuring the size range of devices each mount could cope with. We then appraised how easy it was to insert or remove the device from the mount. After all, nobody wants to leave a brand-new iPhone in full view when they nip off to the motorway services. But neither should you have to remove the mount every time, or struggle to get the device out of its clutches.
When it came to the accessory holders themselves, we checked that they could be fixed in place securely and easily, and rated how easy it was to aim them to exactly the right position. It was a bonus if the mount could be positioned in more than one place – such as on the dash or the windscreen, rather than just the latter. While many of us prefer screen mounts, those telltale rings on the window could well make your vehicle more interesting to potential thieves.
Finally, we checked how each mount performed on the road – in this case, a rather bumpy road. Only mounts that kept all the devices as still as possible under these tough conditions could collect a full house of points.
Here we review the Ram Mount X-Grip RAM-HOL-UN7B-KT, which retails for £48. Ram Mount’s X-Grip delivers stable, shake-free holding of all devices 3-9cm wide. And fitting and positioning said devices couldn’t be easier: simply squeeze the two furthest points of the X together, insert your device and let go. Squashy rubber ends and the arms’ springs do the rest, and a single clamped balljoint controls all positional adjustment. You just loosen the clamp, angle your device where you want it, and tighten the clamp back up again.
Modular construction means a larger X (available separately) can be fitted, and the suction cup can be substituted for heavier-duty cups or even a bike handlebar clamp, making this a very versatile product. We gave it a glittering five-star rating.
In fact, come the end of our group test, the Ram Mount X-Grip RAM-HOL-UN7B-KT emerged as our Editor's choice and was crowned our group test winner. For a cheaper option, perhaps you might like to try the Sakura Universal Mobile Phone Holder, which received a very good four-star rating and costs just £10.
We also reviewed the Olixar CD Slot Mount, the Halfords Suction Mount PDA Holder and the Sakura SS5185 Universal Windscreen Mounted Tablet Holder.
It's not the cheapest accessory holder we've tested, but in this case we feel you get what you pay for. Stable, secure and simple to use, the Ram Mount X-Grip RAM-HOL-UN7B-KT was the Practical Caravan group test winner.
- It's easy to secure, remove, position and angle devices
- It is a very stable holder