Once upon a time not too many years ago, mobile accessory shops were awash with products to hold your phone in place when using it on the move. These mounts or holders were mainly for use with the then-popular, but often unreliable, hands-free systems which, we’re pleased to say have, in the most part, been superseded by the far more reliable Bluetooth technology.

So, having slipped down the list of priorities as far as caravan accessories go, why have mobile device mounts and accessory holders become more popular? It’s because people are increasingly ditching their bespoke sat-nav systems and instead relying on an app on their smartphone or tablet. After all, why carry an extra device when you’ll usually have your phone on you? And as you’ll want to keep your phone charged, you can do this whilst using it to get you to your destination. Another advantage of this is that your phone will often be online, meaning it’s easy to update your sat-nav’s system.

Yet while many people use their tablet or smartphone as a sat-nav, very few of these devices are sold with a vehicle mount, so we’ve put a selection to the test to see which is the best to keep your device secure while on the road.

Each was evaluated in the same way. We looked at the size range of devices each holder could cope with. We then considered how simple or complicated it was to insert or remove your phone or tablet from each of the accessory mounts – you don’t want to leave your device on view when you’re not in your car, but you also don’t want a mount that is a pain in the neck to use.

Another important factor was how easy the holder was to position securely in the right place – the ability to mount it on the dashboard as well as the windscreen was a bonus. Finally, we tested each product on a bumpy road, to see how stable it was and how safe your device was when inserted into the holder.

Here we review the Halfords Suction Mount PDA Holder. PDA (personal digital assistant) seems an old-fashioned term these days. And this mount’s size range of 4.5–11cm makes it perfectly suited to most modern mobile phones.

In fact, the device end of this product is definitely its best bit. The design is completely conventional: press a button to allow the two grip arms to slide apart, insert your device, then slide the grips inwards around it. But be careful – if the fit’s too snug, the release button becomes difficult to operate. And that really sums up what we don’t like about this mount.

All the adjusters and locks seem fiddly, and nothing works smoothly. Factor in, too, the shake-inducing, difficult-to-bend gooseneck, and it’s not hard to see how the points diminished.

With this in mind, our testers only gave this product a one-star rating. If you’d like to check out other accessory mounts, read our review of the Ram Mount X-Grip RAM-HOL-UN7B-KT which scored five out of five, or check out the Sakura Universal Mobile Phone Holder, the Olixar CD Slot Mount and the Sakura SS5185 Universal Windscreen Mounted Tablet Holder, all three of which we gave four out of five.