I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on a wide array of iOS accessories over the years I’ve been blogging. One category that I hadn’t seen much of was automotive-based solutions for the iPhone. I hadn’t had factory Bluetooth in a vehicle until I picked up the iPhone 4, but now the lack of it would be a dealbreaker when shopping for wheels. Tight integration with my handset was one of the factors that made me choose my current car: a 2013 Hyundai Genesis GT. I’ve been able to forgo my trusty iPod classic thanks to the Genesis’ ability to stream audio via Bluetooth from my iPhone (and this prompted me for the first time to upgrade from the 16 gig model as well).
Since my phone was now playing a larger role while commuting or pleasure driving, I needed a suitable place to store it. Keeping it a pocket was extremely problematic as I still needed to reach dig for it should I need to interact with it (remember kids, Siri is your friend when driving. Texting behind the wheel is bad news). I made do with a Belkin TuneDok I had left over from my iPod-listening days. While not designed for the iPhone it fit well enough if the phone had a case, but it was a poor solution overall. It took up one of the two cup holders (strategically placed behind the shift knob, making the position even less than optimal should I want to switch from automatic transmission to manual for more aggressive driving) and the position made it necessary to divert my gaze from the road at times, even though I rely on Siri for most interaction.
While there are many car-based iPhone stands and mounts, I was fortunate to come into contact with what could be one of the first manufacturer to enter the market- PanaVise. Amazingly they’ve been in the game as long as there have been cellular phones- all the way from 1990 when they released the PortaGrip for the ancient brick-style analog portable phones. The company began in 1954 as a tool and die manufacturer, spurred by the patenting of founder Otto Colbert’s split ball mount to allow the rotation and positioning of dies during the manufacturing process. The patent bred further innovation that created their business of mounts for multiple products and uses. Their long line of phone mounts has evolved over the years to the current model, the PortaGRIP 15504.
The PortaGRIP 15504 is a jack of all trades- while advertised as an iPhone mount, the adjustable dock will accommodate most current smartphones (even the huge phablet Samsung Galaxy Note II). The mount offers several points of articulation, permitting it to be configured for a wide range of positions and placements- perfect for my situation as my car has a steeply sloped windscreen and textured dash that would not permit me to affix a mount in the places typically shown by manufacturers or other reviewers. After some reflection I chose the upper right corner of the windscreen, with the articulation points adjusted to position the majority of the mechanism in line with the window’s border column. My iPhone was now kept in an easily accessible spot that didn’t require me to divert my gaze should I need to reach for it, and didn’t block any view of the road. The mount is held surprisingly firmly in place by a suction cup in the base, but can be disengaged for stowing or placing the mount in another vehicle.
The PortaGRIP 15504 holds your phone securely via adjustable rubberized grips below and on eitherside of the device. All surfaces that touch your phone sport the same rubberized coating to protect your device from scuffs or scratches (should you be one of those brave souls that choose not to have a case). A button on the left side activates the quick release mechanism for easy removal when you reach your destination. Having the PortaGRIP has been a boon; its made storing and interacting with my iPhone both practical and safer, and the prominent placement ensures I won’t forget my device when I sleepily arrive at work in the morning. Better still, even after a week of testing the PortaGRIP 15504 has held as firm as the first day of use- something I can’t say about other car mounts I’ve tested.
The PortaGRIP 15504 isn’t a work of art, my admiration for it comes from its utilitarian functionality. Regardless of what handset you prefer or where you decide is the optimal placement, it can serve you and your smartphone perfectly, and do so reliably thanks to its lifetime warranty. My only issue during testing was that my placement spot didn’t allow for recharging of my iPhone, but should I place it close enough to the power port in the center console the PortaGRIP would readily allow this as well whether you had the slim Lightning cable or the traditional 30 pin connector.
Like all good ideas the PortaGRIP comes in many flavors. The universal phone bracket can be had with numerous mount bases, from several versions of the suction cup with various arm lengths and points of articulation to pedestal mounts, air conditioning vent clips, to a twelve inch floor fixed flexible shaft. For those that like the form of the PortaGRIP but don’t care for my mount positioning they have a model specifically for sloped windscreens. They even offer vehicle-specific in-dash models that do not impinge instruments, vents, or airbag deployment. Need a mount for a different device? No worries, Panavise has you covered there as well- regardless of the device or where you need to place it. The PanaVise 15504 is available online through Smartphone Experts (online or toll free 888-599-8998), or directly from PanaVise customer service: email@example.com or toll free at 800-759-7535.