Tired of fumbling around for your iPhone in the car? Why are we forced to pick up our device every time we hear a push notification? Why do we keep wasting money on suction cups and intrusive docking systems? ProClip USA does not know the answer to these questions, but it is providing a solution.
ProClip USA builds device holders for almost every make and model vehicle currently on the market. I stumbled across their website well over a year ago, but did not receive the opportunity to review a product until bumping into the team at CES in January.
Thankfully, they were kind enough to send over an iPhone 5 and iPad mini mount for my 2007 Nissan Altima. This review takes a quick look at installation and provides feedback about my experience with these two options…
Installation, design, and equipment
The first trick is making sure you purchase the right product. On the ProClip homepage, the very top banner instructs the user to choose a vehicle make, model, year, device brand, and device. For my particular case, that would be Nissan, Altima, 2007, Apple, iPhone 5 and iPad mini, respectively. My review will correlate with my car. Each installation is true to that exact vehicle, which only allows me to reference the equipment I actually installed. If things seem confusing, just check out the buying guide.
I installed the Angled Mount, Locking Move Clip Kit for Holders with Tilt Swivel, and Padded Holder with Tilt Swivel for Cable Attachment. Installation took me about 10 minutes, which was due to grabbing the wrong screw driver and not being able to line up the screws on the two piece dashboard mount.
Left to right: mount, clip kit, holder
The angled mount comes with two pieces, one to insert behind the dashboard face and a second flat surface upon which the holder is placed. For specific instructions, there is an included video for each mount and a PDF instruction set packaged with the pieces. In addition to the mount, two spudgers for separating the dashboard and two screws are included.
The dashboard separated very easily with the included tools and the attachment piece hooks slid inside cavity and locked, without the need to actually screw the piece directly to the dashboard. Attaching the mount faceplate to the attachment piece was a little trickier. Align and screw the faceplate to the attachment piece, sinking the screws flat against the faceplate. The screws only drive into the attachment piece, further preventing screwing anything directly to your vehicle.
After installing the mount, the holder is next. As I requested the tilt/swivel version for both iPhone and mini, there is an added step. A holder clip (Locking Move Clip Kit for Holders with Tilt Swivel), pictured below, screws into the faceplate with four screws, allowing the device holder to be removed and replaced without requiring screws. Once the holder clip is installed, the tilt/swivel device holder simply slides down into the clip piece, providing easy switching between my two device holders.
Overall, the installation process seemed daunting after watching the video and reading through the instructions, both linked above. However, once I stepped into my car with the pieces, it came together quickly and made sense. I would not call myself a handyman by any stretch of the imagination, which should give everyone the courage to take the leap of faith to install this for themselves.
Having only used the device for a couple weeks at the time of this posting, I must say, I am very impressed. Lusting after this dashboard mount for almost a full year, I was worried it would not live up to my own hype. But, I was very wrong.
At least in my car, the viewing angle is perfect. The tilted option already helps project the screen at the driver, but the combination of the titling swivel mount makes even minor adjustments easy. I will be the first to tell you, it takes a lot to completely impress me but, the ProClip USA system is a great investment. In my searching, I have yet to find a similarly customizable option and I searched for a long, long time, hence my year in limbo.
Now, the system is not without a few small areas of improvement. I am not particularly a fan of the padded design. The padding is a layer of small, felt, whisker-like material that I fear may dry rot of a long period of time. This, however, is specific to the version of the mount I preferred to order. Depending on your preferences, you can opt for a holder that does not utilize the padding and will hold an iPhone with varying sized cases.
Also, because I chose to pass on the adhesive for the dashboard, when I press the unit on the right hand side, it flexes with the weight of the movement. I tried really torquing the screws down on the initial installation piece and the faceplate to prevent the movement. It is very well set, but if I press on the far right hand side it still flexes slightly. Again, this is where the adhesive may seal things up.
The iPad mini case uses a ball and socket system as the end cap on the holder and it is fairly difficult to release when the iPad is in the casing. There is not a release clip that I can find to depress the ball socket. Consequently, I am very cautious when freeing the iPad. It is not overly tough, but some users may find it complicated at first.
The iPad mini dashboard mount is a little much, in my opinion. Personally, I have no use for an iPad mini on my dashboard, even on long trips. I can understand the extra viewing space may make it easier to use it as your music station, but it does cover most of my temperature controls and radio buttons.
Additionally, because the iPad is a much heavier device, it tends to vibrate with the buzz of the engine. Because the mini is extended away from the dashboard, simple lever physics tells you it is more prone to vibrating.
In my experience, ProClip USA holds a top spot when it comes to vehicular mounting systems. The company provides a customized option for almost every make and model vehicle on the current market. Additionally, each vehicle has several locations within the cabin for which ProClip makes a specified plate. The semi-permanent installations are professional grade and provide a clean, proper finish.
There are no bean bags, arms, suction cups, or annoyances in these systems. At an easy to see location, I will no longer fumble through my cup holders or console for my iPhone. I can also see, at a glance, who is calling, my text message, or turn by turn GPS navigation. To top it off, my audio auxiliary jack is located just to the left of the installation location, making it easy to hide a 3.5mm cable, not included, behind the mount.
If you want the full package, be prepared to pay for the quality. For my system, the Angled Mount is $29.99 and the padded tilting iPhone holder is $49.99, totaling around $80. For the optional locking clip, another $9.99 is required and the iPad mini option is $79.99, running my total package to about $170.00.
Granted, $80 is a lot of money to throw at a dashboard mounting system, but I guarantee you, other less expensive options pale in comparison. To toss out an old cliche, you get what you pay for. Dig around on their site and see what options exist for your vehicle. You may be glad you did.
What do you guys think? Tired of suction cups and nonsense? Is this too expense? How do you like the finished look?
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