Garmin’s Active Mount and Air Vent Mount for Cars Are Awesome

| In-Depth Review

For this review I am looking at two Garmin products - the iPhone 5 Active Mount  and the Air Vent Mount. Both are awesome for anyone who wants to hang their phone from a car's air vent rather than attach it to a window. It is particularly great for small cars.

The Active Mount holds an iPhone 5/5s in either landscape or portrait mode. It includes an attached Lightning to USB charger, a cigarette lighter charger, and a window mount attachment. It is made from hard plastic and carries a one year limited warranty.

 

Contents of the Active Mount Package

The mount adjusts to fit cases between 2.30 and 3-in wide and up to 0.47-in deep (58.6 mm and 76 mm wide and up to 12 mm deep.) There are adjustable arm clamps that hold the case in place and an eject button at the top to release the case. The iPhone must also fit on the Lightning connector. 

The Air Vent Mount is designed to attach to an air vent and hold the Active Mount. It is particularly effective in cars or trucks with small vents, but will work with any size. There are pincer grips that attach around a vent lever and a second grip that folds down and holds the Air Vent Mount in place. The case fits on the Air Vent mount using ball and socket technology. It too is made from hard plastic and carries a one year limited warranty.

Air Vent Mount

Using The Product

For review purposes I placed my iPhone 5s in id America’s Wallstreet case. This case is made of soft leather and surrounds the phone so it has some depth to it. It measures about ⅝-in wide. My iPhone slipped over the Lightning connector and fit perfectly. I adjusted the arms by pushing them together and my iPhone was held securely in place. To remove my phone I pushed the release button and lifted my phone off the lightning connector.

View of the Active Mount holding an iPhone 5s 

The Air Vent Mount was easy to install. There is an adjustable wheel that allows you to fasten the pincer clips firmly in place. I selected the smallest vent in my car (a Smartfortwo sedan) for testing to make sure the two products would work together and give a firm grip for my iPhone. The Air Vent Mount was equally easy to uninstall because of the adjustable wheel and I was able to move it from one vehicle to another without causing damage to either vehicle or the mount.

Air Vent Mount installed

As a note, the Active Mount and the Air Vent Mount work equally well in vehicles with much larger air vents.

Product in use in a vehicle with large vents

The cigarette lighter USB connector allowed me to charge my iPhone while in route. The USB cable that's included with the Active Mount is of adequate size to reach from the USB port to my iPhone.

To summarize this, I used the Active Mount and charger along with the Air Vent Mount. Although the Active Mount includes a perfectly good window attachment, I chose not to use it because window attachments never work satisfactorily in my car.

Combination of products used in this review

The MSRP for the Active Mount is US$49.99. The MSRP for the Air Vent Mount is $19.99.

Do I Recommend It?

I do. I like these two products on several levels. The Active Mount easily holds my iPhone, wearing a thick case. It is easy to insert and remove the iPhone because of the clamp arms and the eject button. I can charge my iPhone in route. The Air Vent Mount works in large or small vehicles, holding the Active Mount securely in place. It is easy to install and easy to remove. This combination of mounts is the first I have ever seen that actually works in my small car.

I can answer my phone or place calls using the speaker functions, and I don’t have to scrounge around in my pocket or purse to find my phone when it is needed. I do, however, pull off the road when making or receiving calls. 

Product: Active Mount

Company: Garmin

List Price: US$49.99

Pros:

iPhone 5/5s is held securely in place while mounted to a car's air vent The Active Mount works with most iPhone cases. An iPhone can be charged in route using the attachments included with the Active Mount. It's easy to insert and remove an iPhone 5 from the mount. It's also easy to insert and remove the Air Vent Mount

Cons:

None noted.

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Comments

Paul Goodwin

One issue I see with any air vent mounted phone is the hot heater air in winter and the cold air conditioning air in summer blowing on the phone. Temperature cycling decreases the reliability of electronic devices. It wears out solder joints faster. And rapidly lowering the temperature on humid summer days will create moisture inside the device - never a good thing for many reasons. If the device is already very warm from sitting in the sun, it will be dried out, however if the car is garaged, cooling it will condense the water out of the air - very likely right where it shouldn’t be.

LewInVT

$70 for an air vent mount is over the top!  I’ve been using the Kenu Airframe mount ( now available on Amazon for $24.95 http://tinyurl.com/mz6v37t ) since it was introduced.  it’s great for air travel due to its size.

I’ve used windshield mounts in the past and find they hinder my vision.  Also, the charger cord gets in the way.  The air vent mount doesn’t block vision and the cord isn’t an issue.

With respect to warm and cool air causing issues, most automotive HVAC systems an be adjusted to turn off dashboard vent air.  If not, a small piece of cardboard blocks airflow.

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