I’ve been looking for a good iPhone mount for my car for a long time, and Belkin has a new one I like. I haven’t had much luck with mounts that use a suction cup to adhere to my dash or windshield (which isn’t legal in some states). Mounts that stick to my AC vents haven’t worked well for me, either—but I’ve been quite pleased with Belkin’s Car Vent Mount.
Note, by the by, that this is a new and redesigned version of an earlier product with the same name. The spring-loaded grip and the vent-clip have been re-engineered, and it has a different form factor. I didn’t test the earlier iteration, and this review is based solely on the new model.
To me, car vent mounts hinge on the vent clip and the clamp that holds your iPhone. Every other vent mount I’ve tried has failed in one or both areas. Both functions depend on design and materials, the Belkin Car Vent Mount stands out in both places.
It’s constructed of metal coated in rubber, and the exposed sliding mechanism is metal. Put another way, I don’t expect it to break—I’ve broken cheap vent mounts in the past.
The clip is made of very sturdy rubber. It slides onto my vent and doesn’t move. The mount rotates 180 degrees in both directions, so you can put your iPhone (or Android device, if that’s your thing) in whatever orientation or angle you want.
Lastly, there’s a cable-management groove on the back for holding your Lightning or microUSB cable. I don’t personally use it, but my Lightning cable snapped into place when I tested it.
My car isn’t really set up for a smartphone. I have a display for the radio and a backup camera, but it’s a pre-CarPlay vehicle. It just doesn’t have a good place to put a phone. Even my vents are sub-optimal for a car mount, and my CD tray is way too low to use a CD mount. That makes my AC vents the best place I have.
I mention this in part to make it clear that I’m a high maintenance princess who is particular as #$&% about these sorts of things.
In any event, I don’t have the room to use my iPhone in landscape mode without obscuring that display I mentioned. But for you, dear reader, I tested the Belkin Car Vent Mount in both portrait and landscape mode. That’s how much I love you.
The grip slides open to clamp any device up to 5.5-inches wide (including the case). I only tested it with iPhone 7, but iPhone 7 Plus is 3.07-inches wide. If anyone has any experience with larger mobile devices using the new Belkin Car Vent Mount, please drop a note in the comments.
The Car Vent Mount held my iPhone 7 solidly in both orientations, even if I slid my iPhone all the way to one end. The important bit here is that I was able to tap on the screen without it moving. The grips are double injection molded rubber, and the spring-loaded mechanism is strong enough to hold my iPhone without being difficult to open. But, see my quibble below.
As mentioned above, the mount rotates, and the mechanism works well. I didn’t find myself adjusting it once my iPhone was mounted, but I tested to make sure I could.
My quibble with Belkin Car Mount is that I wasn’t able to mount my iPhone with one hand. In fact, I found it easiest to hold the mount in one hand, put my iPhone in it, and then (re)attach it to my vent. I could then remove my iPhone with one hand, leaving the mount on my vent. Rinse, repeat.
The things I’m looking for in an iPhone car mount is that my iPhone stays put, secure, and usable. Making a good vent mount is—apparently—hard. I say that simply because I’ve never been happy with one before.
But Belkin’s Car Vent Mount does what it’s supposed to do. It’s well built, and it feels and looks like a quality device when I’m holding, looking at, and using it. That makes it a solid choice in my book—at $24.99, it’s even an easy choice.
It’s available for preorder now. The company said it ships on February 22nd, 2017.