The Kensington Windshield Mount cradle is a mounting system that holds your iPhone in your car and includes a built-in sound amplifier. It sells for US$39.99, and is compatible with the iPhone 2G, 3G and 3GS. The package includes the iPhone sound amplified cradle and swappable rubber inserts to fit 2G, 3G and 3GS iPhones, with and without a case. Also included are a window mount and a vent mount.
Kensington Windshield Mount
The Sound Amplified Cradle
The sound is amplified acoustically so no extra power is needed. The manufacturer states that the amplification system in the cradle doubles the volume coming from the iPhone speaker. I expect there are some variables that might affect this. How quiet is your car? Are you using your case? How thick is it?
From my own experience, using the product with a 3Gs and without a case, I estimate that the sound was 100 percent better with the product than without. I also used it with a back only type case and achieved the same results. I was able to use my NAVIGON GPS navigation system while I listened to my car radio at a moderate sound level. Without this product, I had to turn off my car radio to use the NAVIGON GPS navigation system. (See my review of the NAVIGON).
The iPhone is held tightly in the cradle, but it is easy to pull it out if you want to lift it to your ear to talk. It pops in and out of the cradle with one hand. I ran over a number of speed bumps just to see if my phone was secure and found no problems.
I like the fact that the cradle is designed so that the cable holder is not covered up. It allows me to charge my iPhone while in my car. Many window mount iPhone holders do not offer this feature.
The Window Mount
The window mount has a long, curved piece that places the cradle closer to your dashboard than you might be accustomed to. The cradle pivots so you can adjust it in any direction to make it easy to see. It fastens to the window with a suction cup and there is a lever to hold it in place once it is positioned. The closer proximity to your face also, of course, puts the sound closer to your face, but also lets you glance at your iPhone should you wish to do so. When using a navigation product like NAVIGON, it is necessary to keep the iPhone above dashboard level so that a satellite connection can be established, so a window mount is necessary.
The Vent Mount
The cradle swaps back and forth easily between the window mount and the vent mount. The vent mount has spring loaded clamps that allow you to fasten it to one of the air vents in your dashboard and there is a flip down piece that then holds it in place. The way it is designed, it will fit almost any set of vents.
If you just want to have your phone close by so you can see who is calling, hear your music, or listen to an audio book, then this is the mount for you. Just be sure you don't block the turn signal lever like I did the first time I set it up. If I don't need to use my NAVIGON system, I don't want to expose my iPhone to the sun, so I quickly switch the cradle to the vent Mount which I keep permanently installed. I can instantly see who is calling if the phone rings and pull over if I need to take a call.
The Bottom Line
The sound amplified cradle really works. I have used my iPhone NAVIGON GPS system with and without this specialized mount and there is a significant difference in my ability to clearly hear the directions, even over my car radio played at a moderate volume. Both versions of the mounts are sturdy and fasten securely and it is very easy to remove my phone with one hand when the need arises.
To my surprise, I greatly enjoy the vent mount version because it allows me to place my iPhone in a secure location where it is easy to see and easy to reach. I didn't think I would "need" this version because I was most concerned about working with the NAVIGON GPS system, but the fact is that I use the vent mount every time I get in the car. I only need the window mount when I need to activate NAVIGON. This system is a good buy, particularly if you have the NAVIGON GPS system.