Arkon is a manufacturer of car mounts for the iPhone. The company recently sent me a couple of mounting solutions for the iPhone 4, and I have been testing them out for the past month.
The package Arkon sent me contained the following items:
- SM012 – Mini Weighted Friction Dashboard Mount
- GN014-SBH – Travelmount Mini Swivel Windshield Suction Pedestal
- AP013 Circular Adhesive Dashboard Disk
- GN015-HPB-2 Mini Windshield Suction Pedestal
- SM050-2 Slim-Grip Holder
I have to say I was a bit overwhelmed when I first received the package due to the sheer number of parts. First there is the weighted dashboard mount — which if I may be honest is far from “mini” as the product name states. Then there is an adhesive hook to prevent the weighted mount from sliding off the dashboard. Then there is the pedestal that attaches to the mount. The pedestal is comprised of several parts which you have to assemble, including the plastic pedestal itself, the Slim-Grip holder, and four support legs that you have to slide into the holder before you can mount your iPhone.
Phew! That’s a lot of parts. As Apple customers, we want products that “just work,” as the old Mac slogan goes. I don’t want to have to read an instruction manual to figure out how to use this thing. I just want to take it out of the box and use it.
Arkon iPhone 4 Mounts Reviewed
After assembling both mounts (the friction dashboard mount and the adhesive dashboard disk), I found the friction dashboard mount to be cumbersome, far from “mini,” and not well fitted to my dashboard. On the other hand, I found the adhesive disk to be a much smarter solution.
The friction mount was in fact too large to fit anywhere but right in the center of my dashboard, and even there it was difficult to hook it to the safety hook due to lack of space. Arkon advertises this mount as more portable, since you can use it in several vehicles, however my package only contained one adhesive safety hook, which is not portable yet is vital to preventing the mount from sliding off your dashboard.
The Arkon Pedestals
The one subtle difference between the GN014-SBH and the GN015-HPB-2 is that the latter allows you to adjust the angle of the holder higher or lower, in addition to the swivel ball that both pedestals feature. I like the swivel ball because it allows for easy manipulation of the iPhone’s position.
The suction cup can be attached to either the mount or to the windshield. In my experience, the suction cup was reliable and never became detached from either the mount or the windshield.
The Slim-Grip Holder
The only holder that Arkon offers for the iPhone 4 is the Slim-Grip Holder, and I must say this part makes the Arkon mount a deal breaker for me. The Slim-Grip Holder requires you to slide four support legs into grooves in the holder, but I found this to be troublesome. The reason is apparently that this is a universal mount, and so the support legs can be adjusted to suit any phone. The problem for me was that these legs were difficult to adjust without using considerable force.
Furthermore, to mount the iPhone, you need to pull the spring-loaded grip mechanism down and then it will spring back up and secure the phone to the holder. This sounds practical in theory but it is not ideal because a) it’s a pain in the butt to pull the grip mechanism down with one hand while mounting your iPhone with the other, and b) the spring puts considerable pressure on the iPhone 4, which makes me slightly uncomfortable.
I would much prefer a holder that was fitted perfectly for the iPhone 4 so that I could be spared the trouble of adjusting the legs and the inconvenience of mounting the phone with the spring mechanism.
In conclusion, I like the swivel pedestal and the adhesive dashboard disk, but I was not a fan of the friction mount or the Slim-Grip holder. Show me a fitted holder that I don’t have to fiddle with too much, one that “just works,” and then I might change my mind.
Thanks sincerely to Arkon for providing these mounts for review. I hope the company will consider implementing some of this feedback into their product line. For pricing and other details, visit the Arkon page for iPhone 4.