Snugly housing both the iPhone 3G and 4 and originally intended for use on motorbikes, the UltimateAddons iPhone Mount is a budget option for Apple fans looking for a smartphone case-cum-mount. The crossover potential for use on a bicycle is obvious.
Mounting is straightforward, eschewing the usual Allen keys for a plastic wingnut style affair which, despite early concerns, provided a firm and secure attachment to the bars. The bracket also comes with a selection of shims to match one’s handlebars, although it is far too narrow to fit centrally to a stem.
In use, the clear plastic screen cover still allows use of the iPhone’s capacitive touchscreen and in most cases the view of the screen is fine, although the non-rigid nature of the surrounding case often results in an uneven screen which in direct sunlight results in irritating reflections.
The obvious use of such a mount is as an alternative to a full-blown GPS system. For the purposes of this test I chose to stick with the fantastic BikeHub App, which provides turn-by-turn navigation based on the cyclestreets.net routeplanner. Having chosen a route across central London from Camden to Richmond Park, the app duly guided me along an impressively quiet route, although one slightly more circuitous than my usual. While viewing the onscreen directions was straightforward, the mount did manage to muffle the turn by turn commands – this is of course remedied by the use of headphones, although as the mount has no headphone port one has to open the zip – negating any waterproofing of the mount.
On the case of waterproofing I was dubious, and certainly not prepared to test its capabilities with my own phone, so I chose the wholly scientific “stuff it with tissue paper and hold it under the shower” technique.
To my surprise, even after a good soaking the tissue remained dry, although given the fact that there will always be a gap at the zip I’d still hesitate at rating this at anything more than “light shower proof”.
The main issue with this setup though, is the connection between the case and the bracket – it’s rattly at the best of times and upon hitting some of London’s lumpier cobbles on the recent London Classic ride, the connection failed at speed.
Wincing at the prospect of losing my precious phone under a tail-gating Land Rover, I was glad to see the case had protected it well, although connection failure over mere cobbles is unforgiveable.
Overall, it’s generally fine as a budget option and does function well, although the mounting system desperately needs work. If you’ve got a further £45 to spend then take a look at the more refined Dahon Prologic, although for just £20 this option will suffice. Just stay away from potholes and pavé.
UltimateAddons iPhone Handlebar Mount £19.99