Garage forecourts are known for oversize crisp packets, overpriced sweets and cheap tat that either breaks the first time you use it, or is hopeless for the job you bought it for. They continually remind you of the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’, and most of the time they are right, but every now and then something jumps out of the bargain bucket and blows you away.
On my way home from work, at around 2 am I made the kind of decision you can only make when too tired to think straight, I bought a universal mobile car mount for the princely sum of 4.99. Now if I am being honest when I read the box and discovered that the mechanism for holding the phone in the mount was a strip of sticky gel I was tempted to just lob the box in the bin to save myself the stage where you fiddle and pretend that you haven’t wasted your money. But being a stickler for tradition I felt it was my duty to try and use it and deal with the disappointment later. Imagine my surprise then, when it wasn’t totally rubbish, but was actually quite good.
The iGrip is a really well put together bit of kit. There are two parts in the box, a dash mount disk with a very sticky base that is meant for help attaching the iGrip to uneven or textured surfaces and the iGrip. The design is simple, consisting of three connected parts, a suction cup, a short arm and the mount which has the previously mentioned sticky gel. The suction cup is well made with an east to use large suction lever, this is connected to the small arm with a screw lockable hinge which is in turn attached to the mount with a ball joint allowing the mount to spin a full 360 and also to tilt roughly 45 in any direction. The fact the cup/arm hinge only moves on one axis slightly limits positioning but the mount ball joint should mean that placing your handset where you want it isn’t too hard. Everything feels sturdy, secure and solid and although it is plain black plastic front to back it looks reasonable, not too tacky. Then you get the mount. The shape can be best described as akin to a sanitary towel with wings, the fact the sticky gel looks luminous green doesn’t do anything increase it’s aesthetic appeal, but as you cant see it with a device connected it’s not a big issue.
Now to talk about the sticky gel, or as they call it on the box, an ‘instant grip’ polymer pad. I said earlier that this method of attachment didn’t inspire me with confidence, that was an understatement. The first time I used the mount I was near bricking myself that the phone would fall off as I was driving down the motorway landing under one of my pedals and be smashed to smithereens while I drove. I was so worried before I used it that I took my phone out of the textured case it was in so that the pad had some smooth HTC metal to grip to. I placed the phone on the pad and squeezed them both together to ensure the pad got a good purchase, and even then spent the next 30 minutes driving home constantly glancing to check that it wasn’t in danger of falling or slipping off. I needn’t have worried, the pad held my phone fine. In fact not only does it hold my phone tightly, it is more than capable of holding my Transformer Prime tablet, which is far from light.
Once I overcame my fear I soon discovered that all I had to do was touch my phone against the iGrip to make a bond, even with a ribbed rubberised case on it. To clean simply wipe with a damp cloth or run under water, but you must let it dry out before using it again, or it WONT perform as expected.
The iGrip can be bought from either garage forecourts if you are lucky or Sainsbury’s also stock them. For the price I would be surprised if you can buy never mind better, but even anything else as good.