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RAM Universal X-Grip® Cell Phone Holder

 
 
  Images and review courtesy of Chris Haak from www.autosavant.com.

RAM Mounts shown:
RAM-B-166-UN7U


Retail:




Ever since we first covered Waze (the crowd-sourced smartphone navigation/traffic intelligence app), I’ve come to rely on Waze more and more during my 50 miles of daily commuting. However, Waze is a battery hog (as are all screen-on, GPS-on navigation apps), so I had to plug in my iPhone when using Waze. Over time, I found it very frustrating to have to leave my phone in a cupholder so I could get the scoop on Waze traffic.

I searched in vain for a decent windshield-mounted iPhone holder, but knowing that I was getting an iPhone 5, I didn’t want to buy one that locked me into a specific size and shape of phone. I also didn’t want a plastic piece of junk, and I wanted a large, sturdy suction cup, along with the ability to infinitely adjust the position of the phone once mounted. After months of coming up empty, the answer landed in our mailbox, courtesy of the folks at RAM: the RAM Mount Universal X-Grip® Cell Phone Holder.



This cell phone holder is extremely easy to use. There’s a single large suction cup that attaches to the windshield, then you flip a lever to pull the suction cup tighter. I’ve only had the RAM Mount un-suck from my windshield twice in the past two months, and most likely, those incidents were my fault.

There’s a single adjustment knob between the suction cup and the X-Grip®. Once loosened, the X-Grip® can be turned 360 degrees (or 720, or even 1080 if your little heart desires), and thanks to the ball at the back of the mount, it can be swiveled an angled in any direction. Sun glare? Just loosen the knob, tilt the phone, tighten the knob, and you’re set. When the knob is tight, neither the mount nor the phone move at all. If you prefer to keep your phone in landscape mode when using it for navigation, that’s just a knob turn, X-Grip® pivot, and knob turn away.



The X-Grip® has four soft rubber grips in a (you guessed it) X shape. Like a real X, the “X” in the mount is more of a rectangle than a square. To insert the iPhone, you just squeeze the tall parts together (“squashing” the X), which makes it wider. Then, with your other hand, place the phone into the mount. Gently release the hand that’s squeezing the mount, and your phone is held very securely.

Behind the phone is a plastic circle that houses the springs that return the X mount to its original shape (and therefore hold your phone securely). With the fragility of the aluminum back in the iPhone 5, I was afraid that the plastic might scratch the back of my new, un-cased iPhone, but in the past three weeks, that has not happened. I had considered cutting a piece of duct tape into a circle to mitigate that risk, but I may just skip it at this point.



I only have two criticisms of the mount. First, it’s very difficult to use it with one hand, particularly when installing your phone. When it’s time to remove your phone as you’re leaving the car, you will need two hands as well, unless you release it and don’t mind it hitting the console, seat, or floor every other time when it drops. (I keep my phone in portrait orientation most of the time, but if you have the RAM Mount hold your phone sideways in landscape orientation, it would not automatically drop when you squeezed the X to release it).

Second, if you’re not careful when you install your phone (which, of course, is a daily occurrence), you may find that one of the rubber grips is pressing the volume-up or volume-down buttons on your phone. I can avoid them by putting the mute switch under the grip instead; the grip has never inadvertently activated or deactivated the phone’s mute switch, so it’s probably an issue that you’d also be able to work around.



Although I have two criticisms of the RAM Universal X-Grip® Cell Phone Holder, my wife has one. She thinks it’s completely ridiculous to install it on a car with a factory navigation system (which both of our vehicles have). She was so put off by the giant mount near her line of sight in her minivan that she forbade me from putting it in “her van” (which, by the way, is titled to me) ever again. Really, her concern is more about the ridiculousness of a duplicate navigation system (albeit one with excellent traffic information) than about the RAM Mount itself.

I have been impressed with the material quality and workmanship of the RAM Mount RAM Universal X-Grip® Cell Phone Holder. In fact, other RAM Mounts that I’ve seen have also impressed. For instance, their seat bolt-installed iPad mount could probably stand up to a bomb attack. As good as this thing is, I’d be willing to pay probably $10 over the $23.57 that they’re going for on Amazon.com today. Plus, even if you don’t have an iPhone, other smartphone fitting is as easy as squeezing the X a little more. The RAM Universal X-Grip® Cell Phone Holder comes highly recommended.



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