Friday, 14 December 2012

Ram mounts and cheaper alternatives.

I guess most people now have a convergence device, something that they use for a multitude of tasks. A smartphone that takes care of email, sat nav, music, dashmount cam, video etc etc. In which case, I also assume most people have, or need, a decent quality car mount. For most manufacturers, and I really do mean the majority, this means low production costs, medium to high RRP and margins, shoddy quality and high fail rate. If you recognise these traits and you're a bit sick of them. Then you could go straight to the best solution. Ram have been making mounts for a long time now, and the majority are based around ball and socket joints, with clamps. These units are modular, so you can customise your mount depending on your needs. The most effective, is the screw in base with a ball joint. This creates a really solid base for your device, but, if the idea of screwing into the dashboard of your car doesn't delight you, the traditional suction cup mount is also available. then you need a clamp arm, which you can get in a variety of lengths. Then you need your holder, the most inventive of these being the X-Grip mount. Which will fit pretty much most smartphones making it pretty much future-proof. These things aren't cheap, but if you want to use your smartdevice for in car videos, on track or for using apps like witness, then you'll struggle to get a more steady mount than a RAM. At the time of writing this (pictured) £35 unit is the cheapest and simplest solution that they offer. But with no middle section, the flexibility of where you can place this could be limited. For a windscreen mount, however you can't do much better.
If the cost puts you off, then a slightly cheaper option is to look for is exo mount or oso space mount. These both have a new 'hi-tech' style of suction cup mount which will grip onto a variety of surfaces, not just windscreens, or perfectly flat surfaces. The Exo mount promotional video show the grip pulling a Toyota Prius and even lifting a microwave, without the clamp even being locked! They use a simple clamp to grip your device and in practice they're pretty sturdy. They can prove difficult to move, and your device may budge when you push buttons on it. But then you shouldn't be using it when driving any way, even though thats not always practical. You should be able to pick up one of these for under £20. The Ram mount is probably the last mount you'll ever need to purchase, but the Exo-mounts offer similar performance for lower cost. If you've seen anything cheaper, my guess is, from years of experience. It won't last 2 years.

Simple laptop buying advice.