Putting my iPhone in the cup holder in my car just didn’t cut it anymore.
While I abstain from using my phone in the car while driving (as everyone really should), I needed a practical solution for mounting an iPhone in the car. And I wasn’t alone. Because my wife Aarti uses Google Maps on a regular basis for her work, she needed a safe and effective method to keep the phone’s screen within eye range while driving.
And, so began my quest to find a practical car mount for our cars. Going into this I knew that I did not want a windshield mounted solution, as it obscures the line of vision. (Side note: I was involved in a head-on collision a few years ago where the driver I was with couldn’t see an oncoming car because of a windshield mounted GPS system. Thankfully, outside of slight bruises and whiplash, nobody was hurt.)
With safety as a top priority, my next requirement was durability. Reading reviews on Amazon, I came away with the impression that many of the smartphone car mount solutions currently available are not built with long-lasting usage in mind.
Finally, I wanted a car mount that would comfortably accommodate an iPhone enclosed within a protective case.
After much research, I purchased the Airframe, by Kenu. The unit retails for $24.95, and currently has free shipping within the US.
Within a few days, I received my Airframe.
Inside the box is the Airframe unit and a very thin, fortune-cookie sized user guide. The Airframe expands to a maximum of 2.9 inches. It weighs about an ounce. When used in conjunction with a credit card, the Airframe can as a portable travel stand.
The Airframe attaches itself by way of a rubberized clip: one to accommodate large air vents – the other for smaller vents. You can rotate the clip with very little force to accommodate your car’s vent size. Kenu claims that the Airframe works with horizontal, vertical, angled and circular vents. I tested the unit on our two Nissan sedans, and installation was simple. Our cars’ air vents accommodate keeping the Airframe in a portrait configuration. On some vehicles, you can configure the Airframe to support landscape mode.
Here is the Airframe installed in my vehicle.
In my testing, the Airframe stays in place and holds the iPhone securely.
The grip expands, so even my iPhone5 (enclosed in an OtterBox) fits just fine.
Here’s another image of the Airframe holding my wife’s iPhone4.
The Airframe is made out of stainless steel, zinc alloy, PC/ABS and TPE. Translation: it should be able to withstand extremes in temperature.
All in all, I was very impressed with its build quality. It’s apparent that a lot of thought went into its design. In addition to working with the iPhone, the Airframe also supports other popular smart phones, including the Samsung Galaxy, Blackberry, and Windows phones.
Inserting the phone into the Airframe involves tilting the phone at an angle and sliding it into place. Removing the phone from the Airframe is a little more difficult – you have to pull the grip mechanism out to dislodge your phone.
Is the Airframe safe for your air vent? In my experience, the answer is yes. Because I live in Florida, I run the AC constantly. I was initially concerned that keeping my phone so close to the cold air would somehow affect the phone’s longevity (due to being in close proximity of air condensation) – but it hasn’t been an issue thus far.
The Airframe is a really clever and elegant solution to a common problem. It has a steady grip. It keeps your phone in sight at eye level. And it’s incredibly portable. I can see my wife and I using it on a daily basis – both for day to day driving as well as travel. I liked this product so much that after a few days of testing the first Airframe unit, I ordered another unit for myself.
The Airframe earns 5 out of 5 Bob Weiners.