There are about a quadrillion different car docks for iPhones, ranging in price from a few dollars right up into triple digits. Brodit docks sit right at the high end, with a complete powered installation coming in at around $140-150.
Crazy money? Expensive for sure, but having owned one since the iPhone 4, I didn’t even consider anything else when I bought my iPhone 6 …
Brodit is a Swedish company specialising in mounting systems for attaching electronic equipment to vehicles. Rather confusingly, the company’s products are sold under different brand names in different countries, known as ProClip in the USA and ClicOn in Australia.
Brodit systems have two selling-points. First, quality. Once installed, a Brodit mount looks like a factory fitment, and is rock-solid. The look and feel is worlds apart from a cheap mount.
Second, flexibility. Brodit takes a two-part approach to mounting systems: the vehicle mount you attach to your car (which Brodit calls the ProClip), and the cradle which holds your device. By mixing-and-matching these, you can attach pretty much any device to any car, and put it right where you want it.
It also means that when you come to update your phone, you only have to replace the cradle that holds the device: the car mount remains in place. Conversely, if you change your car but keep your phone, you can simply replace the car mount. This is the dashboard mount for an SLK – a simple snap-fit.
It stands out when photographed from the footwell, but is near-invisible from both driver and passenger seats.
One word of warning: even with your exact device and exact make, model and year of car selected, you’ll still be offered a choice of multiple cradles, so care is required to select the one you want. More on this shortly.
As regular readers will know, I hate visible wires, which immediately ruled out an air-vent mount. I’m also happy with my Garmin GPS for navigation, so didn’t want another device in my windshield. I thus opted for a car attachment that put the dock down low, next to the gear-shift. That also allowed the wiring to slip immediately below the carpet in the passenger footwell (I’m in the UK, so we have right-hand drive cars).
Attaching the car mount to the car took all of 30 seconds, being a snap-fit. Attaching the original iPhone 4 cradle took 5-10 minutes, requiring four mounting-plate screws to be attached to the vehicle mount. Updating to the iPhone 6 cradle was much faster, involving just a single screw.
There was, though, one complication: while I don’t generally use iPhone cases, I made an exception this time around. I’m not a fan of any of the current iPhone colors, preferring plain black, so opted for Apple’s leather cover. This gave me an iPhone of the Proper Color, but added a little to the width of the device, meaning that it wouldn’t fit Brodit’s standard iPhone dock.
But again, the company’s flexibility pays dividends: they offer a version of the iPhone 6 mount with adjustable width, to accommodate slim cases. This one has two small screws you undo to pull out the sides to the required width for your case. Getting the width exactly right is slightly fiddly, taking a few minutes to get right, but does seem to allow for a decent range of case thicknesses.
Brodit also offers flexibility where power is concerned, with a choice of three models. The passive mount is a simple holder, with no power. Then there are two active mounts, one with a cigarette-lighter plug attached, the other with bare wires to wire-in to your car. For the iPhone 6, there are also two different versions of adjustable powered holders, with different ways of attaching the phone. One is secured at both top and bottom, the other just at the bottom. I opted for the latter.
The model with a bare-wire connection has one extra feature: unscrew the plastic box halfway down the cable to reveal a USB connector. Since I’d already added USB sockets to my car, I used this.
My previous phone cradle was felt-covered, as the phone sat flush against the rear of the cradle. With the iPhone 6 version, the phone slides into two smooth slots that hold it away from the rear of the cradle, so the felt is no more. With the width adjustment set correctly, the phone slides smoothly in and out of the cradle, dropping neatly onto the embedded Lightning connector.
With a Bluetooth connection to the car’s stereo, the result is something that both looks and acts like a factory-fitted phone dock. The car-mount is pretty much invisible, and the dock offers both tilt and swivel adjustment to position it just as you want it. It’s definitely not a cheap option, but in my view, it’s worth the price.