Now that I have an iPhone that supports wireless charging I wanted that same convenience in my car. Putting my favorite wireless charger in my house is a piece of cake. I really like the Anker Wireless Charging Pad for my desk and nightstand. However, in the car i had been using a magnetic vent mount that I really like. Here’s one that I like and used with my iPhone 7 Plus from Arkon and here’s one that I like from Kenu. The only problem with either of these two mounts is that while they securely hold my iPhone in place, in order to power it I need to also plug in a cable. I want a solution that is just as convenient as the Anker Wireless Charging Pad, but for my car vent.
Every time I turn around there seems to be a new, better car charger than the one I’ve been using. I actually started with this Scosche Dual Charger over a year ago. It worked great, but the thing that I didn’t like about it was that only one of the ports charged at the faster 2.1A speed. Then I discovered this one by Lenmar. It gave me what I wanted, TWO ports both charging at 2.1 AMP/10 watts each. Perfect! Well it was perfect until I discovered that Schosche released a dual 12 watt charger! If you have a newer iPad 4th generation or iPad Air you might have noticed that Apple now includes a 12 watt wall charger instead of the 10 watt charger included with previous models. Now you can charge your iPad Air in car at full speed or speed charge a smartphone. Since we usually aren’t in our cars for hours at a time each day, speed matters. You might be able to get back up to a full charge faster on a shorter commute. I also figure why have just one port when you can have two? This way you can charge your phone and another device such as a tablet or a passenger’s phone.
I also like the low profile fit. The original Schosche I used back in the day stuck out of the socket quite a bit. This one almost fits flush with the 12V socket. Even if your car has a built-in USB port I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it doesn’t provide 12 watts of power. In most cases it’s probably a 5v 1A USB port. As far as I can tell this is one of the fastest car chargers on the market.
The last time I was in Atlanta for Photoshop World I took an Uber car from the airport to the hotel. I couldn’t help but notice the cable the driver was using to charge his iPhone. The reason it stood out is because it had a stream of pulsating LEDs that animated from the USB power supply to the iPhone. This obviously doesn’t charge the device any faster, it’s just cool to look at. I had forgotten about it for a while and then I remembered the cable and found out who made it. Joltz makes a Lightning cable version of this. On the USB side the connector is longer than usual and I’m guessing it houses a chip to control the animation of the LEDs along the cable.
Here’s how it looks in action:
When the cable is not connected to the iDevice the LED light pattern just sits still and eventually turns off/goes to sleep. I like the cable a lot and my only wish is that Joltz would make a longer version. This one is only 3 feet long. Charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch in style.
I use the Kenu Airframe everyday in my car. It’s attached to one of my center vents and I’ve been very happy with it since day one. It’s very small, pocket sized and spring loaded to make it easy to place my iPhone 5s or remove it with one hand. I have a second one in my suitcase for travel and use in rental cars. I’ve been able to use it every car I’ve tried to date. When I did my original review last year, some questioned the negative effects of heat coming from the vents. First off I never have heat coming from the top vents. When I use the heat it’s set to blow from the floor vents. In the summer the top vents blow cold air from the air conditioner and I’ve had no problems thus far. Also some were concerned that it would block the vent and that is possible on cars with smaller vents. However, in most cars you can turn off individual vents if you’re concerned with the cold/hot air hitting the back of your phone. As far as blocking the vent there isn’t much you can do about that other than perhaps keeping it in the the vertical position.
As you can see above I have the Kenu Airframe mounted with my iPhone 5s in the vertical position. You can simply rotate the phone as the mount is design to turn 90 degrees to allow for a horizontal display.
The Kenu Airframe opens wide enough to accommodate both my iPhone 5s and its case. This is a must as I would not want to have to take the case off each time I got in the car. The new white model shares the exact same design as the original black one.
I’ve reviewed several iPod music docks here over the years. Starting with the Bose SoundDock I’ve had an appreciation for these music devices to dock my iPods back in the day as well as my iPhones over the years. As a matter of fact I used to smile when I’d walk into a hotel room and see an iHome or other similar device on the nightstand. This meant that at a minimum I could dock my iPhone and charge it overnight even if I had no plans to listen to music via the dock’s speakers. Well those days are over, or at least I thought they were when I got an iPhone 5. Apple has aggressively phased out the 10+ year old 30 pin dock connector found on several of these music docks and in most modern cars. While Apple does sell Lightning Adapters to adapt older 30 pin connectors to the new Lightning connects found on the iPhone 5, newer iPods and current iPads. The problem is that compatibility can be hit or miss. Some may still play music, but not charge the device.
Enter the CableJive dockBoss 5
The dockBoss is an adapter for the older 30 pin based docks and on the other end is a standard USB port and 3mm audio-in jack. Instead of simply converting the older 30 pin connection to a Lightning connection, the dockBoss 5 converts to a standard USB port for power and a standard audio-in port for music. This means that not only can I use my iPhone 5 on any of these devices, but I can use my iPad or any other handheld device or smartphone. I now travel with a dockBoss 5 in my luggage. When I arrive to an iPod dock equipped room I just plug in the dockBoss and one of my regular USB-to-Lightning cables. Now my iPhone is charging without me have to search for a plug by the bed (some hotels still don’t get this need) and if I want to listen to music I can plug in the supplied audio cable that comes with the dockBoss 5 (as pictured above). If I don’t care to listen to music then it’s just a single cable connection. Also note that the dockBoss 5 includes both an audio cable and standard micro USB cable for connection to most other smartphones and other portable devices.
The Bottom Line
Since Apple retired the 30 pin dock connector most portable music player manufacturers are now leaning towards bluetooth and wi-fi for connectivity for there new devices. However, if you’ve got an older music dock that works perfectly there’s probably no reason to throw it away! With the dockBoss 5 you can get more life out of it and make it compatible with other devices that it never worked with before.
My first experience with Arkon mounts was their Vent Mounts for iPhone and later a vent mount for my Garmin Nuvi GPS (R.I.P. now that I use my iPhone for GPS navigation). These initial reviews led to a great relationship with the manufacturer and being one of the first to play with their latest and greatest mounts. I must admit being a little overwhelmed (in a good way) by the vast variety of choices they offer. Arkon makes a mount for just about everything that you would want to mount in your car or on your desk.
So what's New?
A new portable stand for your iPad or other tablet computer! When I opened the box, I didn't know what it was (there were other mounts in the box too). I knew they were sending me their new iPad stand, but it was so compact and light weight folded down that I didn't recognize it right away for what it was. As a frequent traveler "small" and "light weight" means that it stands a good chance of going in my bag. This new stand is so simple. Folded down it easily fits in a pocket in my laptop bag. However, it's both rigid enough and strong enough unfolded to hold the iPad with ease!
You can get this new iPad/tablet stand here for $16.95. See it in action in this short clip:
Don't have an iPad?
No worries. They have something for just about everyone!
These guys are GREAT to deal with and they are always inventing new mounts and holders for our favorite gadgets. See all of their various solutions here.
When I travel I sometimes have to rent a car. Although in the past I had been simply adding on the Hertz Neverlost option (or as my buddy Scott refers to it as Everlost), I stopped doing that once the portable GPS units became good enough. My first one was the Garmin Nuvi 350, then the 360, then the 400 series and finally a Nuvi 765t that I love. I also briefly used the Navigon 2100. They are all great units and I really didn't have any complaints with them. The 765t has performed perfectly for me and never misses a beat/turn. Nonetheless, I was still very intrigued when Apple announced the iPhone 3.0 OS update and that it would allow 3rd party apps to have turn-by-turn navigation abilities. The first one that I tried was Navigon. It certainly had promise, but the 1.0 version was missing key features such as text-to-speech. TomTom also came out with their app and it was also missing many of the same key features in its 1.0 version. This kept me from wanting to go solo with just an iPhone GPS app. Well a lot has changed since then!
The iPhone 3G/3GS and even iPod touch GPS Navigation Apps are ready for prime time
Last weekend I collaborated with my buddy Bruce over at Mandel Video on a video project. He was telling me that he bought a brand new Camera Mount for the car and wanted to use it on this project. Of course I had immediate thoughts of "yeah right, that ain't gonna work!" and I could just picture thousands of dollars in camera gear tumbling down the road. However, when I saw this thing and saw him attach it to the car I was very impressed! So impressed that when we were done shooting I immediately said "OK, how much for the mount?"
Here's a rough cut of the video we're working on that I put together for this review:
A couple of weeks back I did a 3 part series on Travel Tips including some of my favorite gear to travel with. Of course I’m always on the look out for ways to travel with less and travel smarter. One of the tips involved traveling with both a car charger for your phone and an audio cable to take advantage of your rental car’s Audio In port. Now instead of carrying two different cables I’ve been able to consolidate down to one.
Attention Shoppers! I just wanted to remind you that today (August 31, 2009) is the last day to save $30 on the Navigon Turn-by-Turn GPS app for the iPhone. Today it’s $69.99. After today the price goes up to $99.99 (according to Navigon). The Navigon GPS App is available here from the App Store.
UPDATE: The Navigon app did go up, but only to $89.99. I guess they still want to be cheaper than TomTom.
You can see my Navigon App Review here. Also here is my Tom Tom App Review in case you missed it. Also the Vent Mount that I use to mount my iPhone 3GS is reviewed here.
A Nice Comparison of 4 GPS Apps for the iPhone
I thought Mike over at Insanely Great Mac did a nice job in telling you about his likes and dislikes comparing the 4 most popular GPS apps (AT&T, Navigon, Tom Tom and G-Map) for the iPhone. See his video comparison below: