Review - iBolt xPro Dock You get what you pay for.
This refers to my experience with this dock:
used with a Samsung Galaxy S3
The good: It's inexpensive, and it does the basics of holding and charging the phone while driving.
But you do, to a large extent, get what you pay for. Mechanically, it's mediocre. The suction cup isn't the strongest, and I've had it break loose from the windshield after significant temperature swings, even without the weight of a phone inserted. The entire mechanism has a lot of flex in it. Mounted to my windshield, making no contact with anything but the windshield, my phone bounces enough to trigger the motion sensor, and momentarily switch between portrait and landscape modes. In order to prevent this, I had to mount it so that at least one of the "feet" is pressing against my car's dash. And since the foot is hard plastic, I had to stick something on top of the dash at that spot to keep the mount from scratching the surface. (I used a square of Velcro.)
Then there's the spring-loaded clamp that holds the phone. It is so stiff that you pretty much need to use two hands to insert and remove the phone: one to hold the phone or mount, and one to lift the clamp. If you use it horizontally, you can take the assembly apart and remove one of the two springs that operate on the clamp, but if you use it vertically, you probably need to leave both springs in to hold the phone securely. I guess that's the price you pay for a mount that has this much adjustability.
Finally, understand that the mount doesn't automatically insert the charging connector when you put the phone in the mount, so inserting or removing the phone is essentially a 3 stop operation: lift the clamp, insert the phone, then plug in the cable. Or remove the cable, lift the clamp, remove the phone. You'll need two hands for all of these actions.
On the electrical side, things are mixed. The Galaxy S4 apparently doesn't differentiate between car dock and home dock, so iBolt decided they don't need to support that on any Samsung phone. The pigtail cable on the mount has a resistor that tells the S3 it's connected to a home dock. That's logical, of course, because I always use a home dock when driving in my car. Not. I emailed iBolt's customer support about this, and at first they said "Sorry, that's how it works." Then they promised to send me a pigtail that would start car mode. But they just sent me the exact same pigtail that came with the phone, and works exactly the same way.
As a result, the dock won't switch the phone into car mode. And the mount won't start any other driving software other than iBolt's. Worse than that, it actively interferes with other driving software. InDrive, for example, won't start up if I tap the icon when the phone is in the dock, but then starts up when I remove the phone from the dock. That's really useful. InDrive works just fine when the phone isn't docked. On the positive side, if your car audio system has a 3.5mm input jack, you can play audio from the phone through the USB connector, so you don't need to plug in a separate audio cable into the headphone jack. If you have the usb cable plugged into a charge at the same time you're playing audio through it, you may pick up quite a bit of electrical noise, though.
On the software side, iBolt's Dock'n'Drive is just OK. It works reasonably well, but the UI design needs work. The main screen wastes a ton of space on a fake circular "gauge" that provides no information, and that results in the speedo and compass direction numbers to be much smaller than they could be. The speedo and compass numbers are blue on black, which provides poor contrast. White or yellow on black would be much easier to read. I emailed them about these concerns, but they clearly didn't understand, or want to understand, what I was talking about, so I have little confidence the software will improve.
The old saying "You get what you pay for." still holds water. This is an inexpensive dock, and it acts like one. it does hold the phone securely, and it doesn't cost a lot, but other than that I don't think I can recommend it.
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