We cheapskates who have been dragged kicking-and-screaming into the smartphone era doubtless have not been dragged into the full-featured touchscreen-and-navigation infotainment era. As such, a good smartphone mounting system is a godsend. The last two weeks, I’ve used two new smartphone mounts from Koomus: One CD slot mount, and one vent clip mount.
Here, we’ll take a look at the mounts and see how they performed in conjunction with my cheap LG Optimus Fuel smartphone and my Nissan cube’s totally stock interior.
I spent my first week using the CD slot mount. The build quality of the unit seemed excellent, though the spring-loaded teeth that held it in my Nissan’s stock head unit seemed to require the strength of He-Man to push together so that I could slip them into the CD slot. At least I knew the mount wasn’t likely to come falling out of the slot.
The big positive for the CD slot mount was that it placed my 3.5-inch smartphone screen basically where a touchscreen would naturally reside if I installed a better head unit in my car. So when I was playing music from my phone using Google Music, my natural inclination to reach toward the head unit to change albums or songs was correct for the set-up.
The Koomus CD slot mount also seemed to hold my phone as solidly as could be desired. I experienced no unexpected movements from my phone — which is admirable, given the clumsy stabbing of my finger at my phone’s tiny screen whenever I wanted to change songs or albums or punch up navigation directions.
I wish I could say the same positive things for the Koomus vent clip smartphone mount. I was similarly impressed with the build quality of the mount — it didn’t feel like it would fall apart if I had hurled it at a brick wall.
Unfortunately, the mount didn’t feel as solid once it was mounted to my car’s HVAC vent. The rubberized grip that held the mount to my vent was easy to knock loose. And yes, I checked multiple times to make sure the mount was fully pressed onto my vent.
This might have been a bit different if my car’s vent louvers ran horizontally, but alas, they run vertically. I prefer to mount my smartphone horizontally, which just so happens to be the orientation of approximately 99% of touchscreen head units I’ve used. Unfortunately, anytime I had to press my phone’s screen to the left or right extremes, it seemed to cause the vent grip to work loose. So eventually, enough pressing would result in my phone falling, mount still firmly attached because the spring that held the grip to the phone was, again, very strong.
In fact, I lost count of the times I accidentally pulled the vent clip mount out of the vent either while trying to touch the screen of my smartphone or while trying to pry my phone from the deathgrip of the mount’s phone cradle. Not optimal for driving situations, to be sure.
These aren’t the first smartphone mounts I’ve used. I’ve previously reviewed a few different models, but all of my previously reviewed units were the kind that had a sticky suction cup well-suited for mounting to a windshield or a flat spot on the dashboard.
Comparing those suction-cup mounts to the Koomus mounts reviewed here, I’d say I’m more likely to use the CD slot mount than another suction cup mount in the future; however, I’m less likely to use the Koomus vent clip mount than to use another suction cup mount. While the suction cups are mounted too far away to use comfortably in my cube when stuck to the windshield, their solid mounting beats the vent clip’s propensity for falling off my dash. That said, the Koomus CD slot mount combined the best of both worlds for me, putting the phone within easy reach on a solid-as-a-rock mounting system. The only downside for technology curmudgeons like me: You can’t really use your CD player, if you still carry around CDs — and I, for the record, do, especially when I’ve been recording demos of original music.
Koomus CD Slot Smartphone Mount
Price: $24.99 at Amazon
- Solid mount refuses to budge under normal use.
- Mounts in the location you’d expect to use a touchscreen in a car.
- Makes for easy use of a short AUX audio cord thanks to proximity to head unit.
- Almost completely blocks my factory head unit’s display, which is annoying when the mount is not necessarily being used (such as when listening to radio).
- Strength of spring that keeps tension on the teeth that go into the CD slot — strong enough to ensure the mount doesn’t slip out, sure, but also possibly strong enough to damage the plastics of some CD slots.
- Takes away CD player, if you still use CDs.
Koomus Air Vent Smartphone Mount
Price: $19.99 at Amazon
- Solid build quality.
- Leaves my CD slot open and unharmed.
- Does not block the display of my stock head unit.
- Does not mount securely in my car.
- Smartphone cradle’s grip spring too strong for its own good.
- Blocks a vent while simultaneously putting my smartphone in front of either heated or cooled air, which could be bad for battery life.