Android Apps

Macally CD Slot Car Mount Holder for Smartphones

Although this is not really Android hardware, I am putting my thoughts down here as I am using it with an Android phone :)

Introduction

I have tried numerous window mounts, but all of these have failed due to UV degradation of the locking mechanism holding the suction cup to the windscreen. Dashboard mounts have their appeal as the phone can then also be used as a dashcam. However, such a mount has to be permanently fixed to the dashboard and I am not too keen on such a fixture. Air vent mount holders could be an option, but the vent vanes in my Ford Ranger points downwards which could make mounting difficult. The mount, together with the phone, would also block the airflow from the vent being used, although this would keep the phone cool. This made me think about CD slot mount holders as a possibility, as I have never used the CD drive in my Ranger (I play music from a USB flash drive).

In Pretoria, it's rather difficult to find brick and mortar stores which have a selection of mounts to view, and more importantly, play around with to get a feel of the usability. This meant I had to buy sight unseen from an online store. Recently, Loot, in one of their daily advertising emails, had a phone car mount. On looking further, I found the Macally CD Slot Phone Mount, which I duly purchased. As with previous Loot purchases, delivery was made within three days, even with their cheapest courier option.

Observations

The mount was neatly packaged, disassembled, in a sturdy box.


The box

Assembly was easy, the only tricky but was making sure the phone holder clicks properly into the mount - it does require a bit of force. I am sure many of the complaints in the reviews on Amazon are due to this. I have moved my Note 1 holder onto several mounts so am familiar with this issue.


The Note 1 holder showing the locking points

On trying to use it, I hit the first snag. The console of the Ranger is curved, so the mount cannot fit squarely into the CD slot. Together with this, the design of the mount causes the release mechanism to press against the up-arrow on the console's controls (A in the picture below), which changes tracks on the music being played. Inverting the mount makes the release mechanism press against the console's on/off switch (B in the picture below).


The Ranger's console

The second snag was that using the mount in landscape mode makes the whole system very unstable as the centre of gravity is way off the centre line of the mount. This causes really excessive bouncing while driving, which exacerbates the problem mentioned above.


The mount in landscape mode with the Note 1 mounted

Having the mount in portrait mode lessens the bouncing.


The mount in portrait mode with the Note 1 mounted

What I have done to be able to use the mount is to move the mount as far to the right in the CD slot as possible. Even though the curve of the console takes the mount away from the buttons on the console, I still had pull it out a little bit before locking it into position. What also helped here was to use the thinnest of the three locking spacers supplied by Macally.


The mount moved as far to the right as possible. Note how close the release mechanism is to the up arrow on the console.

Conclusion

With a bit of effort, I have gotten the mount to work in my Ranger. I am not sure how stable it will be on a corrugated road, but in town it is usable.

The phone is much cooler when compared with using a windscreen mount.

I may put my Note 1 holder onto the mount as I really prefer having the phone in portrait mode.