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Reviewed: Arkon Bluetooth GPS CarKit for iPhone

 

Reviewed By

Darren Griffin Arkon RWIPC
Review Date 9th December 2010
Manufacturer Arkon
UK Retailer Morpeth Mobiles
RRP

£69.95

9

 

iPhone owners in search of a car cradle that offers bluetooth car kit with hands free, an amplified speaker and can accommodate an iPhone in a skin or bumper need look no further.

 

Despite there existing solutions from TomTom and Magellan, none have so far ticked all the boxes. For iPhone 4 users, support for a phone fitted with a skin or the Apple bumper is the one most often requested. Having to remove a case each time the phone is docked quickly becomes annoying.

 

Arkon have approached the design of an iPhone car kit with the benefit of improving on the existing designs and adding the missing functionality.

 

Their solution offers the additional GPS receiver, amplified speaker, Bluetooth hands free and Line-Out in a cradle that is not only able to accommodate an iPhone 4 in its case but is also able to support all the iPhone and iPod Touch models (excluding the first generation versions of both ranges).

 

Arkon iPhone Cradle

All thumbnails are clickable for full size.

 

The cradle has a nice deep sync connector able to reach through a fitted case and the design has an extending top clip to cater for the varying heights of the supported models both in and out of any fitted case or bumper.

 

A sturdy windscreen suction fitting is supplied and is fitted with a locking ball mount on the rear which allows adjustment and use in portrait or landscape modes as desired.

 

Power is supplied by a mini-USB connection and a small side mounted wheel enables easy control of volume from the capable built-in speaker. The supplied miniUSB charger has a 130cm long lead.

 

In-use it worked well, the additional volume of the 2w speaker makes turn prompts from navigation software much easier to hear. if you have an iPhone 4 then the presence of another GPS receiver is of much less importance but iPhone 3 and to a lesser extent iPhone 3GS users will notice a marked increase in GPS performance when docked in this cradle.

 

Side View Side View

Locking swivel mount, rear speaker and support for skins and bumpers

 

Verdict

Arkon's cradle works well. It's simple design is both sturdy and adaptable. The hands free and GPS functions all improve on the built-in functionality and the ability to accommodate different models and phones encased in a bumper or skin is very welcome.

 

The only points lost are for price. Despite being the cheapest of all the hands free cradles available for iPhone, it will still appear quite expensive.

 

But, add up the bluetooth hands free, amplified speaker, cradle, charger and line-out features and it begins to make sense. If you need more than one or two of these then this is the winning choice in our opinion.

 

We'll be giving away our review cradle in our 24 Days of Christmas Giveaway.

 

 

 

References

Manufacturers Web site http://www arkon.com
Review Sample Supplied By Morpeth Mobiles
Pocket GPS Contributor

Darren Griffin

   
Forum Comments:

 

 

Comments
Posted by MaFt on Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:45 am Reply with quote

Looks like a neat solution. I've always liked Arkon mounts for their price and sturdiness and at less than 70 for those features you'd be silly to complain!

MaFt


 
Posted by PaulB2005 on Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:46 pm Reply with quote

Nice. Any option to have a screw down mount rather than a windscreen suction mount?

Shame "i can't be in it to win it".... Crying or Very sad


 
Posted by Darren on Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:51 pm Reply with quote

PaulB2005 Wrote:
Nice. Any option to have a screw down mount rather than a windscreen suction mount?

Shame "i can't be in it to win it".... Crying or Very sad

Not natively. The adjustable ball mount is fixed to the rear case. However, it does look like it could be removed, it appears to be attached by screws from the inside. So it may be removable if you disassemble the mount.

The trouble then though is that the speaker grille occupies the greater part of the rear panel and so any mounting solution you could cobble together would cover it.

However, the windscreen mount comes off easily enough leaving the socket for the ball so it may be that it would fit one of the existing Brodit ball mounts?


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by PaulB2005 on Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:57 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
However, the windscreen mount comes off easily enough leaving the socket for the ball so it may be that it would fit one of the existing Brodit ball mounts?


That's what i was thinking. I realise now it sounds like i mean screw the main part to the dash but i meant as per the Brodit mounts....


 
Posted by mikealder on Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:28 pm Reply with quote

What diameter is the ball? I appreciate this involves taking it to bits but its the only way to find out if either the TomTom or Garmin "balls" would fit - Mike


 
Posted by Darren on Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:36 pm Reply with quote

I don't have anything better than a ruler with which to measure but it looks to be about 18mm?


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by plegilink on Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:08 am Reply with quote

What is the length of the mini USB cable? I need quite a long one.
Thanks


iPhone 4
Tomtom Europe
CamerAlert

 
Posted by Darren on Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:43 am Reply with quote

plegilink Wrote:
What is the length of the mini USB cable? I need quite a long one.
Thanks

It's about 1.3m. But if you need a longer cable, you can source a separate mini-USB cable to the desired length or use a cigarette lighter extension lead.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by iainjb on Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:10 am Reply with quote

Hi there,

would the mini USB be the same fitting as the TomTom one as I already have a lead hard wired into one of my cars and it would be good to be able to use it for both.

Thaks in advance,

Iain..


 
Posted by BrianT on Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:55 pm Reply with quote

No big deal but a couple of distracting typos there:

"...accommodate differnt models and phones encased in a bumoper or..."

Please feel free to delete this post later :-)


 
Posted by Darren on Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:28 pm Reply with quote

Thanks you. No excuse for such poor quality control. Now corrected.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
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