If you own a smartphone then at some point you will have considered a car charger and cradle. The law requires that a driver cannot hold a device to operate it whilst driving. However, if the phone is mounted in a cradle, then you are permitted limited interaction such as pressing a button or tapping the screen in order to place or accept a call.
So a car kit is a great solution. It holds the phone, charges it and provides hands free functionality but there is normally a catch and that is cost. Hands free car kits can cost anything from £50 upwards.
Griffin Technology have come up with a solution that is both cost effective and adaptable. Whilst it is not a universal solution that can accommodate every smartphone on the market, it has been designed to support a many of the most popular smartphones in the market.
Griffin have confirmed the WindowSeat Car Kit supports the following model ranges:
- iPhone 4, 3GS, 3G
A concise list of supported devices can be found here:
(Left) Combined Line-Out AUX cable and Mic (Right) Apply Sync Connector to MicroUSB Adapter
The design couples a simple adjustable cradle with ratchet adjustment for for height and a design that allows for varying widths of smartphone. Griffin provide a PowerJolt USB car charger (5v @ 1A) that has both microUSB (the forthcoming standard) and an adapter for the iPhone sync connector.
Added to that is a AUX audio cable (1/8" ) that connects to the headphone socket and contains a microphone and the sum of all its parts is a very capable hands free car-kit.
The cradle has a ball and socket for adjustment and used friction rather than any locking facility. In tests this proved more than enough to prevent the cradle and phone from moving.
Also included is an extension arm which is ideal for owners of people carriers and other vehicles with steeply raked windscreens. The extra length does introduce some movement and so, when used in this manner it would be advisable to rest the base of the phone on the dash top. Added to the list of included items is an adhesive disc so that you can attach to the dash. This allows you to fix the cradle in locations other than directly to the windscreen.
When the phone is installed and the power and AUX cables are connected it is not the tidiest of solutions but it works and works well. So long as you have an AUX in facility, audio from the phone is routed through the head-unit in your car. This means that phone calls and music from your phone can be played using the amplifier and speakers fitted to your car.
Without the AUX-in you are reliant on the speaker in your phone. In my case, the iPhone speaker struggles to make itself heard in a noisy car.
At £29.99 Griffin's WindowSeat Hands free kit is a capable solution that undercuts other options on price by quite some margin without skimping on features. If you have a need to use different phones or cannot justify the cost of a dedicated car kit then Griffin's WindowSeat Hands free solution is the answer.
We will be giving away our review cradle as part of the 24 Days of Christmas Giveaway.