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Arkon CM656 Multimedia Mount Review

01st September 2002

 Review by Dave Burrows


 Price $59.95


Arkon have always had a good reputation amongst the PDA community for what they do as a company, and their mounts just seem to go from strength to strength.

Arkon have recently released their new Multimedia mount with long arm and we thought what better time to review it.

The Arkon CM656 like previous mounts is very versatile.  It has the new adjustable clamp arms that allow you to adjust the width of the mount around your Pocket PC, so no matter if you're running naked, with a CF card sleeve, or a whopping Dual PC Card sleeve, this mount will fulfil your every needs!  The arms have soft rubber foam on the insides so the plastic doesn't scratch your PDA and comes with an eject button to release the clamped arms so you can remove the Pocket PC from the mount.

One concern I have is that the eject button is very hard to press, and when pressed, releases the clamp and the arms spring open.  This is okay but you feel the recoil from the spring in side as it hits the side of the mount, and I somewhat feel over a period of time that this might fail, this is just an observation!


 Arkon CM656 with long arm


At the bottom of the mount there are two feet, although they don't extend, they do allow movement from left to right allowing you to position the feet below the Pocket PC where it's needed most.  For instance on the iPAQ 3800/3900 series it's probably better to push the feet together so they're just each side of the serial connector on the iPAQ giving it maximum protection.

Arkon say the arm is long, and by golly it's long alright!  It's about 3 times the length of the standard Navman arm, and I found in a standard sized car, I had extra arm length left over so I had to coil it slightly, so if you have an awkward dash board, this mount will be for you!  The suction mount on the end of the arm adds a great suction between the mount arm and the windscreen making sure this doesn't fall off easily.


The CM656 is quite deep, because it has a built in FM transmittor included in the case.  It has a selectable FM band switch that allows you to go between various blocks on the FM band, and also a fine tuner knob on the rear.  The problem I found is, if you're driving over long distances, you will notice the tuner will receive interference from other neighbouring FM stations.  Now to re-tune this, you need to reach round the back of the unit and blindly turn the high sensitivity knob until you get the sound spot on.  I have an Arkon Sound Feeder also which has a wheel, and I do have a lot of trouble with this over long journeys, but the wheel is easy to twist.  To try and get around the back of the unit, especially if you're behind the steering wheel is going to be very difficult!  It's a shame Arkon couldn't have put a wheel on the side of the unit to enable easy control.


The CM656 includes an incorporated headphone lead which is long enough to connect to most items placed in the mount, and it also includes an integral cigarette lighter plug which is long enough to plug into most cars providing the mount is secured above the cigarette socket in your car.  If you have a central socket and you want to put the mount on the left or right side of the car, you will need to also purchase an in-car extension lead from your local car/auto store.

Okay so there's a few minor issues here, but the unit responds very well.  Firstly when I inserted my iPAQ with Dual PC Card Sleeve into the CM656 I thought, "geez, there's no way this windscreen mount is going to hold this weight!", but I was very pleasantly surprised!  Arkon have a great product here, and one that many will be happy with in their cars.


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