With free applications such as Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps, we have access to our own voice-guided GPS systems. In the case of Waze, one even gets live traffic information courtesy of fellow road users, which can save time by allowing the app to reroute the user around the congestion.
The only problem with a smartphone is finding a place to put it so that the driver can see it without their eyes having to stray too far from the road. There are suction-cup windscreen mounts available, but these can intrude upon the driver’s vision. A company called Tetrax believes that its range of products offer a solution to this.
The smartphone mounting solution it has come up with is simple: a small metal button is attached to the device and then a magnetic clip is fixed to the vehicle’s air vents.
Having used the Smart model for a week, I encountered more positive aspects to having this product than negative. For instance, anyone who has used a smartphone for personal navigation will know how hot they get, irrespective of the make or model.
I found that with my phone mounted to the air vent, the air coming out cooled my phone off and prevented another potential motherboard meltdown. The other great thing is that it makes the phone easy to see and hear without it being in your way.
The metal button can hold up to 300g and accommodate screens up to 5.5 inches. The one problem I found was that my phone was very susceptible to rotating when connected to the device, especially if there was a charger or auxiliary cable plugged in. This can prove frustrating as the phone has to be straightened every now and then. The Smart has small arms that are meant to prevent the rotation. I did, however, still encounter the problem.
I envisioned another problem on vehicles - such as the Ford Figo or the range of Alfas currently on sale - that have thick pieces of plastic built into their air vents, but the Tetrax comes with an adaptor that allows for the device to be mounted to most surfaces using a piece of adhesive.
The cost is also a critical aspect of one of these products and at R395 it is certainly not cheap. That being said, the Smart is one of the top-of-the-range models. There are smaller versions such as the Fix (R195), which does a similar job but does not have the stability hands or the adhesive, meaning it can only be used on an air vent.
Overall I believe that Tetrax is on to something with these mounts. I found the Smart to be useful. Check out some of the company’s products at www.tetrax.co.za.