If you are in the market for a sturdy method of mounting your PalmPilot or PalmIII, Revolve Design just might have the solution you are looking for: UniMount. They offer a complete line of mounting kits and accessories that will enable you to mount your PalmPilot just about anywhere. There are basically 5 mounting kits, but within the 5 kits are numerous mounting options.
The focus of this review will be the UniMount base unit. The first reason for this is that all of the mounting options have the UniMount base included. The second reason is that all of the mounting accessories were found to be of high quality. So deciding which mounting kit is best for you will depend on how you wish to mount your palm device, rather than which one is better than the other. Some of the kits in review here utilize the same style components, so you will want to check out their web page to make sure that you get exactly what you’re looking for. Also, their webpage has many more photos of the different mounting systems.
The UniMount Base Unit
Before I get into specifics about the mounting kits, I need to talk about the UniMount base unit. It is included in all of the mounting kits, but can also be purchased separately. The base is the device that actually holds the PalmPilot. It then gets attached to any of the mounting kits.
Even if you are not in the market for a heavy duty mounting solution, the UniMount base is an exceptional “stand” for either of the palm devices. It can hold a PalmPilot, Palm III, or IBM WorkPad. Simply snap the stand of the UniMount base into place and it holds the palm device on an angle (close to 45 deg) so you can sit it on a desk and easily see the screen. It also comes with a removable stylus holder and stylus, a compartment for storing extra batteries or sticky notes, and there is a recessed chamber for clearing the PalmPilot pager card add-on (not included) or just for clearance if you have Velcro on the back of your PalmPilot. There is also an opening in the bottom for access of a HotSync cable.
But what I found most interesting was the Selector System. It’s basically a pointer that slides up and down the side enabling you to open data bases, scroll, and select phone entries. It takes a little getting used to, but it was really neat, and it would come in handy if you had it mounted to a car or something that made it difficult to use a stylus on.
Another great feature is the fast one handed insertion and removal of the PalmPilot/Palm III to/from the base unit. I think this feature would really appeal to the Road Warrior that is in and out of the car frequently and does not fancy leaving the PalmPilot behind. It’s very easy to pop the Pilot in and out of the unit. There is a button at the top of the unit that when pressed lets the Pilot pop forward out of the base. It won’t jump out and fall, but it just pops forward. You can then just grab it by the top and take it out. It also easily snaps into the case.
The back of the UniMount base is designed to fit all of the mounting kits. It utilizes captive nuts and a slot locking system. As an engineer, I can really appreciate all of the unique design features that went into this product. I don’t like cheap, slap it together type products. This product, and all of the other products listed in this review, are very well made. I like to hear a “click” when I snap something into place, and the UniMount base scored very high on my “click factor” scale. I also want to mention that in addition to the Revolve Design web page, there is a manual that came with the base that explains in detail, with clear pictures, how to use each feature.
The UniMount base is designed to hold the palm devices outside of a case. Therefore, there is nothing protecting the screen. That may or may not be an issue. But keep it in mind when you decide how and where you wish to mount your palm device. For instance, the screen is probably safer on your desk top or mounted to your monitor, than in your car. Also, I contacted Revolve Design to find out if they had performed any vibration studies to see if the PalmPilot would be affected if mounted in a vehicle. Their representative told me that they have done extensive field testing with no problems.
As a stand, it holds Palm devices on an angle for easy screen viewing.
Room for extra batteries / sticky notes.
The Selector System.
Easy insertion and removal from base.
Scored high on the “click factor” scale.
No protection for screen.
Universal Pedestal Mount Kit
As I stated above, all of the mounting kits come with the UniMount base. In the Universal Pedestal Mount Kit, you also get the universal pedestal, (which mounts to the back of the base via a key/slot on the Quick Release adapter plate), a short extension, (1.75″ in length), a long extension, (3.5″ in length), a suction cup attachment, and a Velcro flange attachment.
This kit gives you the ability to mount to a vehicle windshield, using the suction cups, or to the side of your computer monitor, using the Velcro attachment. All of the ball joints are easy to adjust so you can get the correct angle for viewing. And the suction cups are of good quality and hold quite well. The key/slot connection of the UniMount base makes it easy to remove the base if needed.
Flex Mount Kit
This kit comes with the UniMount base, the Quick Release adapter plate, and the Flex Mount shaft. The Flex Mount is a 9″ long x .75″ diameter flexible shaft with an adapter foot that can be mounted to any sturdy surface, horizontal or vertical. The Flex Mount is very strong, and yet can be bent to angle the palm device for better viewing or positioning. It also would have a dampening affect on the palm device with regard to vibration. The Flex Mount is designed to be permanently mounted to your vehicle, etc although the UniMount base is removable.
Flex Mount with Phone Holder Kit
This kit is the same as mentioned above, but also includes a bridge plate and a phone holder. The phone holder and the UniMount both get mounted to the bridge plate, and then to the Flex Mount shaft. The phone holder is fully adjustable in the length and width. My cell phone easily fit into the holder, which has a quick release button that releases the phone. This kit would come in handy if you were on the road a lot, or wanted to mount your phone and your palm device to your car.
Heavy Duty Pedestal Mount Kit
This kit comes with the UniMount base and (like the name says), a heavy-duty pedestal and mounting plates. The plate of the pedestal is designed to be permanently mounted, but the Quick Release adapter plate is included for easy removal of the UniMount base. The ball joints are of good quality and easy to adjust.
Vent Mount Kit
This kit includes the UniMount base and a special adapter plate that connects to the air vents of your vehicle. I tried to mount it in my truck, but the vents are only 1.5″ wide and it took me about 20 minutes to finally get it installed. I thought that the extra weight on the vent, (in my case) was a bit too much. My vents are a bit loose, but on a tighter and wider vent it should hold well. The vent clips can adjust to straddle a control lever.
From Julie: I tried the vent mount on my truck and found that it obstructed my radio controls. You might want to consider this if you are thinking of buying this mounting system. It was pretty easy to put on and take off though.