Semsons & Co. Universal Windshield PDA Holder Review

Product Requirements: Your Car’s Windshield, or any Smooth
Surface
size=2>Device:
Works best with Square
Shaped PDA’s
Will Hold any PDA

 

I really tried with this one.  Really I did.  You’ll notice the
date on this review…Its almost a month over due.  While I owe Julie and
Judie a big apology for blowing the deadline on this review, I did it for a good
reason.  I really, really tried to make this one work.  I wanted it to
so badly.

I’m talking about the Semsons & Co. Universal Windshield PDA (and Cell Phone)
Holder.  You’ll notice I’ve put "and Cell Phone" in parentheses.  This
device is supposed to securely hold your cell phone too.  I say "supposed
to…;" but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s get the prelim’s out of the
way so that I can get to the heart of why I was so disappointed with what could
have been a really neat, affordable accessory.

The Semsons & Co. Universal Windshield PDA Holder consists of two main
parts…three if you count your PDA.  The first part is a long goose necked
arm that attaches itself to your windshield with what is supposed to be a strong
suction cup.

The Semsons & Co
Gooseneck Arm and Suction Cup Mounted on my CRV’s Windshield

As you can see from this picture, the Arm is mounted to my windshield,
goosenecking its way forward towards my steering wheel.  It ends in a
large, flat,  black plate with a sticky pad covered with white wax paper. 
The sticky pad is an adhesive based square.  You peel off the wax paper
cover and plaster your cell phone against it; or at least I think you do. 
The device itself came with out ANY documentation, and the
Semsons and Co. web site
doesn’t really offer any real information on how you’re supposed to use this
device with your cell phone as of this writing. 

From what I can tell, you’re just supposed to stick your nicely kept, very
expensive, Gadgeteer-styled cell phone on the very sticky, gonna prevent you
from peeling it off and using the phone anywhere else besides your car (at least
not without ruining it), adhesive square.  I don’t know about you, but if
these guys think I’m gonna stick my $300 Motorola V60c phone against that
adhesive square, they’re NUTS!!  Who the heck thought up this mess?!? 
Did this person skip class the day they taught product engineering?  PUH-LEASE!!! 

While this device has the POTENTIAL to be used as a cell phone holder, this
Gadgeteer-in-Training won’t even consider using the Semsons and Co. Universal
Windshield PDA Holder to hold his cell phone.  The adhesive square seems
like a drunken afterthought, and WILL ruin the back of your phone; or at the
very least I think it will.  I can’t find any documentation to counter this
assumption either on the product box, or on the Semsons & Co. web site.

Now…on to what appears to be this product’s core competency:  Holding
your PDA.  I think you’ll be much happier with the results I have to report
here.

As a PDA holder, I have found the Semsons & Co. Universal Windshield PDA
Holder to work, well, ok.  I have 4 PDA’s that could have fit in this
accessory, 5 if you count the Clie’ NR70 that I just sold to a close friend of
mine.  The results of a week’s (or more) time in the hot seat with the
Semsons & Co. Universal Windshield PDA Holder can be found below:  Pictures
of some of these in the Holder can also be found below

PDA Comments
iPAQ 3765/3835 The HP/ Compaq iPAQ body fits in the Holder.  However, the bottom part
of the Holder covers the Speaker/ Action button on both models.  On the
3835, the sides of the Holder cover up buttons 1 and 4, preventing you from
using them.  It is also impossible to use the Action button on the iPAQ
3835.  On the iPAQ 3765, the bottom half of the Speaker is covered by
the Holder, muffling the sound.

When driving around town with the iPAQ’s
in the Holder, I found that the HP/ Compaq iPAQ was too heavy for the magnet
in the Holder, and the iPAQ  slid off more than once.  After
locating a few of Nashville’s missing potholes, they smacked the floor. 
I honestly didn’t feel comfortable riding around with either of my naked
iPAQ’s in the Holder.

Jornada 567 The HP Jornada body fit the Holder.  However, The bottom of the Holder
covers the Speaker and the Action button below the Directional Pad. 
The bottom of the Holder also prevented ideal use of the Jornada’s cover. 
In order to use the Holder with the cover, you had to open the cover, place
the Jornada in the Holder, and THEN close the cover.  The bottom of the
Holder prevented the Jornada’s cover from sitting flush against the device.

The HP Jornada 567 was also too heavy for the Holder.  It slid off the
magnetic plate more than once, and also hit the floor when traveling over
bumps in the road.

Toshiba e310 The Toshiba e310 body fit the Holder.  Between it and the NR70, the
Toshiba e310 fit the Semsons & Co. Universal Windshield PDA Holder the best. 
All of the e310’s buttons are accessible while the device is in the holder,
and 99% of the device’s speaker is free from any blockage.  The device
is also light enough that when traveling,  it rarely slid off the
magnetic plate. 

When traveling over the same bumps that sent my iPAQs and Jornada
plumeting to the floor, the e310 just slid down ever so slightly. 
However, the Toshiba e310 is one of the smaller, lighter Pocket PC’s on the
market today, and is, in my opinion, not of typical weight.

Sony Clie’ NR70 The Sony Clie’ NR70 body fit the Holder..  However, the unique clam
shell design of the NR Series Clie and the pivoting screen presented some
interesting problems for the Semsons accessory.  When closed, screen
in, the Clie’ fit the Holder quite well, though the device was largely
useless unless the bottom of the Holder fit in between the clam shell; and
then the device wouldn’t stay seated in the Holder right.  When closed,
screen out, the Clie’ fit the holder well, but the sides and bottom part of
the screen and virtual Graffiti area was partially covered. by at least an
1/8th of an inch.

I also had trouble with the Clie’ sliding down the
magnetic plate and hitting the floor when the vehicle was moving, and
traveling over bumpy pavement.

 

Toshiba e310 in
the Holder
iPAQ 3835 in the
Holder

Here are some more shots of the Semsons & Co. Universal Windshield PDA Holder
in action.

Close up of the
Toshiba e310 in the Semsons Holder

 

The back of the
Holder with the e310 inside.  Notice the piece of elastic holding the
cloth sides of the front together…

According to the Semsons & Co. web site, the
Universal Windshield PDA holder "Fits any type of PDA (including Expansion Slot)
with the elastic holder."  I don’t see how.  The front arms of the
Holder are pretty stiff.  The elastic in the back will only stretch so
much.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not get my iPAQ 3835 with PC
Card Sleeve in the Semsons & Co. Holder.

After careful consideration, while there is some potential here, I really
can’t recommend the Semsons & Co. Universal Windshield PDA Holder for use with
your PDA unless you have a very light, very thin PDA with either a built in CF
or SD slot; and you have a very large CF or SD card.  I’d want to use it to
hold my device while I played music with it.  Unless you have a large CF or
SD card in your built in slot, you won’t play a lot of music.  The Holder
doesn’t accommodate the iPAQ or Jornada PC Card Sleeve.  I also had trouble
with the Holder sliding off the gooseneck, especially if you hit a pothole or
bump.

Price: $34.99, on Sale (as of this writing) $24.99

Pros:
Portable
Magnetic
Works with (Just About) any PDA
Inexpensive

Cons:
Suction Cup isn’t Very Strong
Magnet isn’t Very Strong
PDA’s tend to Slide Off
PDA Holder only Holds Naked PDA’s

 

Product Information

Price:34.99
Manufacturer:Semson's & Co. Inc.
Pros:
  • Portable
  • Magnetic
  • Works with (Just About) any PDA
  • Inexpensive
Cons:
  • Suction Cup isn't Very Strong
  • Magnet isn't Very Strong
  • PDA's tend to Slide Off
  • PDA Holder only Holds Naked PDA's

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