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Bracketron Universal USB Power Dock Pro Flex Review

on May 31, 2012 11:00 am

When I drive, my iPhone is typically rattling around a cup holder or the center armrest between the front seats, neither of which is ideal. I cannot tell you the number of times it has fallen over or crashed to the floor of my vehicle. It is definitely not the ideal way to treat your expensive smartphone. Without a doubt, there are MANY smartphone car holders currently available but few have a built-in USB charging port that powers/charges and securely holds your device while going down the road. The folks at Bracketron Inc. have developed a well made Universal USB Power Dock Pro Flex smartphone holder that is held in place and is powered via the 12V power plug of your car.

Contents:

The Bracketron Universal USB Power Dock Pro Flex includes the universal holder/mount, 12V/USB/flexible arm assembly, and microUSB cable.

Features:

  • Universal holder with flexible neck design features 360° rotation and smart grip feet for optimal mounting and viewing angles while providing full access to all controls and ports.
  • PowerGrip arms securely hold the mount in your 12V port
  • High output (5V, 1.5A) USB port
  • Durable, molded high impact plastic construction with soft touch finish
  • Works with any USB cable provided with your handheld device
  • MicroUSB to USB cable included

The stiff yet flexible arm does a surprisingly good job of holding my iPhone in place. Although, it does move around a little on bumpy, unpaved roads but less than I had expected. Along with being able to tilt and pan, the ball and socket allows for 360 degree rotation of your device.

The holder itself is constructed of a hard, rigid plastic that is coated with a thin, soft rubber so that it does not mar your smartphone. As you would expect from a ‘universal’ smartphone cradle, it is adjustable. I tried it with several phones, the largest being an Android RAZR. From my iPhone to the RAZR, all fit just fine.

The PowerGrip arm securely holds the mount in your 12V port. The plug has rubber fins that create a bit of additional pressure to firmly hold the entire mount in place.

The universal holder is held in place/to the flex arm by a ball in socket mechanism….very much like your hip. The ball pops into the socket and then the circular clamp screws down on the both, locking the ensemble in place. Once you position the flex arm, it does a very good job staying where you left it.

The USB plug has a blue LED indicator light that tells you when the port has power.

The only (minor) negative comment I have is that the soft rubber coating on the adjustable smartphone holder came with a production flaw. You can see here where the rubber coating is not covering the hard plastic underneath.

Other than this relatively minor issue, the Bracketron Universal USB Power Dock Pro Flex is a good way to securely hold your smartphone in your car (or for that matter, boat as well). It does a more than adequate job of holding your device in place and charging it to boot. The MSRP is $35 but can be found for less on the Net. If you are in need of something to keep your smartphone from rattling around your vehicle, you definitely should consider the Power Dock Pro Flex.

 

Product Information

Price:$34.95
Manufacturer:Bracketron Inc.
Requirements:
  • - 12 volt power port
Pros:
  • - Universal mount works with a majority of smartphones
  • - Adjustable/flexible arm stays in place well
  • - USB power port works well
Cons:
  • - Came with a minor flaw in soft rubber coating

Comments

  1. 1
    jhon says:

    My experience with any of these types of gizmos hasn’t been good. They *ALL* sag. They all work themselves loose and slip and usually require some on-the-fly adjustments while I drive.

    My solution was to take a $10 mount from my local electronics junk store, some gorilla glue, some $5 plastic rated paint matching the color of my car and actually SCREW two holes in the side of my dash below the radio. It’s stable, it looks good, it’s removable leaving a round plate that matches the color of the interior of my car — and it’s SAFE. I don’t ‘panic’ when my phone comes crashing down (because it doesn’t).

    I’ve also got the original “suction cup” attachment for it so I can, if I wanted, move it to another car for a “temp” solution (for example: rentals ).

    I’d happily pay $30-$50 for something like this if it WORKED and LASTED. The closest thing I ever found actually had a pressure screw that would “push” against the inside of your lighter receptacle providing extra support and stability. But even that broke in fairly short order — because the threads and nut were plastic. And plastic doesn’t DO well in cars. One year max. Much less if you live in Phoenix — or even Southern California.

    I doubt this particular item would last a year. If you are “ok” paying basically $3-$4 per month to “RENT” this item for a year (when you’ll need to replace it), by all means… go for it.

    Sorry — (/rant). I’ve spent way too much on items like this over the years before I just gave up and constructed my own mount. It’s worked well for 2 years so far — and no hint of breakage.

  2. 2
    Dave Snyder says:

    This like other cig socket mounts with ability to charge is a nice alternative to a phone and charging cable laying around the console area somewhere sliding around with each turn. But it still suffers some weaknesses:

    can’t use it to mount a 7″ or 8″ tablet or sat nav device

    does not provide precision mounted head-up viewing just a finger touch from the steering wheel …one must look down and away from the road ahead to use this mount.

    shaft is prone to drooping and being in the way in some cases or rough patches of driving

    device is not removable quickly with one hand on the fly

    monopolizes cig socket

    There are some new universal mounts out there that do not use cig or cupholder sockets nor suction cups, nor screws nor glue etc while providing solid device support just inches from the steering wheel.

  3. 3
    Jhon says:

    Dave:

    Can you provide a few examples of “new universal mounts out there that do not use cig or cupholder sockets nor suction cups, nor screws nor glue etc while providing solid device support just inches from the steering wheel”?

    Thanks!

  4. 4
    Eric says:

    I had something like this for my iPod Nano a few years ago. The problem I had was that over time the plug for the cigarette lighter recepticle would loosen up and the whole thing would rotate around.

    For me I have been using Proclip adapters for several years and they work great. For my iPhone I combine the Proclip Adapter with the Griffin iTrip Dual Connect which powers my iPhone and has a 3.5mm connector in the Cig adapter to connect to AUX plug for audio.

  5. 5
    thsu says:

    @Jhon
    I got my Scion mount from: http://www.proclipusa.com
    and my Mini Cooper mount from: http://www.kudausa.com
    both clips attach to the car in some way, without tape or glue or vent clips or cup holders or 12v sockets.

    The ProClip mount puts my iPhone right next to my steering wheel while the Kuda mount is maybe a foot away. The Kuda mount looks great, like it was factory installed while the ProClip mount is an obvious aftermarket accessory.

  6. 6
    Ronald says:

    I at last went for a bean bag in combination with a suction cup holder for my iPhone.

    I tried several things before, but all of the above mentioned things went wrong in my car too.

    I had a TomTom-holder for my iPhone attached to my windscreen, but that’s apparently so attractive to thieves, one visit to a major city was enough to have it stolen (and my car lock wrecked).

    So, in the end, a bean bag which can be easily hidden somewhere when not in use, and can be used in my wives car as well, is the best solution thus far.

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