One thing that seems to be a common attribute of hard-core Apple fans is that they are connoisseurs of great design. It doesn't matter if it's the sleek curves of a new iMac or the minimalist slab of the iPhone 5, we love how the devices are designed with pleasing dimensions and an enjoyable tactile sensation. That's why I was instantly attracted to the Kenu Airframe (US$24.95), a simple and lightweight smartphone car mount that's perfect for present and future iPhones.
Some of the car mounts I've received for review over the years have been expensive overkill. They often use a suction cup mount to stick to the front window of the car, which doesn't work very well in hot dry environments as they tend to pop off when they sit in the sun for a while, dropping your expensive phone to the floor of the car. There's usually a long arm designed to bring the iPhone closer to your hand, which has the undesirable effect of making the phone sway or bounce.
The Kenu Airframe is simplicity defined: it uses a soft plastic clip to attach to an air vent in your car. That clip rotates 90 degrees to properly fit thick or thin grilles on your vent. The idea of mounting the iPhone to your air vent is pure genius as well, as in hot conditions you'll most likely have air conditioning turned on, which will cool the phone and keep it from overheating.
An expandable jaw on the Airframe can hold most phones regardless of their width, giving you some semblance of insurance against needing to purchase another car mount should a future iteration of iPhone be a different width.
One other fun thing: if you need an impromptu stand for your iPhone, just grab your Airframe and a business or credit card from your wallet, then pop that card into the clip on the back. Voila! Your iPhone is standing up on its own.
Installing the Airframe is quite simple. Find a spot in your car with a vent where you'd like to hang your iPhone, and push the clip onto the plastic grille. That's it. Next, grab your iPhone and push it into the jaws of the Airframe, and you're done. One note: if you have a thick iPhone case like the Mophie Juice Pack, the Airframe won't be able to grab onto your phone. It works swimmingly with a lot of the thinner cases.
The way the clip is designed virtually guarantees that the Airframe is not going to fall out of the vent grille. There's a lot of road construction going on near my home right now and it's practically "four-wheeling" territory on one of the main drags with a lot of bumps and dips. Even at the maximum speed allowed in the construction zone, the jarring and swerving didn't move the Airframe or my iPhone a bit.
The travel stand idea with the credit card is also brilliant. It's a perfect way to use a car mount anywhere -- something that you can't do with a "normal" suction-cup equipped mount.
If there are any negatives I can think of, it's that this might not be a good idea in the winter if you have the clips inserted into a vent blowing hot air onto your iPhone. I don't know for sure if this would cause your iPhone to shut off due to high temperatures, but it's worth thinking about.
Whether you use your iPhone in the car for entertainment, directions, or just to have your phone at arm's reach when you're driving, the Airframe is a simple, sturdy, and functional car mount that takes up very little room.
Very compact design and light (less than 1 oz.) enough to carry anywhere
Doesn't rely on suction cups to mount your phone in your vehicle
Using the Airframe with a credit card as a travel stand for your phone is sheer genius
Soft rubber material on the jaws and clips ensures a tight grip to phone and vent without scratching either
Doesn't work with thicker cases like the Mophie Juice Packs