You say you would like to take a trip and use your iPhone for navigation. Great—Airframe from Kenu provides a way to clamp your iPhone to the vent in your dash so you can use it hands-free.
The Airframe unit is a minimal piece of hardware, but it functions just fine. The two main parts are a clamping arm to hold onto your phone and an attachment point on the back. The part which holds your phone is a spring loaded C clamp with a rubberized inner surface which provides a no-mar, yet tight grip on your phone so it doesn’t take a trip without you. The clamping section can handle devices from about 2-7/8” down to 2-1/4” wide.
The mounting point on the back is where simple, good engineering comes to the fore. There are 4 “fingers” with a core of steel and a healthy coating of ABS. This makes the fingers sure of grip and easy on the material which it is gripping. The placement of the fingers allows the Airframe to be mounted to any type of vent grille.
Additionally, the mounting fingers are connected to the “C” clamp section by a pivot so you can turn the clamp after the mounting fingers are secure to position your device at the desired orientation. A tiny size (2.6” x 1.8” x 0.9”) coupled with a svelte 0.8 oz means you have a very portable iPhone mount. You can even stick a plastic card (credit, airline, library, whatever) in the back and use the Airframe as a viewing stand on your desk or while travelling (just not while driving, please).
The grip is firm enough you can use tap commands on your screen and use the home button if needed.
I used this in my car for a while without trouble. The only real gripe I have is that if the position of your car’s vents are not convenient to seeing your phone, there is nothing else on which you can mount the Airframe. If the vent is on the low side, you may not be able to see the map without taking your eyes well away from the road, and that can turn very bad very quickly.
The other limitation is you should not run the heater while your phone is mounted to the vent. The positive spin on this one is that if it’s cold enough to need the heater, it’s likely you will be sending all the hot air to the windshield and your feet.
As for color options, there are currently only two: black or white. Since the ABS material is grey on both versions, and the ends of the clamp are almost all you can see when the unit is in use, color isn’t a very big concern for me.
So, let’s talk price. The airframe is $24.95, which may sound like a bit much for something so small and basic in its design. I’m a bit on the fence with the price of this unit. Yes, it’s small and simple, but it uses good materials and feels like a piece of quality construction. It holds on for dear life to both the vent and the phone without leaving any marks on either, and is very portable. Given the performance of the unit the price isn’t all that bad. The only real questions you need to ask before buying one are:
- “Do I need this?” and,
- “Will I be comfortable with the mounting positions available in my car?”
If the answer to both of those questions is “yes” then the Airframe portable car mount is a good option.
Buy the Kenu Airframe portable car mount
Provides: Car/desktop mount for mobile devices
Minimum Requirements: Vent for car mounting, credit card (or something similar) for desktop display