If you spend any amount of time in the car and need safe access to your Windows Phone, a car cradle is a must. You could sit your Windows Phone on the dash or in the passenger seat (if vacant) but one quick turn and it could go sailing across your car. You could sit it in a car holder but the view isn't that great. Keep it in your pocket and you've got to battle the seat belt to get it out. Car cradles or mounts are convenient, safe and keeps your phone handy.
iOttie offers a nice selection of car cradles for our Windows Phones. Two of which we carry over in the Windows Phone Central Accessory Store; the multi-adjustable Easy One-Touch and the compact Easy Flex 2. Both are quality cradles and features iOttie's automatic closure system. Ease past the break to read more about both these Windows Phone car cradles.
Let's get the common characteristics of these two car cradles out of the way to avoid repetition.
Both are solidly constructed and hold the phone in place securely. In using both these cradles on the road, neither displayed significant bounce and held the phone steady.
iOttie uses a sticky suction cup that would probably hold things in place without setting the suction lever. The company boasts these suction cups can hold up a bowling ball and I wouldn't dispute this claim at all. The suction cup strongly took hold to smooth surfaces and held firmly on textured surfaces.
Lastly, both cradles can be rotated, contorted or otherwise positioned for mounting on a car dash or windshield and supports both vertical and horizontal positioning of your Windows Phone.
iOttie Easy One-Touch Car Cradle
The Easy One-Touch is a multi-adjustable model with a pivoting arm to adjust the height of the phone and a ball socket joint that allows you to rotate the phone and pivot it slightly to the left or right.
The Easy One-Touch is a two piece car cradle consisting of the base and the cradle. The base has the suction cup and lever to hold things in place and the pivoting arm that is set with a tension screw. Just behind the mounting plate is a ball joint that allows the cradle to rotate and pivot. A tension screw is present to lock the ball joint in place.
The cradle itself snaps onto the mount plate and has two side arms that extend when the two side buttons are pressed. The arms do have a small foam cushion that protects the Windows Phone from scratches, adds a little grip to the arms and helps prevent the phone from slipping. At the base of the cradle there are two hooks that support the phone and can be adjusted to accommodate longer phones.
When placed into the cradle, the back of the Windows Phone presses a trigger that collapses the side arms, securing the phone into place. The arms have a slight extension that wraps around the phone to help keep things secure. The Easy One-Touch is rated to handle phones up to three inches wide.
One factor that is very important to Nokia Lumia owners, with the power button resting on the side of the phone, is the location of a car cradles' arms. There are plenty of models that will clamp down on top of the Lumia's power button and turn off the phone or restrict your access to this button.
The arms on the Easy One-Touch just barely touches the power button on the Nokia Lumia 1020, 920, and 900 with the base hooks fully raised. The contact isn't enough to start the power-off sequence and the base hooks can't be lowered enough to position the arms above the power button. I did not experience any issues in using the One-Touch with the HTC 8x with the clamp arms resting easily in between the volume rocker and camera button.
On the smaller Nokia Lumia 520, the arms sit right on top of the power button with the base hooks raise. Lowering the hooks down will only place the arms over the volume rocker. While I'd recommend the Easy One-Touch for the larger Windows Phones such as the Lumia 9xx series or the HTC 8x, I wouldn't with the smaller Windows Phones. In these cases I'd look to the iOttie Easy Flex 2.
iOttie Easy Flex 2
If you're looking for a more compact car cradle, take a gander at the Easy Flex 2. The cradle is a of one piece construction with the cradle attached to the base by way of a ball joint. Instead of a suction lever, the base rotates clockwise to apply suction to the sticky suction cup.
The Easy Flex 2 shares iOttie's trigger system to secure your Windows Phone into place but lacks any buttons to release your phone. To do so, you'll need to manually extend the right clamp arm. This often requires both hands to remove the phone and takes a little getting used to. I'm not sure if it's possible but I wouldn't mind seeing a button release engineered into the design.
The cradle can pivot around by means of a ball joint. There isn't any means to lock the cradle into position (tension screw) but the joint is stiff enough to stay in place and hold up to any bumpy roads you may travel on. Along with being able to slightly pivot the phone left or right and tilt the phone via the ball joint, the cradle will also rotate into horizontal position. The downside to this feature is that the rotation is only counter-clockwise so if you miss your mark, you'll have to spin things completely around. Uni-directional rotation would help make the Flex 2 a little more frustration free.
The Easy Flex 2 lacks any base support and relies solely on the side arms to keep the Windows Phone in place. There's foam cushioning on the inside of the Flex 2's arms that prevents the phone from slipping and I did not experience any issues while using the Flex 2 with regards to my Windows Phone slipping in the cradle.
The Easy Flex 2 is rated to hold phones up to three inches wide and in using it with the Lumia 920, 1020 and the HTC 8x, each phone was held in place nicely. The arms are narrow enough to fit in between the power and volume rockers on the Lumia Windows Phones and between the camera button and volume rocker on the HTC.
For the smaller Lumia 520, the arms are too wide to fit in between the power and volume rocker. However, you can position the Lumia 520 higher in the cradle so the arms rest between the power and camera buttons.
Which is better?
If you're looking for a compact car cradle that doesn't take up much space, the Easy Flex 2 is a rather nifty little cradle. When not in use, the cradle can fold down on to the base and out of the way.
The Flex 2 seems to be the more flexible of the two cradles with respect to accommodating a wider range of phones. It worked nicely with everything from the Nokia Lumia 520 to the larger Lumia 1020. The weakness of the Flex 2 is the lack of a release button but with practice and use, you do get used to manually extending the arms.
If you need a little more flexibility in your car mount's positioning, turn your sights towards the Easy One-Touch. You have two points of adjustment on the base as well as the adjustable base hooks. The release buttons adds to the ease of removing the phone just as the trigger button makes placement easy.
The Easy One-Touch is a little on the large side and might not fit as well in smaller cars. I do wish the side arms were slightly narrower to avoid the power button all together on the Nokia Lumia Windows Phones.
Both iOttie models are quality car cradles for our Windows Phone. They just approach things a little differently. I'm still a little partial towards the Aduro U-Grip but I don't think you can go wrong with either. It's just deciding which meets your needs the best.
The iOttie Easy One-Touch is currently running $22.95 and you can find it here in the WPCentral Accessory Store.
The iOttie Easy Flex 2 is currently running $19.95 and you can find it here in the WPCentral Accessory Store.