Windows Phone Accessory Review: Clingo Car Mount [Updated]
One "must have" accessory for my Windows Phone is a good car cradle or mount. These mounts come in handy when you need to keep an eye on your Windows Phone (e.g. navigation) without running the risk of the phone sliding across your dash or bouncing off the passenger seat. The Clingo line of car mounts take on this task from a unique approach.
Most car cradles use tension arms to hold your Windows Phone into place. Clingo uses a sticky pad to hold things in place. The green sticky pad reminds me of green slime that sticks to everything. The question is whether or not this green sticky pad will hold your Windows Phone in place.
Clingo offers their car mount in three versions. There is the Universal Podium that is more for home or office use, a Universal Hands Free that sticks to the windshield or dash of your car, and Universal Vent Mount that clips on to your car's air vents. We took the Universal Hands-Free model out for a test drive to see how well Clingo held things into place and handled the open road.
The Universal Hands-Free model has an adjustable arm that attaches to a rotating mounting pad. The mount attaches to your windshield or provided mounting pad (sticks to your dashboard). You can raise or lower the arm and it secures in place by a tension screw at the base. Construction of the Clingo mount was solid but I have to admit the rigid arm took some getting used to after using mounts with flexible arms.
While construction was solid, if Clingo couldn't hold things into place with dependability, the mount is a bust. The green sticky pad is sticky, really sticky, and hold your Windows Phone in place nicely. At first, I was a little apprehensive and worried that my HTC Titan would bounce of the Clingo sticky pad. I was pleased to see that the Windows Phone didn't budge a hair.
Clingo's green sticky pad sticks to the phone strong enough that there's a small fear that you're going to rip the phone apart in the process. The best way to remove your Windows Phone from the mount is to hold on to the mount pad by one of the "wings" that extend from the side as you pull on the Windows Phone. This will also help prevent pulling the entire Clingo mount from the windshield.
As advertised, the Clingo doesn't leave any residue on the phone. I did see a shadow of a footprint on my phone at times but nothing that didn't quickly fade away.
Performance wise, the Clingo did well. It held my HTC Titan in place nicely with very little bounce in the mount. Every now and then I would hit a bump in the road that would shift the sticky pad mount. The ball and joint lack any tension screw to keep it in place. The joint is tight but a few bumps did shift the base a little. Speaking of the Titan, one advantage with the Clingo is that the side micro-USB port on the Titan isn't obstructed. The clamp styled mount's arms will often block this port.
While the adhesive hold on the Windows Phone is impressive, it also attracts dust, dirt, and grit. You can wash the sticky pad with water to clean it up a bit. Still, I'm a little concerned that you might scratch up the back of the phone if something coarse got stuck on the pad. This isn't a deal breaker but something that you might want to monitor should the pad get dirty. Cleaning it periodically with water would also likely help prevent the sticky pad from drying out and loosing its adhesive quality.
While I have my reservations on the sticky pad, overall the Clingo car mount performed well. The Clingo mount held the heavy weight Titan in place nicely and handled the bumps of the road equally as nice. The Clingo Universal Hands-Free model is running $27.95 and the Podium Mount and Vent Mount are running $27.95 and $18.95 respectively. You can find all three at the WPCentral Accessory Store.
Update: Just to address a couple of issues in the comments section, I tried the Clingo with the Samsung Focus S. The adhesive on the Clingo's sticky pad is strong enough to pull the battery cover off the Samsung Focus S. It doesn't pull it off consistently but frequently enough that I imagine it would be a royal pain.
With regards to the staying power of the sticky pad, Clingo claims the adhesive quality will be retained through 3,300+ uses with proper care. Clingo recommends washing the sticky pad with warm water and mild soap periodically. This will take care of the grit and grime, as well as helping the pad retain its adhesive quality. The pad was tested to be effective in temperatures ranging from -11 degrees to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. There's no indication of a guarantee and if I here back from Clingo, I'll pass it on.