This review compares the Arkon GPS Car Kit RWIPC and the Arkon SLIM-Grip Mount IMP-514, and I want to start by saying that Akron Resources really makes quality products of sturdy construction, built for optimal utility and unobtrusiveness. Their GPS Car Kit and SLIM-Grip Mount both fit well within that description, to be used with the iPhone or the iPod Touch.
“Versus” reviews probably should most often compare apples-to-apples and furthermore compare competing companies’ products… however this review will compare two different products, both made by the same company.
This comparison is more of an apples-to-oranges comparison, as the SLIM-Grip Mount has no GPS features, and is simply a mobile mount for holding your iPhone for you, while you drive. The GPS Car Kit is not only a mount for your iPhone, but it does so much more, which I’ll describe in detail. Please note that this review will in no way encourage you to use your iPhone (nor any phone, for that matter) while you drive. Distracted driving is an ever-growing concern and strict laws are now in place, in most all states. Please drive responsibly, at all times.
Having said that, those of us who use GPS navigation while driving, know the benefits of doing so. No longer do we need to plan out directions beforehand, nor carry paper maps with us, though it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea to plan ahead and carry maps as backups. iPhones, as well as other smart-phones today, have GPS navigation built-in, making our lives just that much easier. Mounting our phone in our vehicle is now, just as easy, and useful.
Starting with the basic SLIM-Grip Mount, Arkon really pinpointed the best features in a mount for the iPhone. Super easy to install in just a few short minutes, this mount is all but invisible behind the iPhone, just as it should be. As I mounted mine to the windshield, I would not want anything obstructing my view of the road, at all. With my car’s seat position, and the placement of the mount’s powerful suction-cup, the mount and phone are such that they fall within the viewing range of my car’s hood, and nothing more. Brilliant. The manufacturer warns us against placement that may hinder vehicle operation, as well, FYI.
If you prefer, the SLIM-Grip Mount also comes with a dashboard stand which requires no screws, nor tools, to apply. A circular adhesive disk sticks onto your dash in a flash. Sorry, but the rhyme was so appropriate here. Once applied to either the windshield, or to the dash, the holder for the iPhone positions the phone just as one wants it, with a swivel. The support legs which hold onto the phone, are adjustable, so that they will not interfere with buttons nor the microphone or speaker, once adjusted. Finally, the holder’s legs are spring-loaded to secure the phone in place and makes for easy insertion and removal, of the phone, from the mount.
Having used the SLIM-Grip Mount, extensively, I can say with no reservations that it is a product I will continue to utilize and recommend to others.
GPS Car Kit
The GPS Car Kit is much more than just a mount, let me tell you. First off, yes, it is a mount, much like the SLIM-Grip, but it doesn’t end there. It also includes a high-performance GPS which claims to replace or enhance the iPhone’s GPS. More on that in a sec. Also, this product includes Bluetooth® hands-free calling, it charges the iPhone, or iPod Touch, while in use. Furthermore, this device has a built-in 2-way speaker and an audio line out.
While I successfully utilized the hand-free calling feature, I was not able to get the GPS enhancement to function. Let me elaborate, as I am sure the functionality is there, and useful. My experience with attempts to set up the GPS functionality, was discouraging at best. The user manual directed me to download a utility app that was not found, using the name provided, and varied searches in the App Store. So, I called customer service, using the number provided in the user manual. The phone representative told me I had to contact Arkon, which was to whom I thought I was speaking. Turns out, the company RightWay®, as I understand it, makes the GPS portion of the Car Kit, and Arkon handles the rest. My apologies to RightWay and Arkon if this is not the case.
Next, I went to the Arkon website to get contact information. I called their toll-free number multiple times, and got no answer. Frustrated, I stopped trying, and since my iPhone has GPS on it already, I decided not to continue attempts to make the GPS enhancement of the Car Kit work. It is not my intent to discourage anyone from buying this product, as it is pretty awesome, and I’m sure that there is an easy fix for finding and using the necessary app. It just wasn’t easy for me, sadly.
All in all, I think both products are worth recommending, but for me personally, and my basic needs, the SLIM-Grip does the job, and does it perfectly well.