GPS sales are tanking as more and more people use their cell phones for driving directions. If you're considering making the switch to cell-phone navigating, you'll need a phone mount for your car. Consumer Reports just took a look at 11 models that cost $9 to $25.
Some mount on the dash or windshield. Others mount on vents, in cup holders, and in lighter sockets. One even attaches to the sun visor, but that's probably not the best design because it means you have to take your eyes off the road. And the instructions tell you to put it on the passenger side, which is out of your line of vision. The models that sit in a cup holder have the same disadvantage. You'll have to look down, taking your eyes off the road. Plus, you can't use your cup holder!
Consumer Reports also evaluated how easy each one is to use and how well it holds the phone. And to check for stability, the testers made some quick turns to see whether the phones stayed in place. Some didn't. The lighter socket mounts tended to be unstable, shaking a bit while you drive. And the ones that mounted on the vent were flimsy.
The models that Consumer Reports likes the best are the ones that attach to either the windshield or the dashboard. They hold the phone securely and keep it right where you can see it easily. The favorite among Consumer Reports staffers is the $20 Iottie. It holds phones in place, is easy to use, and keeps your eyes facing toward the road.
Though using your cell phone is convenient, Consumer Reports says there are advantages to using a dedicated GPS unit. The sound quality is better, and GPS reception is reliable. If you're looking to buy one, Consumer Reports named a Garmin model a Best Buy for $160. It is the Garmin Nuvi 2455LT.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.