Test: Brodit / ProClip, the ultimate car docking system for your iPhone or iPad

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There are about a quadrillion different iPhone docking stations, priced anywhere from a few dollars to triple digits. Brodit docks are at the very top of the range, with a full electrical installation costing around $ 140 to $ 150.

Crazy money? Expensive certainly, but having owned one since the iPhone 4, I didn’t even think of anything else when I bought my iPhone 6 …

Brodit is a Swedish company specializing in mounting systems for attaching electronic equipment to vehicles. Rather confusing, the company’s products are sold under different brands in different countries, known as ProClip in the US and ClicOn in Australia.

Brodit systems have two selling points. First, the quality. When installed, a Brodit mount looks like a factory mount and is rock solid. The look and feel are a far cry from an inexpensive frame.

Second, flexibility. Brodit takes a two-part approach to mounting systems: the vehicle mount that you attach to your car (which Brodit calls the ProClip) and the cradle that holds your device. By mixing and matching them, you can attach just about any device to any car and place it anywhere you want.

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It also means that when you just update your phone, you just need to replace the cradle that holds the device – the car holder stays in place. Conversely, if you change the car but keep your phone, you can simply replace the car holder. This is the dash mount for an SLK – just a snap.

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It stands out when photographed from the floor, but is almost invisible from the driver and passenger seats.

A word of warning: Even with your exact device and the exact make, model and year of the car selected, you will still have a choice of multiple cradles, so be careful to select the one you want. More on this shortly.

As regular readers know, I hate visible threads, which immediately ruled out a vent mount. I am also happy with my Garmin GPS for navigation so I didn’t want another device in my windshield. So I opted for a car accessory that put the platform low, next to the gear lever. It also allowed the wiring to slide immediately under the carpet in the passenger floor (I’m from UK so we have right hand drive cars).

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Attaching the car mount to the car took 30 seconds, being a quick adjustment. Attaching the original iPhone 4 cradle took 5-10 minutes, requiring four mounting plate screws to secure to the vehicle mount. The update to the iPhone 6’s Cradle was much faster, involving just one screw.

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There was one complication though: although I don’t usually use iPhone cases, I made an exception this time around. I’m not a fan of any of the current iPhone colors, preferring solid black, so I went with the Apple leather cover. This gave me an iPhone in the appropriate color, but added a bit to the width of the device, meaning it wouldn’t fit Brodit’s standard iPhone dock.

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But again, the company’s flexibility is paying off: they offer a version of the iPhone 6 holder with adjustable width, to accommodate slim cases. This has two small screws that you loosen to pull the sides to the required width for your case. Getting the exact width is slightly tricky, taking a few minutes to get the right one, but seems to allow for a decent range of case thicknesses.

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Brodit also offers flexibility in horsepower, with a choice of three models. The passive mount is a simple support, without power. Then there are two active mounts, one with a cigarette lighter plug attached, the other with bare wires to connect to your car. For the iPhone 6, there are also two different versions of the adjustable power mounts, with different ways to secure the phone. One is fixed above and below, the other just below. I opted for the latter.

The model with a bare wire connection has an additional feature: unscrew the plastic casing halfway through the cable to reveal a USB connector. As I had already added USB sockets to my car, I used it.

My previous phone holder was covered with felt because the phone was resting against the back of the holder. With the iPhone 6 version, the phone slips into two smooth slots that keep it away from the back of the cradle, so the felt is gone. Once the width adjustment is properly set, the phone slides smoothly in and out of the holder, falling snugly onto the built-in Lightning connector.

With a Bluetooth connection to the car stereo, the result is something that both looks and acts like a factory installed phone docking station. The car mount is virtually invisible and the docking station offers both tilt and swivel adjustment to position it the way you want it. It’s definitely not a cheap option, but in my opinion, it’s worth the price.

Use the Brodit website to identify the 6-digit part numbers you need for the phone holder and car holder, then check the prices on Amazon.

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