Review: Quad Lock Bike Mount
In our experience, there are two kinds of smartphone bike mounts on the market. The first type accommodates one particular phone model in a fixed-size case, the second, phones of varying sizes, albeit with disadvantages such as screen obstruction or having to place the phone in a large, sloppy pouch. Quad Lock is a pure example of the former, giving us – at least on paper – everything we’d wanted in a bike mount, at the cost of slightly reduced versatility (more on that later). Naturally, we ran one through the ringer to see how it performed in real life, so read on for our full analysis.
The Quad Lock bundle includes two main components: a case adapted to your particular phone (ranging from the iPhone 5/5s/5c, 4/4s, to Samsung’s Galaxy S4) plus a small, unobtrusive mounting module, which rigs up to your bike’s handebars using the included zip ties or rubber o-rings (2 sizes included). We went with the o-rings, which firmly grip the posts and keep the mount, which also has a high-friction backing, from budging even slightly. The phone, in its case, clips on rigidly and locks in any orientation (portrait, landscape, even flipped) by pushing down and twisting on the spring-loaded blue ring around the mount; trust us when we say it’s not going anywhere. It doesn’t hurt that the case itself is pretty solid and relatively thin, other than the slight bulge in the back to accommodate the Quad Lock clip, making it decently suitable for everyday use.
We’re still on an iPhone 5, but even at that the screen is perfectly visible in the day (just not through polarized specs, but that’s an issue in itself), helping us stay on the right track in foreign suburbs thanks to Google Maps’ biking directions. Of course, this also opens up the possibility of using your smartphone as a bike computer, though we didn’t go there since we’re moderately satisfied with our $14 unit. We did however attempt to listen to music using our iPhone’s speakers, which weren’t quite up to par with the sounds of the outdoors (consider perhaps a Buckshot).
But what about adverse conditions? No need to carry a Zip-Loc bag since the kit also includes a waterproof plastic rain “poncho”, which all but makes your device entirely water resistant by covering up all holes on all sides, save the camera. It held up great in our tests, though we’re not sure if prolonged heavy rain might start to seep in through the camera hole; either way, a small piece of waterproof tape would seal the deal. Speakerphone volume and tactility were both definitely affected, but visibility not so much, and we can definitely live with the tradeoff of keeping our $700 gadget safe in the rain.
So would we recommend it? We wouldn’t waste your time with this review otherwise. The only detail to keep in mind is that when changing phones you’ll need a new case, associated with a cost to the tune of $25-$30, plus another $20-$25 for the poncho. Since iPhones only seem to change form factor every two years, we deem the price acceptable, though it’s a bit more of a crap shoot with Samsung.