Product Review: PED4 Mount CH50 for iPhone

The PED4 Mount CH50 ($49.99) is a custom iPhone mount that holds your iPhone steady while mounted to a car, desk, wall, boat…anything you like. It’s different from other phone mounts because it has an asymmetrical double balled stainless steel curved shaft that allows you to position your phone in an endless number of orientations.

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Designed for the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s, the mount works with or without a case. It is also compatible with a cased iPhone 4S, 4, 3GS, 3G, and Original as well as the iPod touch 4g, 3g, 2g, and 1 g. Features include slide adjusting fingers and side guides to hold your iDevice in place and articulating and pivot motion meant to hold your iDevice in any position you choose. The mount is also suppose to offer full port and camera access. 

I’ve had many different types of mounts and it always amazes me how many different ways there are to design such a thing. The options are abundant, but not all of them work well. Thankfully, the PED4 Mount CH50 gets it right. To test it out, I stuck it to the side of the coffee bar at my studio, using the AdPad300 and Bracket 90 that came with it (these are normally optional accessories that cost extra). At any angle I tested it, the mount held my iPhone 5 in exactly the place I put it. I did all kinds of wacky and awkward angles and it held fast.

So, it does what it promises to do and it does it very well. That said, it doesn’t do it in the most elegant way possible. For example, in order to adjust the mount to fit, you need to use the included tiny little Allen head tool to adjust each of the five arms that hold your phone. Even though it’s an Allen wrench, the tool is a bit hard to use due to the small handle.”That, plus the fact that the arms are stiff and do not slide in and out easily, makes it hard to get a precise adjustment. I understand why the tool is the way it is; it prevents you from putting too much torque on the screws and over tightening them. That said, once the screws have been tightened there is no need to readjust, so the little bit of fiddling around was easier to take. Plus now I know they won’t compress, move, or lose tension (as springs or foam tend to do). I just have to remember where I put the tool in case I need to use it again…

Over time, the ball socket on the cradle side may start to lose holding power and become floppy. That’s where the larger 3/32” hex wrench comes in. Insert it into the hole in the center of cradle and give it a few clockwise turns until it makes contact with the ball, then another quarter turn tightens the ball right up again. 

The base is a bit harder to tighten when it’s mounted to something, but at least an additional tool isn’t necessary. Just screw down the adjusting collar which puts additional compression on the ball joint. It seems a little tricky especially when the base is mounted and screwed down with the Bracket90 or stuck down with the AdPad300, but again this is not an adjustment that has to be made often.

The tradeoff for these ball and socket joints is infinite adjustability. The arm is curved allowing for certain positions that would not be possible with a straight arm. There are no clicks or detents restricting your adjustments to certain angles. The range of motion is truly impressive, and during my tests it was easy to position the phone so that anyone could face it straight on.

All of the parts feel heavy duty. Nothing appeared to flex or bend in such a way that I feared for longevity. The stainless steel arm, for example, is the most substantial articulation arm I’ve ever seen on a phone mount. The PED4 comes with screws to attach it permanently to your dashboard or console. Certainly mounting it in this way is the best, most secure method, but it will leave three small holes if you ever decide to remove it. The included AdPad300 will accept these screws and provide a flat smooth surface to use an adhesive pad to attach it non-destructively. I found that the AdPad provided a large enough base to stand the PED4 and an iPhone 5 upright on a desktop or counter without any adhesive, if you’re so inclined.

Due to the robustness of the mount and the way it’s typically attached to a vehicle, the PED4 should not be considered portable. It is much more of a “install it, set it up, tighten it down, and don’t touch it again” device, and for that it is extremely well suited. Just don’t assume you’re going to swap it from car to car with just a suction cup on the windshield, because installation is more permanent than that. In return, you get a solid and secure phone mount.

I give the PED4 four out of five stars. This mount isn’t for everybody, but for folks who don’t mind a more permanent solution, it works very well.

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