Naztech MagBuddy Dash Telescopic Mount REVIEW Mounting Versatility
Distracted driving is a significant problem on American Roads. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, sixteen states, Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin islands “prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving” and forty-seven states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. Interestingly, many of these states have primary enforcement laws on the books for use of phones by the driver, which means that law enforcement can pull you over directly. If you wonder why this is such a big deal, I would encourage you to navigate to the NHTSA.gov website to learn about the 3,450 lives lost in 2016 and the 391,000 injuries in 2015 from distracted drivers. I tested/reviewed the Magbuddy Vent device and was disappointed with the build quality. I hoped that the MagBuddy Dash would outperform its little brother.
Similar to the Vent and Anywhere devices, Naztech used a similar packaging layout for the Dash device. The Universal Magnetic MagBuddy Dash arrived in a 5 1/2 inches wide by 5 1/2 inches tall by 3 inches thick retail box. The cover provided an attractive photographic quality image of the MagBuddy Dash, the telescoping arm, multipoint articulation and also detailed the two included plates, safe and powerful (neodymium) magnets, and the ability to view your phone in portrait and landscape positions. Rotating the packaging ninety degrees counterclockwise, you will find the same panel on each of the packages (vent, dash, anywhere). Naztech intelligently used four ink outline drawings to show the typical MagBuddy Plate installation locations (behind the case, behind the battery cover, directly to the case, directly to the device). Beneath the icons, Naztech also included this information in French and Spanish. The back panel of the packaging provided some additional information about the installation and features of the device. The packaging promised a secure grip with bump resistance, a locking knob, 360-degree swivel ball, adjustable telescopic neck and a sticky gel pad suction cup with two-step locking. To install the product, you can simply add the MagBuddy Plate to your device, put the locking knob on the 360 degrees locking ball head and then twist the locking knob until the device is secured. The suction cup can be repositioned and reinstalled, wetted and air dried to reinstate the stickiness and you can gain additional height with the back locking knob and extension with the telescopic neck. Opening up the magnetic cover flap, you can directly visualize the device behind a clear plastic window. Beneath the window, Naztech added the same three icons from the cover (safe/powerful magnet, portrait/landscape view, quick install). I was pleased with the inner surface of the magnetic flap, which provided an attractive and realistic image of the MagBuddy Dash device with the extended arm.
Inside of the packaging, you will find the magnetic backing and vent clip, attractively displayed in a clear plastic shell. The company creatively used a thin piece of cardboard, with a mirrored surface, to highlight the Dash mount. Underneath the thin plastic shell, you will also find an individually wrapped package of two MagBuddy Plates, a 1 1/4 inch square plate and a 1 3/4 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches tall, large plate. The MagBuddy Plate packaging provided warnings to avoid using the magnetic mount in devices with a hard-drive and also recommended proper placement of the plates for Qi charging. I had previously installed the Magbuddy small plate on my Catalyst Waterproof iPhone X case to review the MagBuddy Vent device. Since most phone Qi chargers are located along the middle of the phone, it was recommended to place the plate near the bottom of your case. There was no mention of the reason for the metallic plate placement to be near the bottom. I can attest that the metallic plate will heat up to unsafe levels. I reached over to grab my iPhone X off of my wireless charger, and the metallic plate burned my hand. It felt as if I had accidentally touched the oven when removing food. I decided to follow the instructions and cautiously removed MagBuddy from the plastic surface of my case using a butter knife. Initially, I aligned the 1 1/4 inch square metallic plate was able to align just above “iPhone” on the back of my Waterproof Catalyst Case for iPhone X. Using a Ventev Wireless Chargestand, I was able to charge my iPhone X with the metal plate just above the “iPhone” label, but that is where I noted that the plate became significantly heated. I moved the plate to cover the iPhone logo, and it did not seem to heat up anymore. If the plate were any closer to the Apple Logo, the iPhone X would not charge wirelessly, and the plate would heat up. If Qi charging is not important to you, consider aligning the plate with the Apple Logo.
The lopsided semi-triangular magnetic surface was rather attractive. The surface was made of a soft rubberized grey material and had Naztech etched into it. I was very pleased with the overall shape and feel of the magnetic Dash mount. The 3.8 ounce (108 Gram) Dash device had a 2 1/2 inches diameter suction cup with an installed plastic shield. Once you remove the outer shield and expose the sticky surface, you can place the suction cup onto your dash or onto your windshield. For two-step locking, you can reach under the lever arm and lower the suction cup lever. This will cause the center of the suction cup to elevate and enhance the suction of the device. Once seated, add the 360-degree swivel head into the magnetic head and lock down the locking knob. You can raise and lower the arm and then lock it into the perfect position by turning the back screw knob. After you loosen the front screw, you can telescope the neck from 2 7/8 inches long (base of arm to ball neck) to 4 7/8 inches long. The strong suction cup held the phone in both landscape and vertical positions and had no arm sagging with the telescopic neck retracted. When the neck was fully extended, it did lift from my dashboard a few times. I tried the mount on my windshield and it has remained affixed over the last few days. When used on my dash, the suction seemed to weaken as the sunlight hit my dash and heated it up. This was much improved when I used a sunshade and cracked my windows. However, this technology is limited by the extreme heat of a closed car. The lopsided semi-triangular shaped face had a soft rubberized surface with Naztech etched into it.
The MagBuddy Dash held up much better than the Vent device, which lasted only a few days. I did notice that heat caused the suction to weaken and like other reviewers, it did not remain affixed to my Chevy Silverado dash. The windshield mounting proved to be more secure but still fell off if the arm was left extended. The sticky surface of the mount did leave a residue on my dash and windshield, which easily wiped off with auto dash cleaner. I do caution against overtightening the knobs as this can strip out the plastic screws. If you leave the device in the heat of your car, the 360-degree ball will heat up and cause the magnetic head to expand. This will cause the fit to loosen within the locking ball joint. For a while, you can loosen the locking nut, replace the ball into the locking ring and replace the locking ring. Eventually, like other devices I have tested, the heat will break the ball joint lock. I was pleased with the strength of the magnetic attachment but wish that the locking joints were more robust. Luckily the prices are not unreasonable.
Originally published at macsources.com on June 7, 2018.