Review of iBolt xProDock for Samsung w/lots of pics!!!Tips


  1. twister6

    twister6 Guides Guide

    This is a review of iBolt xProDock car mount for Samsung Galaxy smart phones (Note 2, S3, S4): iBolt.co - Stay connected with your world.

    After reviewing close to half a dozen of different car mounts, I thought I was done. They all typically have suction cup base and phone mount attached to it, with different variations of the mount/grip mechanism. Very straight forward stuff. I heard about iBolt, but never had a chance to review it in the past thinking it will be just another car mount variation. But with a number of people asking me about which car mount to use with Zerolemon extended battery, I started to research more about mounts capable to accommodate cases up to Defender size which also offer the best vibration-free support. Everything pointed to iBolt. What I didn't realize is that although priced at $39.95 which is higher than most of the car mounts - you get so many additional bonuses that it takes this car dock into a totally different category I would refer to as "smart car dock".

    So lets start with suction cup base. This one is a standard piece with a new type of sticky-gel base that helps it being attached to textured area and some uneven surfaces. It's a new trend with a lot of premium car mounts, and I have demonstrated in pictures below it sticks upside down and sideways to textured surface without any problem. What I did like is an honest warning included with the instruction card about possibility of leaving an indent on soft leather or soft textured material dashboards. I have experienced that before with another brand, and wish I would have been informed ahead of time about it. The base has a standard universal ball joint mount so it's interchangeable.

    Now to the mount itself. It a 3 contact point mount with two expendable rest feet at the bottom (will extend to a depth accommodating Zerolemon battery/case without a problem) and spring loaded latch in the middle at the top. I found the grip to be tight enough to hold the phone in landscape mode very sturdy, no wobbling or vibration. It is possible to use one hand to insert the phone by pushing it on the latch to expand it and sliding the phone in to rest on the support feet. To remove it, I had to use both hands. This 3-point support configuration with back plate not covering the entire back of the phone allows the camera to be open so you can use it as a dash cam. Also, due to universal joint connection, you can obviously rotate the mount 360 deg and tilt it to adjust to a better viewing angle. The quality of material didn't feel flimsy at all, and I hardly experienced any flex.

    At this point I would be done with my review for a typical car dock, but iBolt provides you with a number of valuable surprises. First of all you get so called "charging arm" which is a flexible short piece of micro-usb male-to-female cable that secures in the back of the mount with cable wrapping around any side to be plugged into the phone. You can position it facing right or left, and with flexibility of the cable you can bend it at any angle. The cable is heavy duty, no need to worry about pumping 2A of current. Next you get 9ft (yeah, 9 feet!!!) of heavy duty charging/auxiliary cable to connect to your car charger and to extract audio output from HDMI interface. A lot of car stereos support bluetooth interface but for phone connection only. Audio output from the phone is not support. I learned it a hard way a week ago when my Sirius receiver unit (routed to car stereo) start acting up and I wasn't able to stream my audio from the phone. I had to use my little Anker bluetooth speaker connected to a phone which caused a conflict since it wanted to connect to both phone and audio while car head unit was fighting over phone connection. With this setup, I don't even have to power up bt speaker. Just use aux cable to connect to aux-in of the speaker and listen to streaming audio from my phone that way. This cable itself is high quality for sure. And if that wasn't enough, iBolt offers it's own custom dashboard app for driving. Very highly configurable app; I captured various setup screens for you to get an idea of it's flexibility. You can use it without iBolt dock, but with xPro dock as soon as you plug it in - you can have it start automatically and trigger certain evens like toggling BT or WiFi. I did have a small issue with my Note 2, when plugged in it was turning my display off requiring me to press Power button on the phone twice for it to come up. So, I need to investigate it further. I have seen on the Play market, iBolt guys constantly working on this app updates and resolving different compatibility issues.

    Overall, this car dock turned out to be full of surprises. I found it to be a great value considering all the extra bonuses with included cables and capability to support Note 2 with large cases, including Zerolemon battery with it's TPU case (although spring loaded latch with it's rubber lining did put some marking on TPU case, but those were hardly noticeable and easy to wipe off). So for anybody who is on a road a lot and in need of a decent sturdy car mount with flexibility of audio output for streaming and included quality charging cable - iBolt xPro Dock deserves a serious consideration.

    Here are the pictures.

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  2. Caloy

    Caloy Well-Known Member

    How's the arm holding the dock into position in 100+ degree heat? I found that kidigi would let the dock face go down at Texas summer temperatures, this is true even if I tightened it as hard as I could.

    Sent using the force
  3. twister6

    twister6 Guides Guide

    I will let you know once Jersey gets up to 100+ ;)

    This is just a common mounting base with universal ball joint. Under weight and constant vibration you will experience some wear, and with heat plastic will get softer over time. Pretty much everybody, except for iOttie, implements the same mount setup. With iOttie it's different, but their grip sides can't hold Note 2 with bigger case and obviously you will not get any of these bonus cables.
    Caloy likes this.
  4. NeoGrandizer

    NeoGrandizer Well-Known Member

    Thanks for another great review. I was about to order the OEM Samsung one, but then noticed this was on sale for a little cheaper where I'm at. Hopefully this will fit the ball jointed Garmin Friction Mount. Easier to move between vehicles and stow away when not in use.
  5. twister6

    twister6 Guides Guide

    Garmin ball joint mount has become universal standard :)
    NeoGrandizer likes this.
  6. NeoGrandizer

    NeoGrandizer Well-Known Member

    Nice mount. Fits the Garmin ball jointed friction mount very well and still allow adjustments. Haven't fully tested it out yet, just plunked it on a table to see how it looked. Anyways, it's going to my brother (got it for his birthday).

    Unfortunately, I'm not too thrilled about the flexible 'rigid' USB cord. Even molded, I found it stressed the USB connection port on the Note II. That's using it with the Otterbox Commuter case. I can see the cable and port connection already angled out of the port by a very small margin. It's not flat straight in. I was actually scared that I damaged the port while trying it out. I tried multiple different ways of molding it, but I found the cord to be too short and it also slightly pops off the connector in the back of the mount. Although a nice idea, it doesn't work well. Maybe if it was a little longer, I wouldn't have an issue with it.

    Besides that, everything else looks good.
  7. twister6

    twister6 Guides Guide

    I didn't see that as a problem since I was able to "mold it", but you can replace it with this $4 solution: Amazon.com: Motorola Micro USB SKN6258 Adapter for RAZR2 V8 Q9m V9: Cell Phones & Accessories

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    I have been using this right-angled micro-usb adapter from Motorola since last December - high quality stuff and full speed charging!!!
  8. Caloy

    Caloy Well-Known Member

    Well it open car mode automatically?

    Sent using the force
  9. twister6

    twister6 Guides Guide

    It will. That's what I'm using right now. Since I'm still trying to figure out best placement of xProDock in my car, for now I'm using my old setup with this Motorola right angle adapter and iBolt charging/audio cable. As soon as you connect it, car mode starts right away. Btw, I don't know what happened before when I had to hit power button twice. Now, everything is working!!! I absolutely love that app!!! You don't need any iBolt hardware to run that app, it's free anyway. So even for those who have their own car mount setup, I highly recommend to get that iBolt free app.
    Caloy likes this.
  10. NeoGrandizer

    NeoGrandizer Well-Known Member

    I wish I had luck with the app. I've been experiencing what some other Note 2 users have been experiencing. Launching the app turns the screen off and makes the device unresponsive to anything. Home, capactive buttons don't work (dead). Tapping the screen does nothing. I have to hit the power button a couple times to get my lock screen up. Then launch an app shortcut off the lock screen, go to task manager and kill it. :(

    Uninstalling and reinstalling didn't help. Clearing out the cache had no effect. Rebooting the phone, powering off and on; still have the issue.

    Definitely going to talk to iBOLT support about it. When I have more free time to experiment, I'll boot my Note 2 in safe mode and see if the app works. If it works in safe mode, then I know some app or setting is conflicting with it.
  11. NeoGrandizer

    NeoGrandizer Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the suggestion. I've tried molding it the best possible way without stressing anything, but it means shifting the phone off centre on the mount to have it work. I have issues with it when centering it on the mount. No matter what I try, I see stress being applied on cord, mount and/or phone connector. If the cord had been a little longer, it wouldn't be an issue. Maybe it's just me.

    I'll probably just use a regular cable anyways. :p
  12. twister6

    twister6 Guides Guide

    Oh shoot, I forgot. When I complained about the app, they sent me their pre-release updated APK to install and try it out. That's why its working :) Email them for sure. They have a new version that's going to hit Google Play soon, and it actually works!!!
    Mikestony likes this.
  13. Dodgy1

    Dodgy1 Member

    I know this is an old thread but I have only just found it!! Did the app that comes with the dock have any sort of dash cam included?? Cheers
  14. twister6

    twister6 Guides Guide

    Sorry, no dash cam.
  15. Dodgy1

    Dodgy1 Member

    Even so a damn good holder for my phone....I've ordered one :) I'll look for an app for the dash cam ...Cheers
  16. onemat

    onemat Well-Known Member

    HI Twister6,
    Thanks for the review...
    Did the software problem causing the the screen to go dark get fixed? I ordered this dock and expect to receive it tomorrow.
    Matt
  17. twister6

    twister6 Guides Guide

    Absolutely, that got fixed right away. I actually don't use this dock anymore, I went back to my Arkon slim grip ultra, but I do USE the app everyday in conjunction with their cable. The app is free and can be used with any android phone, and the cable once plugged in starts their app automatically. As a matter of fact, they sell this cable separately and it gets my recommendation even as a standalone purchase.
    Mikestony likes this.
  18. onemat

    onemat Well-Known Member

    Thanks Twister...
  19. onemat

    onemat Well-Known Member

    Got my dock and it's an real good.one. One thing..The audio wire is not working. Is this because the Note 2 does not have HDMI out or is the a setting I'm missing?
    Thanks
    Matt
  20. gbsa

    gbsa Well-Known Member

    Audio for the phone function or media? Samsung as far as I know blocked the phone function through the usb connection. There should be intructions inside the box that will tell you what settings you have to enable for the media to work
    Mikestony likes this.
  21. onemat

    onemat Well-Known Member

    Audio would be both media and phone audio... basically everything that comes out of the earphone jack.
  22. twister6

    twister6 Guides Guide

    Yeah, install the app and follow instructions. I think it's part of that Dock setting with HDMI audio setup (select stereo). It will set audio over hdmi through micro-usb power port connector.

    ... not sure about phone and media audio since I have phone paired up with my car stereo for phone audio, while media output comes out of 3.5mm cable through that iBolt setup.
    onemat and Mikestony like this.
  23. onemat

    onemat Well-Known Member

    Thanks gbsa & Twister. I found the settings and will try it again. The response from folks on this forum is fanstastic!
    Mikestony likes this.
  24. onemat

    onemat Well-Known Member

    OK, that worked. I have media playing through the stereo. I took an incoming call and the ringer works through the stereo but not the call itself. Looking at the instruction card it clearly says call audio will not play on your radio. This is a big disappointment for me as my vehicles, especially my Vanagon which is air cooled are noisy. The only way around that is to plug a regular audio cable into the headphone jack and then into aux in on the stereo, so I can use that method for audio when I need too. Perhaps Ibolt or Samsung will find a way to get phone call audio to run through the HDMI jack.
    Matt
  25. NeoGrandizer

    NeoGrandizer Well-Known Member

    It has to be Samsung that fixes this (which I doubt they will). It's a Samsung thing.

    Yeah, the black screen was a pain to deal with. It had to deal with profile managers having the ability to set the screen brightness to 0. I reported that to them and they immediately fixed it right away when they were able to replicate the issue.

    The real kicker about this bug was Samsung was aware of it and only certain regions got this official firmware fix while others did not. So Samsung is finicky at best when dealing with firmware fixes and updates.
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