What Cellphone






Hereís some more interesting and unusual accessories, add-ons and gadgets for mobile phone users




Hama MobilSafe Dashboard Holder, £40

You may recall that we looked at Hamaís MobilSafe talk and charge power adaptor back in the October issue. We said at the time that it was a good idea, and we liked the mounting bracket, but at £120 we felt it was a touch expensive. Now however, you can get the mounting bracket on its own, for only £40


The bracket comes in two parts, a holder that slips around the phone, and the actual mounting bracket. The bracket bolts to the carís dashboard, it comes supplied with a fixing kit and mounting instructions. When not in use the phone clips on to a pair of moulded hooks on the bracket, and locks into place. The phone can only be released by pressing a button on the side, which is a useful security feature, and prevents it from being snatched.


As we noted in the earlier review, the release button is on the right side of the bracket. It has clearly been designed for left-hand drive cars, which makes it a little awkward to use in this country, at least until you get used to it. Hama tell us theyíve asked their German factory to design a right-hand drive version but so far without success. Itís sturdily built, easy to fit and a whole lot safer than leaving your phone on the dashboard or seat. If you want to use it with a car cord -- they cost around £30 -- you could actually save yourself a few bob.



Typical price: £40

Features: car cradle with quick release handset lock

To fit: Nokia 2110, Motorola 8200, Flare 6200, Ericsson EH337, Sony CMD200 and CMDX1000.

Telephone: Hama UK (01256) 708110



ORA Coloured Cases

Ora have added a welcome dash of colour to their extensive range of cellphone cases. Three colours are available, green, tan brown and blue (as well as original black) and theyíre all made from a soft, supple leather. The sides are elasticated, to accommodate phones fitted with larger, high capacity battery packs. On the front thereís a clear see-through panel for the display and on the back thereís a spring steel belt clip and detachable wrist strap. The current range covers the most popular phones, with more to follow. The samples weíve seen are a good, snug fit, holes and openings for buttons, sockets and earpieces are all in the right places. The quality of manufacture and finish are both very good, no loose ends or wonky seams, but best of all is the price. Until now coloured cases have cost significantly more than plain black ones, Ora have pitched theirs at the budget end of the market and should be selling for between £15 to £20.



Typical price: £15 to £20

Features: coloured leather case, elasticated sides, Velcro fastening, spring-steel belt hook, detachable wrist strap

Colours available: green, blue and brown

To fit: Nokia 2110/2140, Ericsson EH237/GH337/PH337, Motorola Micro Tac series, Orange MR1/ Mercury One-2-One M300/M301

Telephone  (01296) 415445



Dashmount Carphone Bracket, £20 or less

Having a carphone or hands-free kit fitted to your car usually involves drilling several holes in the dashboard or centre-console for the mounting bracket. Thatís not a problem, until you sell or exchange the car. When the phone mount is removed the mounting holes will be exposed. Apart from spoiling the look of the fascia it could have a detrimental effect on the carís resale value.


The Dashmount Carphone bracket is designed to overcome that problem, by using the carís existing dashboard or console fixings. Dashmount was developed in Norway, where it is also manufactured. To date the company have designed over 300 different types of bracket, to fit most popular makes of car, van and truck. Each bracket comes with specific mounting instructions, which take into account important safety considerations, such as the location of wiring and airbags, moreover the brackets conform to the strict Scandinavian safety regulations, which amongst other things states that the phone must be located within the drivers field of vision.


The brackets are manufactured from spring steel and are pre-drilled, to fit most types of cradle and holder. As an added bonus the bracket is often quicker and easier to fit than conventional bolt-on mounts, though this will vary according to the make of vehicle involved. Definitely worth considering if youíre having a phone fitted to your car, particularly if youíre concerned about its appearance and resale value.



Typical price: £20 or less

Features: Ďno-holeí carphone/hands-free kit mounting bracket

To fit: over 300 different cars, vans and trucks

Telephone Connoisseur Products, 0181 948 0067



Autopult Mobile Desk, £44

The concept of a mobile office is all very well, but if the office happens to be inside your car, then you will be only too aware that desk-space is somewhat limited, not to say non-existent in most models. The Autopult Mobile Desk might be one solution. It hangs on to the top of the steering wheel and folds out to form a flat and reasonably stable platform, approximately 230 x 250mm. Thatís large enough for a laptop computer, your dinner or anything else you care to put on it. It has been quite well thought out;  thereís a gripper for papers and documents on the back board, and moulded indents on the Ďdeskí for pens and a beverage cup. It is made from grey-coloured heavy-duty ABS plastic and it feels pretty strong, it certainly had no trouble with the heavy notebook PC we plonked on it.


Unfortunately the position of the shelf is not adjustable and on some cars this could mean the keyboard sits at an uncomfortable height or angle; taller (and fatter) people might find the desk sticks into their stomach, it has clearly been designed for a notional average vehicle and user. The manufacturer also seems to think their customers are incredibly stupid, thereís no less than three warning notices moulded into the plastic, pointing out that the desk should not be used when driving... Itís a good idea but a bit pricely for what it is. Make sure you try it first though, firstly to make sure it fits securely on the wheel of your car, and if you do use it with a PC, that itís at a comfortable height and angle.



Typical price: £44

Features: folds flat for easy storage, document holder, recesses for pens and a drinks cup

Weight: 1.1kg

Telephone: SIS UK, (01793) 480808



Magellan GPS 2000, £200

Itís probably not something most people living in this country need to think about very often, but sometimes it can be very useful to know precisely where you are, where youíve been, and how to get to where youíre going. For some people that kind of information is vital, it could even be a matter of life or death for hill-walkers, mountaineers, boating enthusiasts, in fact anyone involved in a wide range of outdoor activities.


An experienced map-reader with a compass and an Ordinance Survey map could probably plot their position to with a few metres, but it would take time, and ultimately depend on visible landmarks. But what happens when it gets dark, or visibility is poor, or youíre not in the UK and you donít have a map? A few years ago the US Department of Defense (DoD) sought to address this very problem. They developed a military navigation system called GPS or the Global Positioning System, that uses a series of satellites into a low Earth orbit. Each satellite transmits encrypted timing signals which, when picked up on a specially designed receivers, are used to give a precise 3D fix showing both position and elevation. The satellites actually broadcast two sets of signals: PPS codes that are intended for the military, and the SPS (standard positioning service) codes, which are for civilian use.


That brings us to the Magellan GPS 2000, a small hand-held GPS receiver, no larger than a typical mobile phone. It can tell you where you are on or above the planet, day or night, to within 25 metres or less. In fact accuracy could be a lot better but the DoD deliberately introduce errors into the SPS codes, to maintain the military advantage. Civilian GPS receivers have been around for a few years, but what makes the GPS 2000 special is the price, and compact size. Military spec receivers cost several thousand dollars apiece (not that you could buy one); the GPS 2000 sells for less than £200. Okay, so itís not as accurate, but then most people wonít be using it for directing artillery shells or bomb aiming, and whatís a few metres here or there when youíre really lost?


The GPS 2000 does a lot more than just show you where you are, though. Every ten minutes it automatically stores the current position in its memory, fixes or Ďlandmarksí can also be stored manually, building up a record of the route followed. This can be displayed visually, as data, or as a series of plots. It gets better. If you want to return to a specified landmark the GPS2000 will show you the bearing and direction you need to take, along with a Course Deviation Indicator (CDI) that graphically shows how far you are deviating from the ideal route. It also shows the time, true or magnetic north, even the position and status of the GPS satellites.


By now youíre probably wondering what possible relevance this device could have to cellphone users? Many people engaged in outdoor activities take their mobile phones along with them, in the belief that if they get lost, they can easily summon help. Unfortunately, the places youíre most likely to get lost in are the least densely populated and liable to have very poor cellular coverage, if at all. In such a situation a cellphone will do you no good, whereas the GPS2000 will be able to show you the way home, wherever you happen to be.



Typical price: £200

Features: Global Positioning Service receiver, showing precise longitude, latitude, elevation and time, 100-landmark memory, route display, backtrack, satellite position, course deviation indicator, position plotter display

Telephone: Next Destination Ltd., (01722) 410800




R. Maybury 1995 1511



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