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MOBILE EXTRAS

 

INTRO

Pamper your portable, hug your handset and mollycoddle your mobile with this month’s roundup of essential extras. Rick Maybury has the details...

 

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HAMA HANDLEBAR HOLDER £40

Here’s something that will give the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents kittens; a mobile phone mounting bracket for bicycles and motorcycles! The prospect of thousands of wobbly cyclists -- motorised or otherwise -- attempting to use their mobile phones whilst weaving in and out of traffic is too horrible to contemplate, but it’s such a great idea we thought we’d tell you all about it anyway.

 

It comes from Hama, who have combined a handlebar mounting bracket with one of their Mobilsafe holders. These holders cover virtually every phone ever made, so there should be no problems finding one to fit your handset. The mounting bracket is fairly easy to fit, and there’s enough leeway in the adjustment to accommodate the largest and smallest diameter handlebars.

 

The first step is to wrap the steel mounting band around the handlebar and thread it through a slot in the two-part bracket moulding (we’re telling you this because the instructions are in German...). Then, with the hex key supplied, tighten the two screws until it firmly grips the handlebar. Next, screw the adjustable mounting head to the bracket, remembering to fit the red quick-release/locking clip in between. The base plate slides in and out of a slot in the mounting bracket, and the sleeved Mobilsafe holder attaches to the base plate. This phone (in its holder), can be released by pressing a button on the side of the base plate. So far so good?

 

Actually it’s all quite straightforward, though we have to say it’s somewhat over-engineered. For example, when you remove the phone from the handlebar bracket you have to take the base plate and Mobilsafe holder with you, otherwise they’ll be pinched. They both add considerably to the bulk of the phone -- together they’re almost 3-inches thick -- and it will put some funny-looking bulges in your tight cycling shorts. It would have been much better to do away with the thick and largely superfluous base plate, and just fit the holder to the mounting bracket instead.

 

Nevertheless the quality of manufacture is very good, and once fitted, the mounting bracket would be almost impossible for a casual thief to pinch. It provides a safe and secure platform for a phone; our only reservation is that it will encourage a few nut-cases to try and use their phones whilst on the move. It’s dangerous enough out there already, with all those four-wheeled lunatics trying to steer, change gear and hold their phones at the same time...

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price     £24.99  (mounting kit), £14.99 (Mobilsafe adaptor)

Features           phone mounting bracket for bicycles and motor cycles, mopeds etc. Detachable ‘Mobilsafe’ adaptor/holder  

To fit                 most types of two-wheeled machine and mobile phones

Contact Hama, telephone (01256) 708110

 

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT   90%

 

KONDOR SUEDE CASE £30

It’s barely a year since we ran Britain’s first ever authoritative, in-depth survey on cellphone cases and pouches (we really must try and get out more often...). Back then we bemoaned the fact that they were mostly boring little black bags, now look at them! Since then we’ve seen coloured leather cases, cases made of rubber and plastic, hard cases, soft cases, big ones, small ones some as big as your hat... Now, here’s got a range of coloured suede cases from Kondor. The options are cherry-red, dark green, ivory, navy-blue and of course tan, to match your Hush-Puppies.

 

Suede is very tactile, soft and it smells nice, but is it the right material for a rough-tough cellphone case?  The suede on these cases has been backed with a nylon material, that gives it as much strength as leather, in any case the areas and edges that are prone to abrasion are well protected by dark-coloured piping. Kondor have cases designed to fit most popular makes and model of phone; they all have elasticated sides, to accommodate phones with larger heavy-duty batteries and a Velcro-fasted top flap, to stop the handset falling out. On the back there’s a covered steel belt clip and detachable wrist strap. The stitching -- in a contrasting thread -- is neat and tidy, with no loose ends. Microphone, earphone, ringer and accessory socket holes were all in the right places. The transparent front panels are made of a thickish, heavy-grade plastic and when new there’s not a lot of give. On some keyboards, where the buttons are very close together, some care may be needed to avoid activating adjacent keys.

 

They’re well designed and finished, the quality is good. Kondor are particularly proud of the fact that they use a high-grade Italian suede, with full colour penetration. (Apparently the colouring doesn’t go as deep on lesser suedes; you learn something every day...). Suede is a most agreeable material, and it looks good on a cellphone. Maybe it’s not an everyday sort of case; suede scuffs easily and the lighters colours will mark, but if you’re looking for something different -- maybe for that special occasion -- or a case to co-ordinate with your desert-boots then check these out.  

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price     £29.50

Features           coloured suede cases. available in dark green tan, ivory, cherry red and navy blue. Belt clip and detachable wrist strap, Velcro fastening for top flap.

To fit                 most popular makes and models

Contact Kondor, telephone 01425 276644

           

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT   82%

 

GRM HIGH CAPACITY BATTERY £30

Yes, it’s a cellphone battery, and no, it doesn’t do anything terribly interesting or unusual, but it is very reasonably priced, and not too bulky. It’s a high capacity pack for Motorola Micro TACs and Flips, rated at 1700mA/h and selling for under £30.  Furthermore, it’s no fatter or heavier than many 1200mA/h packs. We ran it through our regular battery performance checks. The first couple of cycles were a little disappointing but after a deep discharge it performed reasonably well, giving 6 hours on a high-demand cycle (equivalent to using the phone for four five-minute calls every hour) and 10 hours on the low demand cycle (two five minute calls an hour). Incidentally, don’t confuse these figures with normal operational running times, they’re benchmark tests we’ve devised to assess battery capacity. In the real world those kind of performance figures would mean a whole day’s heavy usage, with capacity to spare. All in all it’s worth considering

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price     £29.95

Features           it’s cheap!

To fit                 Micro TAC & Flip phones

Contact GRM, telephone (01253) 773177

 

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT   82%

 

AICO UNIVERSAL SHOULDER HOLSTER, £30

Shoulder holsters would probably be a lot more popular, were it not for the ribald comments they seem to elicit. ‘Oi James Bond, show us yer weapon’, is one of the funnier ripostes... In fact they’re eminently practical, keeping your phone safe and warm, and ready for action, though some of the bolder designs are quite obviously meant to be a fashion statement. Now Aico have come up with a shoulder holster that combines practicality and utility with a more conservative image.

 

The phone pouch is stitched to the back of a zippered wallet, that has a couple of pockets and loops for pens and things. The pouch has elasticated sides and is big enough for most small to medium-sized handsets. It’s held in place by a couple of security straps, fastened together by Velcro pads. In fact it’s not too dissimilar to a wallet/holster we saw a few months back, even the price, at £30 is the same, but there are differences, including the snazzy elasticated straps, which actually look like one half of a pair of braces. The holster has two fiendishly tight trouser grippers, one attached to the bottom of the wallet; the other one is on the end of a Y-shaped harness. The straps are a reasonable length and our 6-foot plus holster-tester had no difficulty with this design (others have been rather tight). It is very discrete, the straps can be worn so that the holster remains  completely out of sight, under a jacket, providing you can resist the urge to do 007 impressions...  It’s well made, the price is okay and one size fits all. We rather like it!

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price     £29.95

Features           shoulder holster with zippered wallet, credit card pockets and pen holder. Velcro safety strap, snazzy straps

To fit                 most popular small-medium sized phones models           

Contact Aico International, telephone  (01635) 49797

 

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT   92%

 

 

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Ó R. Maybury 1996 0105

 


 

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