Cellphones in the car are a problem. Reports over the past few years have found that anything from calls to texts will probably kill you before you finish whatever it is that you’re doing. Yet until cars can catch up to today’s tech standards (if that’s every possible) no one is going to stop using their phones in the car anytime soon. The choices are limited: either keep using the phone like you would normally and end up getting pulled over eventually or worse, or stick the phone to something in the car.
The Kenu Airframe is a solution for the latter that isn’t completely awful. I’ve tested several car smartphone holders and none hold up. They fail to do so because all cars are different, and what works in one model rarely works in another. The Airframe connects to an air conditioning vent and fits most phones, not including the Galaxy Note 2 & 3, which is just too wide. Any other smartphone, like the iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, and Droid MAXX, fit in the spring-tight claw grip.
In the car however, there’s no such thing as perfect. We’ve all got our methods for handling just about anything, and with each car being as different as they are makes for a very difficult situation for phones. Yet here’s the reality: we use phones for GPS and directions, making calls, listening to and selecting audio, and plenty of illegitimate reasons too. In other words, the screen has to be easily visible, and the cupholder just won’t do. You’ll just pick it up like everyone else.
With the Airframe, that’s not an issue. All cars have similarly-shaped air conditioning vents, all of which are somewhere on the dashboard. The Airframe attaches to a vent with rubber claw that’s very tight — I haven’t managed to knock it off from driving alone. Unless you’ve got a Note, it fits just about any phone and holds on even tighter than to the car. This thing is a rock.
In fact, it grips the phone so well that six out of ten times I’ll yank the phone with the Airframe attached. That’s hardly a good thing, but if you have to pull the phone out while driving for whatever reason, it’s at least possible to put it back one-handed with the Airframe still holding on. It takes two when the Airframe is holding onto the car. It’s a worthy nuisance to have.
Because the Airframe is limited by the air conditioning vents it holds onto, if you try to plug in an audio jack, you’ll bend the Airframe out of its original placement. Little else is a bother with the small, handheld smartphone holster. iPhone 5s users may find it somewhat inconvenient because unlocking the phone with a fingerprint is harder, but that’s an Apple design implementation; anyone with a dock has the same problem.
After a few days the Kenu Airframe has made it’s home in my car. It didn’t take long at all; after I got used to leaving my iPhone sitting on the dash, it became much easier to stop grabbing and using the phone with a hand at all. I still don’t recommend using it for more complicated use while driving (I actually found it more difficult to use the iPhone with the Airframe while driving, though this could just be me adjusting to it); but if you want to view directions, change the song, or just see who’s calling without the major distraction of physically picking the phone up, the Airframe is your best bet.
Bottom Line: There still isn’t a end-all solution to using the smartphone in the car, but the Kenu Airframe is as close as anyone’s gotten. And it’s a good one.
Simple. Works on all cars. Fits almost all smartphones. Inexpensive.
Not a perfect solution, but the best one we've got so far.
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.