iOttie’s car mounts for phones are considered by many (including the ever-reliable Wirecutter) to be some of the best around, but you know what would make them even better? Mechanized robotic arms that reach out and grab your phone for you, securely holding your phone within their cold metal embrace while you drive. Or at least, that’s the theory behind the company’s latest Auto Sense Wireless Fast Charging Car Mount, announced this year at CES 2019.
In fairness, “mechanized robotic arms” is probably overselling things just a bit: in reality, it’s basically just a servo motor that moves the arms out and then clamps them in. But iOttie has done some pretty serious engineering here for the setup: there’s a proximity sensor that automatically detects when you’re moving your phone towards the mount, which then engages the motors to open the arms and receive the device. And once the phone is placed, the arms will close without breaking your phone — they stop and lock in place when they reach the side of your phone, regardless of what size it is. To get your phone out, simply tap the button on the back of the mount and the arms will disengage, freeing your phone from its robotic prison.
Considering that you’ll need to keep the Auto Sense mount plugged into a power supply for those motors to work, iOttie also smartly included a 10W wireless charger in the mount, so you’ll be able to keep your phone charged when it’s secured in the cradle. In fact, between the motorized arms and the wireless charger, it’s basically the simplest phone mount setup that exists — just put your phone down, and it does the rest, no fiddling with buttons or wires needed. Admittedly, it clamps down a bit slower than the spring-loaded version.
The Auto Sense Wireless Fast Charging Car Mount is set to go on sale for $54.95 later this year, which may seem a bit pricey, but considering that iOttie’s regular wireless charger stand (that doesn’t have super cool motorized arms) already costs $49, the extra $5 for the motor system seems like a good deal.