Here’s everything you need to know about car holders — including the different mounting positions available, what features like ‘case-compatible’ or ‘portrait / landscape rotation’ mean, and how to find the right car holder for your phone.
From left to right: dashboard / windscreen, air vent, cd slot.
Dashboard and windscreen mounts are the most common; basically they’re car holders designed to cling to flat (or mostly flat) surfaces, often using suction. These mounts work well, but it’s important to find an area that allows for easy mounting and doesn’t obstruct your view of the road or your controls. Some mounts of this kind work only for the windscreen, but these are a minority.
Vent-mounted car holders cling like limpets to the heating vents in your vehicle. These can be a nice alternative as they are less likely to impair your view, and almost all vehicles include these vents in some form or another.
CD slot mounts are a relatively rare form factor, but one that makes sense. They attach around your car’s CD slot, without damaging the CD player or preventing CDs from being played. For vehicles where a slot or dashboard mount doesn’t make sense, a CD slot mount just might do the trick.
Case-compatible car holders simply offer some extra space and a degree of adjustability, to ensure that cases can be kept on when your phone is inserted into the car holder. They don’t require cases to be used, but they just keep that option open.
Charging cable compatible car holders include room for a charging cable to be inserted, so that you can use a car charger to keep your phone topped up while you’re on the road.
Car holders with portrait / landscape compatibility can rotate, allowing you to choose an orientation that makes sense for your needs. You might prefer one orientation for GPS navigation and another for music controls, and this kind of car holder lets you easily swap between the two.