Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Quad Lock Out Front Bike Mount with GoPro Adapter and iPhone 6 Case: Product Review

Is that a long enough post title or what? Goes well with the long post ahead.


Today, I'm reviewing Annex's Quad Lock Out Front Mount. The GoPro Adapter is an optional accessory that I decided to get since I just got a GoPro and didn't have a bike mount for it yet. Of course, the mount is useless without their case (that link plays a video automatically, you've been warned), so I'm reviewing that too.

The Basics 

Annex has created a system of phone mounts for the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or any other phone using their Universal Adapter which sticks to the back of the phone or case using strong 3M adhesive. The cases lock into several available mounts by lining up a circular indention on the back of the case with the mount and turning the phone a quarter in either direction. Some mounts release by turning a quarter again, others you must press a tab while turning. Currently they have two bike mounts (a stem/bar mount, and the new out front mount that I am reviewing here), a run armband, a car mount that attaches to your vehicle with a suction cup, and three "life" mounts. The available "life" mounts are a belt clip, adhesive mount, and a tripod mount. They tout their products as being, "THE LIGHTEST, STRONGEST AND MOST SECURE IPHONE & GALAXY MOUNT," one of their promo videos even shows a road bike being picked up by lifting the phone attached to the mount.

The Down and Dirty

Side view of phone attached to bike via Quad Lock Out Front Mount
I want to start of by sharing what I don't like the most, which is their kit groupings and pricing. They don't currently have a kit for the Out Front Mount. Their Bike Kit includes the Stem/Bar Mount, and a phone case with "Poncho" weather protector, or a universal adapter if you don't have an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. The iPhone 6/6s kit is currently $69.95, the Galaxy S5 $59.90 (no Poncho), and the Universal Kit $39.95. Since I didn't want the Stem/Bar Mount, I had to buy pieces separately. This means paying $39.95 for the Out Front Mount, and $29.95 for the iPhone 6/6s case. That's already $70, as much as the kit, but without the $24.95 Poncho. Yes, there is a price different between the individual mounts, but it's $10, not $25. I opted to not get the Poncho. The GoPro Adapter is another $10, considering it's just a little piece of plastic and two screws, it should really be less.

Now, let's talk about each piece individually.

The Case 

Front view of phone in Quad Lock case (sorry for the poor focus)

From the front, the Quad Lock iPhone 6 case looks just like your basic black phone case. It has a soft rubber feel and has cutouts for all of the holes, though I wish there were cutout for the buttons as well, instead it has raised button covers that aren't quite sensitive enough. I really like super slim cases for my phone and while this isn't slim, it's not too bulky either, it just has a big bump on the back to lock in with the mounts. I've actually had my phone in the case for over a week straight now (I had been switching back and forth to my regular case), putting it in my pocket and everything and I haven't been annoyed by it. I feel that my phone is pretty well protected in the case as well, though the edges on the front are causing the edges of my screen protector to come loose. I definitely think this could work as an everyday case.

Back of the Quad Lock iPhone 6/6s case showing how it attaches to the mount

The Out Front Mount

Phone mounted to bike with Quad Lock Out Front Mount
An out front mount puts the phone in the perfect position for comfortable viewing on a road bike. This mount sits the phone out in front of my stem but you can also turn the mount around and have it over the stem if say you want to switch it between your road bike and mountain bike (mountain bikers tend to stay away from things that stick off the front of the bikes, their gear is safer from getting knocked around and damaged in a fall that way). It attaches to the bike with a simple screw-together clamp and comes with a rubber spacer to fit more narrow bars.

You attach the phone in the case by aligning the interlocking pieces and turning the phone a quarter turn. To release you press on the blue tab while turning. Lining up the pieces at first was a little difficult, since you're doing it blind, I wish there were some kind of mark on the edge of the case that showed where is should be facing straight to be correctly lined up with the mount. After locking in, it feels super secure, this thing isn't going anywhere until I want it to.

The first time I used the mount was on my indoor trainer. This made me realize the conveniences the mount could provide that I hadn't even thought of before. I knew that I would be able to read books through my Kindle app with the phone mounted in front of me. (By the way, you can get the Kindle App free here: Amazon.com - Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices). What I didn't think about is the other apps that would come in handy on the trainer. I normally watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video while riding indoors, since we have a Roku, I can now control what I'm watching through the Roku app on my phone. No need to hold onto the remote, or get off the bike! I can also answer texts, check email, and all other phone stuff. Note that I would never do any of those things while riding on the street and if you think you would be tempted to, just don't even use your phone as a bike computer.

One negative I noticed on the trainer, however, was a buzzing/vibrating coming from the mount. If I put my hand on the phone it would stop, it appeared to be coming from the are on the mount where the blue tab is, but I'm not 100% on that. It did not seem to be coming from the attachment to the bar. Slightly annoying, but when I'm riding on the road I don't hear it, probably because there are so many other vibrations.

My favorite feature about the Quad Lock system is the ability to quickly remove my phone, snap a picture, and put it back. There have been so many times I've had great photo opportunities on my rides but it was just inconvenient. My previous way of carrying my phone was to have it in a waterproof pouch (similar to this one) to protect it from sweat, and tucked in my jersey pocket. I could keep the phone in the pouch to take photos, but it reduced the quality. Now I can get full quality photos and have less in my pockets.

GoPro Adapter

Quad Lock Out Front Mount with GoPro attached

There's not much to say about the adapter, it is just a simple piece of plastic that attaches to the bottom side of the Out Front Mount. It puts the camera in a great position below the phone and you can change the angle up and down. I do wish it swiveled, but I wish all GoPro mounts swiveled. I would post a video from it, but my GoPro decided it didn't like me me other day. One complaint is that I have to push my cables out of the way of the camera, but I'll blame the person who installed the cables for that one, I think they could have been shorter and not stuck out so much.

Summary

 Am I finally done? I've been writing for over two hours here! Hopefully this provided some useful information about the Annex Quad Lock Out Front Bike Mount. I like it. I feel like my phone is protected in a case that could be used everyday, not just for riding, though I do wish the volume and power buttons were a little easier to press through the case. The mount puts my phone in a perfect position for viewing on my bike and keeps it securely attached and accessable. While there is a slight vibration, I don't notice it while riding on the road. The GoPro adapter is handy and simple but should be cheaper. Speaking of cheaper again, there should be a kit for the Out Front Mount, like there is for the others mounts, to get the mount, case, and poncho at a slightly lower price than getting each piece separately. Sometimes the products are on Amazon at a slightly lower price, I actually bought my case from Amazon Warehouse Deals "used." Oh and shipping took longer than expected. Their website states they try to deliver product within 2-3 business days, mine took 8.

I'm glad I purchased this product and would recommend it to anyone who wishes to use their phone to track themselves on rides. Though I'm not completely sold on the phone as bike computer deal (and it's against most triathlon rules anyway), that's a post for another time.

(Note: I have not been compensated in any way for writing this review. I purchased these products on my own and all opinions are from my own brain after using the product for over 3 weeks)

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