Griffin AirCurve Window Mount - car holder review: Griffin AirCurve Window Mount - car holder

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Griffin AirCurve Window Mount - car holder

(Part #: GC22073)
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Griffin AirCurve Windshield Mount securely holds an iPhone 4 or 4S in place while driving. The passive amplifier boosts audio output without obstructing the dock connector.

The Bad The semipermanent mounting options can be difficult to adjust once placed and limit intervehicular portability more than a simple suction cup.

The Bottom Line The Griffin AirCurve Windshield Mount is low-tech, but high-quality, noticeably boosting the volume of a cradled iPhone's speaker.

7.7 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0

The AirCurve ships in four glossy, black parts: the dock itself, a 3.5-inch plastic arm that connects to the dock with a ball-in-socket joint, and a pair of plastic mounting clips for windshield and dashboard mounting.

The AirCurve grips the iPhone with two, spring-loaded arms, which hold the handset in place over a pair of rubber hollow contact points. Between those lower contact points is space enough to connect the iPhone's dock connector for charging. One of the contact points (left) covers the iPhone's internal microphone, allowing sound to pass to the phone unmolested. The other (right) contact funnels sound from the phone's speaker into the AirCurve's passive amplifier.

The passive amplifier is old and low-tech -- almost 135-year-old low-tech. Essentially, it works like the horn on a 19th century phonograph, accepting the sound at the narrow end of a hornlike passage, snaking through the body of the AirCurve, and channeling it out of the wide opening just to the right of the phone mount.

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One of the hollow rubber feet allows sound to pass to the microphone; the other sends speaker audio through the passive amplifier. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Griffin claims a 4x boost in speakerphone loudness and a max amplification of 25 dB. I did a before-and-after test in the quietest vehicle on hand in the Car Tech garage, the 2012 Toyota Plug-in Prius. Measurements were taken using a second phone running the Smart Tools app for Android's Sound Meter function. The bare iPhone 4S output a measured average of 56 dB. When we placed the phone in Griffin AirCurve, the measured loudness jumped to 68 dB. So the AirCurve doesn't exactly make its 25 dB loudness boost claim, but to my ear it's still substantially louder. Griffin's not just selling snake oil here -- the AirCurve really works.

The plastic arm's ball joint is simply pushed into the dock's socket after unboxing and gives a fairly good level of adjustment and rotation at that single point of articulation. Where most mounting arms for windshield mount kits have a suction cup of some sort, Griffin's AirCurve features a flat clip that's meant to work with either the dashboard mounting base or the very odd windshield cling base.

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