Satechi SCH-121 Cup Holder Mount for Smartphones & Tablets review:

Satechi SCH-121 Cup Holder Mount for Smartphones & Tablets

The much larger tablet mount also has a pair of ratcheting and extending arms that can accommodate a device up to 9.8 inches wide -- appropriate for nearly every 7- to 10-inch tablet on the market. I tested it with the Apple iPad, the Kindle Fire, and the Google Nexus 7.

Satechi SCH-121
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Even small tablets like the Kindle Fire proved to be obstructions to our test car's shifter. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The usefulness of the Satechi Cup Holder mount will depend almost entirely on the location and stability of your vehicle's cup holders. For example, our 2007 Chevrolet Aveo test car has fold-out cup holders upon which the Satechi system was never able to gain stable purchase. The next car we tested was a 2013 Acura ILX that featured center-console cupholders. This location proved stable enough for smartphones, but the larger tablets interfered with operation of the shifter. It's my opinion that this system would work best with console-mounted cupholders that sit forward of an automatic transmission's shifter.

Additionally, I found that the Satechi Cup Holder mount worked well (possibly better) in the back seat. Rear passengers in vehicles with centrally located cup holders can take advantage of this mounting system's ability to hold a tablet stable by watching video or accessing apps during long road trips.

Satechi SCH-121
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Larger tablets, such as the Apple iPad, are probably best used from the rear seats. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

In sum
Mounting a smartphone in a cup holder has its pros and cons. Depending on the nature of your car's cup holders, the phone or tablet can be positioned where it's not a visual distraction in your line of sight, but is still accessible. However, in many cars, the cup holders' locations can place the phone in awkward positions. Larger tablets can even interfere with the shifter, making it difficult even to shift into drive.

However, this system's usefulness as the base for an impromptu rear-seat entertainment center came as a pleasant surprise and makes the back seat, in my opinion, the best place to use this mount.

The Satechi Cup Holder Mount regularly retails for $49.99, but it is possible to find the kit for as low as $39.99. I'd like to see this smartphone- and tablet-mounting kit broken into two less expensive kits, one for smartphones and one for tablets. Because you can't use the tablet and smartphone mounts at the same time, I think for most users one of the device cradles will just be collecting dust in a drawer somewhere anyway.

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