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Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount review: This phone mount needs a bath

The Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount employs an adhesive surface, making it easy to attach and detach a phone, but the need for frequent cleaning harms the usability.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
3 min read

The trick for a good smartphone mount in the car is to make it easy to attach and detach your phone. Clingo solves this problem with an adhesive pad that is able to grip a smartphone pressed against it. Unlike standard adhesives, Clingo claims, its material will not lose its stickiness while at the same time leaving no residue on the phone.


Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount

The Good

The <b>Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount</b> makes it easy to position a phone well in a car, and it's easy to attach and detach a phone.

The Bad

The adhesive pad fails to hold a phone when it gets dirty, so it needs frequent washing.

The Bottom Line

The Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount would be an excellent smartphone mount if not for the need for frequent cleaning.

The Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount consists of the adhesive pad, a plastic arm of about 8 inches, and a suction cup. The arm hinges off the suction cup with a 150-degree arc, while a ball joint lets the pad rotate 60 degrees from the arm. The hinge for the arm has a tightening screw so it can be fixed in a single position. A paddle pulls the center of the suction cup back to help attach it to a windshield.

The plastic parts feel sturdy, although with a little force the adhesive pad comes off of its ball joint. It is easy to pop the ball joint back into place. The arm is of a good length to span most dashboards, putting the phone in an easily visible and reachable spot. The hinge and ball joint make it possible to attach the suction cup to most windshields where it will not obstruct the view of the road too much, while still allowing good phone positioning.

At about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, the adhesive pad is well-shaped to handle any smartphone in the market. The adhesive pad will attach to metal and plastic, but will not stick to rubber.

One thing the Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount lacks is any USB port pass-throughs or any hooks to channel a cable from the phone to a power point or USB port in a car.

With its paddle mechanism, it was easy to attach the suction cup firmly to a car windshield. When I drove over rough roads, the suction cup held without a problem, while the hinge and ball joint also maintained their positions without slipping.

Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount
The Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount uses an adhesive pad to hold a smartphone in place. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The adhesive pad did not work as well. Fresh from the box, the pad held a smartphone in place very well. After I removed the phone, there was no residue or any stickiness left on the phone's back, as advertised. Over a couple of weeks, the adhesive material began to feel less sticky, although pushing a phone against it still resulted in a firm-feeling hold.

When road-tested fresh out of the box, the mount held a phone firmly in place over many miles of driving. Retested after a couple of weeks, it initially held during a road test, but then the phone dropped off after just a few miles.

During the time we tested the Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount, it seemed that the adhesive pad became dirty, and lost some of its stickiness. Clingo advises simply washing it with warm water. After giving our mount a bath, I found the adhesion was restored.

The Clingo Universal Car Phone Mount initially appeared to be an excellent way to mount a smartphone in a car. It allowed good positioning for visibility and access, and it was easy to attach and detach the phone. However, the fact that the adhesive pad needs frequent washing makes it substantially less convenient, as most people probably would be loath to pull it out of the car every month to clean it.