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

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MSRP: $49.99

The Good The Satechi SCH-121 Cup Holder Mount ships with cradles for smartphones and 7- to 10-inch tablets. When locked into place, the SCH-121 is quite stable.

The Bad The positioning arm could benefit from one more point of articulation at its base.

The Bottom Line Depending on the position and nature of your car's cup holders, the Satechi SCH-121 Cup Holder Mount is a reasonable alternative to windshield-mounting a tablet.

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7.5 Overall

The Satechi Cup Holder mount is a fairly self-explanatory device that serves one very basic function: to hold your phone or tablet in place while you drive. Why would you even want to mount a tablet in your car in the first place?

Well, for the same reasons you may want to position a phone on your dashboard. With the aid of navigation software, a tablet can be a great alternative to a standalone GPS device or in-dash navigation system. Audio-streaming software can pipe in Internet radio and podcasts. The trick is to avoid the temptation to fire up Hero Academy or Battle Bears on your next dull freeway slog.

Satechi can't help you with that last bit, but its SCH-121 Cup Holder Mount for Tablets and Smartphones can help you to keep your phone or tablet visible, accessible, and stable while you drive.

The Satechi mount sits atop a cylindrical, slightly weighted base that fits into your vehicle's cup holder. Simply dropping the base into place likely won't keep your device upright once the vehicle gets going around a good bend, so Satechi has engineered a trio of plastic blocks with rubber feet that extend from the center of this base to lock and hold the kit in place. It can take a bit of finicking to get everything lined up during your installation, but the result is a mounting point for the electronic device that can be removed with a twist when needed.

From the top of this base extends an arm that features two points of articulation: two hinge joints that unlock with the press of a button and have slightly over 180 degrees of motion. At the top of the arm is a rotating joint where the cradle connects that spins 360 degrees. The arm lacks a rotating point of articulation where it meets the base, which is what makes positioning the arm over the locked-in base slightly tricky. Again, a bit of fiddling and adjusting is necessary.

The actual mounting point locks in place at the top of all of the aforementioned hardware. The Satechi Cup Holder kit ships with two pieces of mounting hardware, one sized to hold smartphones and another for holding tablets.

Satechi SCH-121
The Satechi Cup Holder Mount ships with a smartphone mount that should fit most currently available handsets. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The smartphone mount features a pair of foam-padded ratcheting arms that release and extend at the touch of a button. The arms can grasp phones up to 3.4 inches in width, which pretty much covers every smartphone on the market. At the base of this mount are a pair of smaller arms that rotate 90 degrees downward to form a base that the smartphone can rest on.

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