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TackForm Steady Clip Universal Mount review: Grippy dashboard clip holds phones and phablets

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MSRP: $34.99

The Good The TackForm Steady Clip Universal Mount's spring-loaded arm holds handsets as wide as 4 inches. The tacky gel suction cup holds tightly to most smooth surfaces.

The Bad The clip doesn't hold as tightly as other TackForm models do. The bigger clip takes up more space on the dashboard.

The Bottom Line The TackForm Steady Clip Universal Mount holds most phones securely in the car, but its large grip is best suited for massive phablets.

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7.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8

Review Sections

The major difference between the TackForm Steady Clip and the previously reviewed TackForm C-Fit is the way that the two mounting systems hold your phone.

The Steady Clip uses a sort of spring-loaded grip that you open and close by squeezing a pair of levers on the back of the clip. The Steady Clip can hold much larger devices than the C-Fit can, expanding to hold devices up to 4 inches wide. If you're using your Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or are planning to use the upcoming Galaxy Mega to navigate, the Steady Clip is up to the task of holding your handset in place. I tried to cram a Google Nexus 7 in there; it obviously didn't fit.

Because of its design, the Steady Clip can also close its grips completely to hold products that are narrower than the C-Fit's 2.2-inch minimum -- which is great if you're still carrying a Nokia 3310 around.

Because it has levers to open its jaws with, the Steady Clip is easier to get your phone into and out of than the C-Fit (or the mechanically identical Bracketron Mi-T Grip), but it does require two hands to do so.

Steady Clip with Samsung phablet
Even the massive Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was held tidily by the Steady Clip's padded grip. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The trade-off for the Steady Clip's wider range and easier access is that it doesn't seem to hold devices between its rubber grip pads as well as the C-Fit does. I was able to shake my Galaxy Nexus free by holding the mount by its base and shaking vigorously. To be fair, that's more G-force than the average phone will experience when suction-cupped to your car's dashboard or windshield; so as long as you don't run your car into a tree at 45mph or navigate around a racetrack at breakneck speeds, the Steady Clip's grip on your phone is probably strong enough.

Like the rest of the TackForm lineup, the Steady Clip has a suction cup at the base that is made of a tacky, semiadhesive gel that can stick to most solid surfaces in its own right. This stickiness combined with the suction generated by locking the TackForm gel suction cup in place with a lever resulted in a remarkably strong grip on whatever surface I mounted it on. This is a boon for keeping a smartphone secured and stable while driving, but it can also be a tad difficult (though not impossible) to remove between trips.

The tacky material has a tendency to pick up lint and dirt when the mount is stored or transported without a cover, so the Steady Clip is probably best left, semipermanently, in place in your vehicle between trips, rather than being repeatedly placed and removed like a conventional suction cup mount. If the grip does get dirty and lose its stickiness, it can be cleaned with soapy water and a wet cloth. When the cup dries, it will be sticky again.

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