iPad your car with the Backstage Pro

An iPad can be the perfect rear-seat entertainment source, and Scosche makes a useful mount to put one in place. Here, CNET shows a hands-on demonstration of how to install the Backstage Pro.

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
2 min read
Josh Miller/CNET

Rear-seat entertainment systems often run more than $1,000 for a factory-installed system, yet many people find a $500 iPad works just as well. The Scosche Backstage Pro works as a rear-seat mount for iPads.

The Backstage Pro clamps on to the front-seat headrest posts, with the iPad holder facing the rear-seat occupant. The package includes a long cord that can connect the Backstage Pro to a 12-volt outlet in the car, keeping the iPad charged while in use.

The iPad holder and the mount make up the two major pieces of the Backstage Pro, with the holder sliding easily into place on the mount. This is a smart arrangement for a couple of reasons. First, it makes clamping the mount to the headrest posts easier, because the holder is out of the way. Second, once installed, the holder can easily be taken out of the car, leaving the unobtrusive mount in place.

Scosche Backstage Pro
The mount's clamps require a hex wrench, included with the kit. Josh Miller/CNET

Getting the mount clamped requires an included hex wrench and a minimum amount of cursing. The main difficulty lies in holding the mount up while simultaneously threading the hex bolt. Screwed into place in a Ford Edge, the mount felt very solid. As it is clamped to the headrest posts, it will impinge on efforts to adjust the headrest. It also will not work in a car with a single post for the headrest.

The iPad slides into one side of the holder, then the holder slides onto the mount through a simple groove and tongue attachment. Again, the mount and holder fit together solidly, and there is a small degree of tilt adjustment possible.

But in our testing of this mount, the iPad never felt perfectly well-seated in the holder. Although it didn't feel in danger of randomly falling out of the holder, it had a little rattle room around it.

Scosche Backstage Pro
With the iPad holder removed, the mount remains clamped in place. Josh Miller/CNET

The power cord plugs into the side of the mount, so it can be left in place as well. Scosche makes the wire thin and long enough that it could be run under carpet and seats to a 12-volt power point in a car, remaining hidden and out of the way.

The iPad holder has a button on one end that is supposed to function as the iPad's center button. Because our iPad did not seat well in the holder, the button did not work consistently.

At about $150, the Backstage Pro may seem expensive, but it costs quite a bit less than traditional rear-seat entertainment systems, and is easier to install. It seems like a good solution for parents who frequently hand off their iPads to their kids in the back seat. But unlike traditional rear-seat entertainment, the parent also cannot control what is being shown on the iPad, which would mainly be a problem when babies or very young children, who can't use the iPad, are involved.

Watch this: iPad your car: Rear seat