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Lightweight smartphone mount clips to vehicle vents

The Kenu Airframe features a minimal design, and clips to a vehicle's air vents for legal smartphone mounting.

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

With some states making suction-cup mounts on a car's windshield illegal, an air-vent mount for a smartphone works as a good alternative, with the advantage that vents are in easy reach of the driver. Kenu's Airframe takes advantage of the vent mounting and features a minimal design.

Kenu Airframe

Kenu Airframe


The Airframe consists of an expandable bracket with a rubber four-point grip on the back. At less than an ounce, it's easy to carry around, yet its plastic and metal construction give it a solid feel. In black and gray, it will sit unobtrusively on the vents in most cars. Unlike suction-cup mounts, the grip for the Airframe makes this vent mount very small and portable.

The bracket expands from a 2 1/4-inch interior width to 3 1/8-inches, fitting an iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S5 easily. The rubber grip on the back of the bracket twists to allow different mounting orientations.

Kenu Airframe clips a phone to your car's air vent (pictures)

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Slipping the Airframe onto a driver-side vent in a car, the grips fit firmly on one of the fins. Despite the stiff bracket spring, I was able to snap an iPhone 5 into place with one hand. The weight of the phone and mount immediately caused the vent to point downwards, although I could still see the screen just fine.

Turning the grip on the back of the bracket takes so much force that trying to change the orientation of the phone by twisting it would have broken the car's vent. I found that it worked best to twist the grip while it wasn't mounted to the car. However, the four points of the grip make it easy to switch the phone between portrait and landscape mode by simply repositioning it on the vent.

The placement on the vent turned out to be very convenient when running navigation, and I could easily activate Siri for making music selections.

Trying to remove my phone from the mount with one hand, the tight bracket spring caused the whole mount to come off the vent, ultimately making the process a two-handed operation.

I tested the Airframe out in mild weather, so did not need to crank up the climate control. However, I think it would be advisable to close the vent to which the Airframe is attached. Blasting heat or cold air right at your phone won't do it any favors.

At $24.95 in the US and £19.99 in the UK, Kenu's Airframe costs a bit more than other vent mounts that can be found online. I liked the vent mounting position, as it put my phone within easy reach. The tight bracket made removing my phone inconvenient, as I had to pull the mount off the phone then replace the mount on the vent.