Review: 10 of the best iPhone Bike Apps

Following on from my post on iPhone Bike Mounts, here is the list that I promised containing the top ten iPhone Bike Apps. Some are free, some are paid but they’re all available in the app store now and are designed to make tracking your movements and recording your progress as easy as possible, in addition, some of the apps will provide some form of navigation or integrate with maps from the Ordinance Survey.

Whether you commute to work on your bike, cycle for fun or to keep fit, there will no doubt be an app here that will come in handy. I’m not going to pretend to be a cycling enthusiast – my bike only comes out of the shed about 4 times a year, but writing this gave me a good excuse to fetch it out and take it for a spin to see how these apps measure up.

Reviewing 10 apps in full would probably have killed me, so I only tested the main, basic features of the app. For a more detailed review of some of the features, you’ll need to read the reviews in iTunes, but you’ll find a summary of the app and my initial thoughts listed below.

Download MotionX GPS in iTunes1. MotionX GPS

I was keen to try Motion X as it’s had a lot of mentions and recommendations on various iPhone forums. As with most of the apps here, there are two versions, a Lite version and the fully functioning app. The full version has more features than the lite version and is well worth the £1.79.

It’s one of only a few apps that have iPod support built in, allowing you to change/control your music without having to quit the app and lose your data. Controls on screen are clear and simple and can be used even when cycling. It can store over 300 waypoints, 100 routes and has the option of sharing them using Google Earth, Google Maps or Facebook/Twitter. As well as recording your route, it will allow you to monitor your speed, distance and journey time.

MotionX Lite – Free MotionX GPS

MotionX GPS – £1.79 MotionX GPS

RunKeeper for iPhone 3G & 3GS2. RunKeeper

There are two versions of this app available, the free version and the pro version – I tried the free version and was pretty impressed. The App isn’t just for cycling, it can be used for a number of sports and has the ability to change activity in the app settings. It tracks your speed, distance travelled and number of calories burned off and tracks your progress on a map. All workouts can then be synced to a website where you can monitor your progress

It has built in support for iPod so you won’t need to close the app to change tracks or switch playlists, but as with every app on this list, if you get a call or a text it can interfere with the data it records. Hopefully when iPhone OS 4.0 comes out next month this kind of app is one that will be able to run in the background.

The extra features in the Pro version don’t add any extra features to the core purpose of the app, but allow you to do more with the camera & iPod, as well as giving you audio updates on your progress through your headphones.

RunKeeper – Free Download in iTunes

RunKeeper Pro – £5.99 Download in iTunes

Cyclemeter for iPhone 3G & iPhone 3GS3. Cyclemeter

At just under £3 this is a great app. In terms of functionality it’s similar to RunKeeper, (to be fair, the functionality of all the apps on this list are very similar) but the main difference is that this app has been designed specifically for cyclists, with other dedicated apps for running & walking. Featurewise this is a real challenger to RunKeeper as it’s half the price, but has pretty much all the same features – possibly a couple more.

I liked the fact that you can start and stop tracking by using the answer button on your earphones instead of having to touch your phone. Voice prompts and alerts are another prominent feature of the app – you can set up alerts that tell you your speed, distance etc at pre-defined intervals, or just tap your headphone remote for an update.

Recorded routes can be uploaded to Google Maps and shared with others and it’s got twitter and facebook support too -but to be honest most of your friends will be too busy playing farmville to notice that you’ve just been on a bike ride.

Cyclemeter – £2.99 Cyclemeter GPS Cycling Computer for Road & Mountain Biking

Download SportyPal Bike in iTunes4. SportyPal

SportyPal is essentially a speedometer for your bike. It uses GPS data to calculate your speed and distance travelled. It stores your routes and lets you upload them to the SportyPal website, where you can analyse and review your trips.

It’s simple, works well and has a nice clean interface. It’s jumped on the Facebook/Twitter bandwagon, but I’m not really sure what the point of it is.

It’s a good app if you’re just looking for simple tracking and speed data, but there are other apps that do more for slightly less, although none of them are quite as clean and simple to use.

SportPal – £2.99 Download in iTunes

Download B.iCycle in iTunes5. B.iCycle

This is a really nice app that’s been designed specifically for cyclists – and it shows. The screen layout is clear and uncluttered. You have 3 screen options – split screen shows your speed and position on a map, big map for full screen tracking on a map and a data screen that shows all the stats you could possibly want to see.

There is an export option – at the end of your trip the app will ask you if you want the route emailing to you as a KML or GPX file. You can then use this file in Google Maps/Earth to see where you’ve been. Maps in the app are downloaded as they’re needed, but once downloaded, it saves it on to the device, allowing you to continue to use the app even if you’re out of signal.

It’s not as fully featured as some of the others in this list, but it’s still worth looking at, although there’s no lite or trial version, so you’ll need to pay to try it.

B.iCycle – £5.99 Download in iTunes

OutDoors6. OutDoors

Outdoors is a great app, but not one for the casual cyclist. Mountain bikers, trekkers and walkers who enjoy venturing cross country will absolutely love it, but for your average city commuter it’s probably got way more than you’re ever likely to need.

It has maps from Ordnance Survey maps included with the application that allow you to browse and plan routes across your chosen region. As you’d expect with OS maps, the level of detail is excellent and in 1:250000 scale. Maps are stored on your phone, so even if you lose signal you can continue to wander about. You can build and plan your own routes on the device or import them from the web and save them on your phone.

The App isn’t designed exclusively for cycling as it gives you the choice of either walking or cycling. The only downsides to this one are that it’s not cheap – The main app is free but for more detailed regional maps, you’ll need to download them as an in-app purchase – these are currently going for around £10 each – so for the whole of the UK, it could get expensive. Having said that it’s still an awesome app. Tracking isn’t as detailed as some of the others in the list, but this is more about route planning and navigating than it is tracking your route and recording your progress.

OutDoors is free, but regional maps are £9.99 via in-app purchase Download in iTunes

Download EveryTrail in iTunes7. Every Trail

EveryTrail is similar in a few ways to Trails but has a lot more functionality. It allows you to track your routes, attach geo-tagged photo’s to your route and then share your routes with friends and family either through Facebook & Twitter, or through the EveryTrail website (Pro Version only). You can save your trips and can also search through trips made by other app users.

To be honest, for commuters and those who cycle to keep fit you might struggle to find a use for this. It can be used for walking as well as cycling, and I’m more likely to use this again then next time I go camping or on a trekking weekend than I am the next time I go out on my bike. It’s a great app for recording and sharing where you’ve been and is a must have app if you enjoy leisurely walks or bike rides out in the country.

I tried the free version which is ad supported and didn’t really bother me too much. The free version doesn’t give you the option to sync your routes with the EveryTrail servers or let you save maps for use offline, so if you’re out cycling in the middle of nowhere and lose signal, you could have problems. Start off with the free version to make sure it’s what you need, and if it is upgraded to the Pro version – the £2.39 is well worth it.

EveryTrail – Free Download in iTunes

EveryTrail Pro – £2.39 Download in iTunes

Download The Bike Computer in iTunes8. The Bike Computer

The Bike Computer is a relatively simple, no frills app that tracks your route and displays information on your progress. It’s from the same developer as EveryTrail, but is clearly their budget offering.

It does an ok job, information is clear and easy to read while you’re cycling, but I found it a little on the buggy side. Updates are promised soon, so if you only cycle for a hobby and don’t need anything too serious it’s an ok app to go for.

Cost: Free Download in iTunes

Download Trails from iTunes9. Trails

This is more of a tracking app than a monitoring app. It’s all about recording where you’ve been, recording gps data for photos. It has got some monitoring ability, but speed is recorded as minutes per mile, suggesting that it’s aimed more at walkers than cyclists.

I tried the free version, which was fine, but it only lets you store 5 routes at a maximum of 5 minutes in lenght, so if you’re often going out and about and want to record where you’ve been, you’ll need to pay for the full version which gives you unlimited routes. Routes can be imported and exported in the GPX and KML formats – standard formats for handling GPS data to geo-tag photo’s and record your journeys in google maps and various other online sites.

Trails Lite – Free Trails

Trails – £2.39 Download in iTunes

Download Trailguru in iTunes10. Trailguru

This is a really simple, basic tracking app. It tracks distance, speed and elevation. You can view where you’ve been on a map and post your route to the Trailguru website. It’s pretty basic, but does what it sets out to do.

There’s no iPod integration either, so you’ll may lose data when trying to change track. Although it’s a free one, there are other, better alternatives.

Trailguru – Free Download in iTunes

One app that’s worth a small mention that I already had on my phone was CoPilot Live. While strictly speaking it’s not a biking app, it does have a cycle mode and is better at getting you from point A to point B than some of the others listed above. What it lacks though is any form of tracking – but if like me you end up in a random field in a part of town you’ve never seen before you’ll be glad you had it!

So there we go, that’s my top ten iPhone Bike apps. If you use any of the apps listed here, let me know what you think of them, or if you think I’ve missed any out add it to the list by leaving a comment below.


Best Bike Mounts for iPhone

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The iPhone is great for internet, email and phone calls, and now thanks to a number of apps in the App Store, it’s also great when you’re out and about. Since Apple added GPS to the phone, the number of location based apps has grown quickly – especially those that track your location when you’re out walking or cycling.

Use your iPhone to track your progress when cycling

Use your iPhone to track your progress when cycling

If you enjoy venturing out on your bike and like to track where you’ve been, how fast you’re going or just find your way home again there are a number of Apps that will help you. One of the most popular amongst cyclists is MotionX GPS, a handy app that lets you track your route, record the distance travelled and monitor your speed. I’ll cover more of these apps in a future post.

MotionX GPS - Available from the App Store

MotionX GPS - Available from the App Store

If you’ve got one of these apps, you can leave it running in your pocket while you’re cycling, but this can often be uncomfortable and there’s always the risk that your phone could fall out.

The best way to use these kind of apps is to use an iPhone Bike Mount. These are secure cradles for your iPhone that clamp onto the handlebar of your bike, making it easier and safer to use.

I’ve had a number of enquiries recently as to which is the best iPhone Bike mount, so I’ve put this guide together that runs through some of the best iPhone Bike Mounts available.

Dahon BioLogic Bike Mount

The Dahon BioLogic Mount looks like it’s going to be an extremely popular option for bike enthusiasts. The mount incorporates a waterproof case that allows you to use your iPhone even in light showers. It has cut outs for your headphones and charger that have rubber covers to prevent liquid getting in.

Dahon BioLogic Bike Mount includes a splashproof case

Dahon BioLogic Bike Mount includes a splashproof case

You might think having access to the charger while it’s attached to your bike is a little unusual, but it’s actually a great feature as it means you can use external batteries or chargers such as the Freeloader Globetrotter to keep your iPhone charged – even when using GPS applications that really suck the power out of your phone. The BioLogic mount is bolted on to your handlebars and has a quick release button that makes removing the case from your phone quick and easy.

Ram Mounts for iPhone

Ram Mounts are one of the most talked about brands of iPhone Mount. Instead of using a bolt to clamp it to your handle bars, it uses zip-ties. The base of the holder has a rubber coating to prevent it from slipping and spinning round. It’s designed to hold your phone securely in portrait mode and has a sprung clip to keep your iPhone in place.

Ram Mount Simple and effective mount for iPhone

Ram Mount Simple and effective mount for iPhone

iPhone Bike Mount

The iPhone Bike Mount is a simple, no frills holder for your iPhone. It fastens securely to your handlebars without the need for any special tools. It has a tilting base plate that also rotates, allowing you to use your phone in either portrait or landscape mode, although the cradle is designed primarily for landscape use.

iPhone Bike Holder

iPhone Bike Holder

Arkon iPhone Bike Mount

We launched a wide range of Arkon mounts earlier this year and they’re all proving to be extremely popular. Their latest iPhone holder is this bike mount. It has a clamp that is bolted together for a secure fix and a fully adjustable cradle. It can be rotated and tilted to ensure good visibility and has 5 arms to hold your iPhone in place – 2 at the bottom, 2 at the sides and a spring clip at the top.

Arkon iPhone Bike Mount

Arkon iPhone Bike Mount

Krusell Bike Mount

The Krusell Bike Mount on it’s own isn’t enough to attach your iPhone to your bike. In order for it to work you’ll need to make sure that your phone is in a case such as the Krusell Classic or Krusell Orbit Flex. Both Cases offer great protection for your iPhone, but personally I’d opt for the Krusell Classic. It covers all of your phone, so will give it some protection against the elements, and the clear plastic window on the front doesn’t get in the way of using your phone.

Krusell Bike Holder works with Classic and Orbit Flex cases

Krusell Bike Holder works with Classic and Orbit Flex cases

The Krusell Bike Mount bolts on to the handle bars of your bike, then the Multidapt clip on the back of the case slides into the mount and is held in place. You can lock the orientation of the phone, but it’s a bit fiddly and involves pushing the clip further into the holder. Customer reviews are all good, but the general feeling is that it can be a bit fiddly to remove your phone from the holder.

Stabilo Bike Mount with Cradles

This is probably the most flexible bike mount that we offer, and by flexible I don’t mean bendy! It’s adjustable in a number of ways and has an extendible arm – although I’m not sure you’d ever need it. You can adjust the angle of the mount at the base and behind the cradle. It secures to your bike using a clamp and allen keys, so if it comes loose while you’re out and about you won’t be able to tighten it.

Stabilo Bike Mount has a choice of iPhone Cradles

Stabilo Bike Mount has a choice of iPhone Cradles

It doesn’t come with a phone cradle – you’ll need to buy these separately and you have a few to choose from. Personally I’d opt for the tall iPhone Cradle. This has a long support that will help keep your iPhone secure regardless of whether you’re using it in landscape or portrait mode. If you’re only planning on using it in portrait mode, then the shorter iPhone Cradle will do the job nicely.

GoRide Bike Mount for iPhone

The GoRide Bike Mount fixes to your bike in a similar way to the Ram Mount, but instead of having a rigid holder, it has a detachable case for your iPhone. This means that you can leave the case on your phone all the time, and quickly dock/remove it from the holder. Unlike the Ram Mount, this holder can be used in both portrait and landscape modes.

GoRide iPhone Bike Mount

GoRide iPhone Bike Mount

If you’ve seen any other types of iPhone Bike mount that you think do a great job, let us know using the comments form below.

Buyers Guide: HTC Desire Cases

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The HTC Desire is an awesome phone. It’s fast, responsive, has a great screen and it looks gorgeous. It’s so good in fact that I’m tempted to switch to the Desire from my iPhone 3G.

The Desire looks great – our test handset was the black/grey version and has a soft touch finish, but I doubt it will stay looking this good for long. The finish looks like it will scratch quite easily, so you’re going to need a case for it. As the Desire is almost identical to the Nexus One, most Nexus One Cases will fit, but a couple of subtle changes to the keypad and bottom of the screen mean that not all of them will fit.

The HTC Desire Cases listed below have all been tried and tested with a working phone and we’ve found them to do a great job of protecting your phone.

1. Noreve Tradition A Leather Case for HTC Desire

A luxury phone deserves a luxury case, and you don’t get much more luxurious than a Noreve Case. What I love about them the most is the way that they hold your Desire securely without having to slide it into a stitched pocket that interferes with the light sensors and blocks the edges of the screen. The Noreve case looks excellent, is made from high quality leather and is surprisingly slim once it’s on your phone.

Noreve Tradition A Leather Case for HTC Desire

Noreve Tradition A Leather Case for HTC Desire

2. FlexiShield Skin For The HTC Desire

If you want to keep your Desire safe, without adding any extra bulk to your phone then this is the kind of case you need. Flexishield skins are thin, flexible gel cases that cover the back, side and corners of your phone and protect it against scratches and scrapes. They leave all the vital parts of your Desire (such as the camera, headphone port, charging port) fully accessible and can be removed quickly and easily if needed. They don’t cover the screen though, so you’ll need to invest in a HTC Desire Screen Protector.

FlexiShield Skin For The HTC Desire - Black

FlexiShield Skin For The HTC Desire - Black

3. HTC Desire Carry Pouch

If you prefer to put your phone away somewhere safe when it’s not in use, then a carry pouch will suit you down to the ground. This case is made specifically for the HTC Desire & Nexus one and holds your phone securely when it’s not in use. It has a soft lining that helps to keep your screen free from fingerprints and will protect your phone well in the event that you drop it. The case has a stitched in belt loop on the back that you can use to attach the case securely to your belt or bag.

HTC Desire Carry Pouch

HTC Desire Carry Pouch

It’s still early days for cases for the HTC Desire and more cases should be arriving daily. As they do I’ll update this page with any cases that I think work really well with the HTC Desire. Head over to the main Mobile Fun site to see the full range of HTC Desire Cases and HTC Desire Covers.

[UPDATE: 22/04/2010]
Since writing this post Mobile Fun have had a number of other cases arrive that all deserve a mention, so here are a few more recommended cases for the HTC Desire.

Flip Case - HTC Desire

HTC Desire Flip Case

4. Flip Case – HTC Desire

Simple and effective, the flip case protects your Desire against knocks and scrapes. A built in belt clip lets you secure it to your bag or belt, and an open top means you can use your headphones while the case is closed.

HTC PO S491 Desire Pouch

HTC PO S491 Desire Pouch

5. HTC PO S491 Desire Standard Leather Pouch – White

Depending on which retailer you got your phone from, you may have got a case in the box with your phone. If you didn’t, or you’ve lost it, this is the original HTC Desire leather pouch that’s included as standard. It’s a simple slip pouch that protects your Desire against minor knocks and bumps.

HTC PO S491 Desire Pouch

HTC PO S491 Desire Pouch

6. HTC PO S491 Desire Standard Leather Pouch – Black

This case is the same as the one above, only in black leather rather than white. You can use your headphones with your phone in the case as the top is open.

Tuff-Luv Napa Leather Case For HTC Desire

Tuff-Luv Napa Leather Case For HTC Desire

7. Tuff-Luv Napa Leather Case For HTC Desire

Another Flip Case, but this time from Tuff-Luv. Unlike the flip case at the top of the list, your Desire isn’t held in place using a stitched pocket. Instead, two padded runners hold your phone securely, while leaving your screen and keypad fully accessible. The flip is hinged at the top of the phone and has a cut out that allows you to use the headphones while the phone is in the case.

HTC Desire Pull Case - PO S520

HTC Desire Pull Case - PO S520

8. HTC Desire Pull Case – PO S520

If you like the idea of a pouch for your Desire but don’t want to wrestle with your phone every time you want to take it out of the case, then this is what you need. It’s a slim case that has a built in strap that, when pulled, gently raises your phone out of the case making it much easier to get to your phone when it rings.

Sena Ultra Slim Pouch For HTC Desire

Sena Ultra Slim Pouch For HTC Desire

9. Sena Ultra Slim Pouch For HTC Desire

The Sena Ultra Slim Pouch is a form fitting case for your Desire. It doesn’t feature a pull tab like the HTC case, but is made from a soft leather that folds easily, allowing you to push the bottom of the case upwards to remove your phone.

PDair Vertical Leather Pouch Case

PDair Vertical Leather Pouch Case

10. PDair Vertical Leather Pouch Case For HTC Desire

PDair are one of the most popular brands of case Mobile Fun sell. They’re made from a high quality leather and are lightly padded to give your Desire as much protection as possible. Each PDair vertical pouch has finger cut outs on the sides for easy removal of your phone, and a sprung belt clip on the back.

iPhone Sat Nav for under £5

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Yes, you read that right! You can now get a fully featured Sat Nav application for your iPhone for less than £5. NDrive have just dropped the price of their iPhone App to £4.99, and despite the budget price tag, it’s actually pretty good and is good alternative to TomTom, CoPilot and Navigon.

NDrive Sat Nav for iPhone

NDrive Sat Nav for iPhone

In terms of features it has pretty much everything that you’d expect to find in the premium apps from TomTom and CoPilot. According to its iTunes listing, the app includes:

  • Fully functional SIGNPOSTS AND INFOLANES
  • Embedded store-inside-store in order to allow an easy download of extra features to your App such as new voices, alerts, etc.
  • Highly effective search engine and rapid calculations allows benefits such as a fast and easy calculation of alternative routes
  • Most important buildings and landmarks are presented in 3D
  • Car, Pedestrian or Adventure Mode, where ADVENTURE MODE will guide your way while trekking, bike riding, off-road in cars, on boats and even on light aircrafts
  • Simple and intuitive user interface
  • MULTI-TOUCH TECHNOLOGY with gesture recognition for menu, zooming, tilting and panning will enable you to control and display maps easily
  • POIs (Points of Interest) and favourites with phone/fax number, description, email and website address
  • UNLIMITED NUMBER of customizable favourites entries and user defined categories
  • Navigating and searching for city center, street names and numbers, crossings, postal codes, favorite places, recent locations, coordinates and nearby POIs
  • Advanced itinerary with multiple waypoints for enhanced planning
  • Keyboard available in either ABC or QWERTY mode
  • INTEGRATION WITH IPOD, listen to music while driving
  • Automatic Day/Night mode
  • Sound and visual alarms for desired and fixed maximum speed levels
  • Automatic Portrait/Landscape display mode
  • Free access to the NDRIVE COMMUNITY to share POIs with other user anywhere in the world
  • Search online from you NDrive using search engines like GoogleTM and find additional POIs in any location
The only feature that stands out as not being present is speed camera alerts, but these are available to download through the application.

NDrive UK & Ireland Sat Nav for iPhone is available in the App store now for £4.99, but given the large file size, you’re better off downloading this through iTunes on your PC and syncing it over.

NDrive UK & Ireland

I’ll be putting this app through it’s paces over the next couple of weeks and hope to have a full hands on review available soon. In the mean time let me know how you get on with it using the comments form below.

A Dock for your HTC Desire…

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The Desire is a great smartphone, but it needs great content on it in order for you to really enjoy it and get the most out of it. You can transfer all your photo’s, music and video’s to it using the cable that it came with the phone, but let’s face it, a USB cable doesn’t do much to show off your fancy new phone.

If you want everyone in the office to see your new toy as they walk past, or just be able to disconnect your phone quickly and easily without fiddling around with cables, you’re going to need a Desire Dock or Desire Desktop chargers.

There are a few available, so I thought I’d take a look at some of our most popular ones to see how they compare.

1. HTC Desire Desktop Charging Cradle

This is a quick and easy way to charge your phone while keeping it up to date with your latest music downloads, TV Shows and Photo’s. It connects to a spare USB port on your PC or laptop and can be used with a USB Mains adapter to turn it into a stand alone charging dock. It has a blue LED indicator that lights up when your phone is charging.

HTC Desire Desktop Charging Cradle

HTC Desire Desktop Charging Cradle

2. HTC Desire Dual Desktop Charging Cradle

This is essentially the same as the dock shown above, but with the addition of a built in battery charger. This makes it the perfect choice for anyone who has a spare battery for their Desire as it means you can charge both batteries at the same time, instead of having to charge one, remove it from the phone, replace it with the dead one and then start the charge cycle all over again.

HTC Desire Dual Desktop Charging Cradle

HTC Desire Dual Desktop Charging Cradle

3. Deluxe HTC Desire Desktop Charging Cradle

The Deluxe Charging Cradle is the most popular style of cradle . It looks excellent and has a hi-gloss finish. Behind the phone is a lift up cover that houses an additional battery charger so that you can charge a spare battery at the same time.

Deluxe HTC Desire Desktop Charging Cradle

Deluxe HTC Desire Desktop Charging Cradle

4. Smart Stand – HTC Desire

While the Smart Stand won’t charge or sync your Desire, it’s still a great way to watch videos or flick through your photo’s while you’re at your desk and is the only custom stand for the HTC Desire that will hold your phone in landscape mode. If you want to sync content to your phone, you’ll need to use a Micro USB cable. The Smart Stand has a sprung clip at the top that holds your phone securely in place and a weighted base that stops it from falling over.

Smart Stand - HTC Desire

Smart Stand - HTC Desire

5. Desk Genie Non-Slip Charging Desk Stand

The Desk Genie is a great all round Desk Stand, but has received a mixed response in the office when it comes to the Desire. The coating on the Desire doesn’t stick all that well to the Desk Genie, so unless you’ve got a case or cover fitted to your Desire, you might struggle to keep it in place. On the bright side though, the Desk Genie includes a charging cable for your phone and also doubles up as a memory card reader.

Desk Genie Non-Slip Charging Desk Stand

Desk Genie Non-Slip Charging Desk Stand

There are a number of other HTC Desire Desktop chargers available, but these are the the most popular ones at the moment. Head over to the main site to check out the full range of HTC Desire Docks.

More Desire Docks are due in the coming weeks and I’ll update this post as and when they become available.

Fully Integrate your car kit with Unika from Parrot

The Parrot MKi range of Car Kits are still the best car kits on the market. They’re fully compatible with just about every handset out there and no other Bluetooth Car Kit can come close to them on the number of features. With them being this great, you’d think that it’s not possible to make them much better, but Parrot have raised the bar again and introduced the Parrot Unika to further enhance the MKi Car Kits and allow you to fully control them using the controls already fitted to your steering wheel.

Fully integrate your Parrot MKi Car Kit with Unika

Parrot Unika integrates your Parrot MKi Car Kit with your Steering Wheel Controls

As standard the MKi car kits include a wireless remote control that will let you answer and end calls, activate voice dialling, control music playback and adjust the volume of calls and music which is great, but finding somewhere to mount the remote in car can be a little bit tricky.

Parrot Remote can be mounted on steering wheel or dashboard

Parrot Remote can be mounted on steering wheel

The MKi Car kits come with a couple of mounting options for the remote control – an adjustable strap that lets you attach it to your steering wheel or an adhesive plate that you can stick to the dash of your car. Both of these mounting options are good, but you can’t beat the stereo controls built into the steering wheel of your car. I’ve had the MKi9000 in my car for about a year now and I still try to adjust the volume with the stereo controls instead of the Parrot Remote.

Since the launch of the MKi series last year, the technical team at Parrot have been working hard to fully integrate the kits into cars and have just released the Unika – an additional control box that allows you to connect the Mki & RKi Car Kits to the stereo controls on your steering wheel, completely eliminating the need to use the remote control.

The Unika can be fitted to most vehicles, and if you’ve already got an MKi car kit fitted you can retro-fit one to your car without too much hassle. If you’re technically minded you should be able to fit it yourself, although you will probably need to remove some parts of your dashboard, I’ve just changed my car and didn’t fancy pulling it apart, so I got AutoTec to fit mine for me. The cost for the Mki9000 car kit, Parrot Adapter Cable, Parrot Unika and fitting worked out at £279. The kit and accessories on their own add up to about £210, so fitting was only about 70 quid which I think is more than reasonable.

Unika is compatible with Vauxhall, BMW, Ford & Honda Steering Wheel controls

Unika is compatible with Vauxhall, BMW, Ford & Honda Steering Wheel controls

Once installed, the Unika will use the the buttons on your steering wheel to control the kit instead of the remote control. The buttons that you use for each function will vary depending on your vehicle, and you don’t need to have any phone buttons on the steering wheel as the Unika will ‘re-map’ the functions of the steering wheel controls when connected to your phone or iPod. When you’re phones’ not connected you’ll be able to use the controls to operate your radio or CD player as normal.

You can check to see if your car is compatible and find out which buttons perform which function in your car on the Parrot Unika Support Site.

At the time of writing this post, these were the prices for the kit and accessories:

I’ve had mine in for a couple of days now, and I’m still getting familiar with the controls, so I’ll update this post in a couple of days time to give you an idea on how well it works.

Hands on Review: Clip & Talk Bluetooth Car Kit – Solar Edition

Solar power has been making an appearance in more and more mobile phone accessories over the last year or so. Initially only available as stand alone Solar Powered Chargers, the technology has now found it’s way into mobile phone cases, Bluetooth Headsets and Bluetooth Car Kits.

Of all of the accessories available, Bluetooth Car Kits are the most logical accessory to make use of solar power – after all, they do spend most of their time either on your dashboard or sun visor.

Clip and Talk Bluetooth Car Kit - Solar Edition

Clip and Talk Bluetooth Car Kit - Solar Edition

Until recently there were only a couple of Solar Powered Bluetooth car kits available – the LG HFB-500 and the Drive Solar Pro. The latest car kit to join the range is the Clip & Talk Solar Edition. The Clip and Talk range has always been a popular kit that offers great value for money. Mobile Fun recently asked me to write a review for them so I thought I’d put the latest addition to the Clip and Talk family to the test to see how it performs. Continue reading