Robust Mounting Systems – a simple, affordable new mount option

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Still searching the perfect mount for your phone or iPad that won’t break the bank? A good mounting system normally costs anywhere from $60 to over $200. Fortunately, a new option is now available with some good-performing mounts starting around $30 for a complete kit. 

The new Robust Mounting Systems take a universal approach to mounting. There are two main mounting cradles: one fits almost every phone, the other will fit every tablet. Each cradle can be matched up to an arm and suction cup. The whole system uses a 25mm or 1” ball to connect the pieces. This makes the Robust Mounts interchangeable with other popular 1” ball mounting systems, like RAM Mounts.

Mobile Grip Phone Mount

Smartphone mount
The phone cradle expands to hold virtually any smartphone.

This simple, expandable cradle fits every phone we’ve tried, from smaller iPhone SE models to the largest iPhone XS Max. The holder consists of two fingers that grab the phone in the middle. This is important as mounts that try to grip near the corners can hit volume or power buttons, or block one of the cameras. The two finger approach is small yet firm, and very easy to operate with one hand. One finger doesn’t move, while the other finger is on a spring mechanism.

The rear of the mount has a socket for mounting to a 17mm ball.  This extra ball in the mounting system allows you to easily adjust the angle of your phone while the rest of the mount remains unchanged. We really like this feature as small adjustments for sunlight will happen en route.

The side of the mount has a ¼”-20 hole. This allows you to use other mounts (especially camera mounts), but more importantly, the hole is filled by a custom designed plug. This plug has a cable holder on it, allowing you to keep your charging cable attached to the mount. This is really helpful, especially at night.

Slim iPad/Tablet Mount

It is not often that you find a universal mount that works as well as a custom-fitting mount, but this mount breaks the mold. It includes ten fingers (three sizes) that allow you to customize for your mounting situation. Some pilots prefer a horizontal mount with a vertically oriented iPad; others like both pieces to be vertical. Regardless of your preference, this mounting solution can adapt to fit. It will even work with most cases. The spring mechanism provides more than enough tension to keep your iPad in place during turbulence, but yet isn’t too strong to require hard work to open. We tried it in a Cirrus on a gusty day, and it held our iPad 9.7″ model without any issues.

Suction cup iPad mount
The suction cup mount held our iPad on a gusty day.

The back of the mount has an AMPS pattern for attaching to the included adapter. While the cradle is a little bulky in size, the mount is relatively lightweight and easy to stow. It takes about the same amount of space in your flight bag as a backup headset. With a few minutes of customization the first time you use it, it’s a simple and reliable product.

Arms

The middle of these mounts features an infinitely adjustable arm. Different sizes are available to help extend your device away from the mounting surface. This is very similar to other mounting systems and it’s likely you have a few extra of these arms laying around. Keep in mind that the longer the arm, the more likely you are to have some vibration in the mounting system. We prefer sticking to a short arm. This also makes the mount easier to stow when not in use.

Suction Cup

The Robust Mount suction cup might be the best we’ve seen yet. A simple cam mechanism engages the suction cup. It’s relatively easy to keep clean, and its design gets the least amount of air trapped in the cup. This is essential to keeping the cup on the window during climb-out. Less air trapped means less air to expand. Physics tells us that all suction cups will fail at some point. The design of the suction cup housing is very intuitive. Once engaged, the suction cup is flush with the lip of the hard plastic. With no room between the two, vibrations are kept to a minimum.

Universal suction
With multiple tabs, the tablet kit can accommodate almost any model.

Future Proof

The universal nature of the Robust Mounts means you won’t have to buy a new mount the next time you update your phone or tablet. In other mounting systems, even something as simple as buying a new case can result in you having to purchase a new mount. More mounting options will be available in the near future, including a yoke/tube mounting solution. With a multitude of options, there is sure to be one that will fit your application.  

Affordable

While super functional and extremely durable, you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to buy one of these systems. Individual pieces start at under $10 and complete kits start at around $30. The Tablet Suction Cup Mount is available for $39.95 and the Phone Suction Cup Mount is available for $29.95.

We flew with these mounts in a Cirrus SR22, a Cessna 172, and a Robinson R44 helicopter. Overall they were a pleasant surprise – well-made, easy to use, and affordable. In fact, we haven’t had a suction cup fail yet.

2 COMMENTS

  1. No more suction cup mounting systems for me. I bought a RAM mount in 2017 that I really liked. And I really would have liked to keep on liking it. I tried it in several locations in my Piper Archer. Admittedly, there possibilities are limited given that space is at a premium and the windshield is curved virtually everywhere you might want to mount it without obstructing forward visibility. I did finally find that a spot just about where the windshield wraps around to the support separating it from the side window was holding it solidly.

    Then, on a short, mid-morning flight in the summer of 2017 from Pittsburgh-Butler Regional (KBTP) to Indiana Jimmy Stewart (KIDI) I was on final . . . no, that’s not accurate enough. I was literally crossing the runway threshold when the mount and iPad came crashing onto my left knee, then onto the floor. Talk about an unwanted distraction at an inopportune time!

    It was easy to figure out what happened. The plane was pulled from a cool hangar for a flight whose course was ~ 112. The sun was basically on my tail until my downwind to base turn when the left side of the plane was suddenly bathed in direct sunlight. The warming of the windshield continued as a progressed from base to final when the air trapped in that little suction cup expanded sufficiently to pop it off.

    Fortunately, I was flying with a safety pilot that morning and he reacted quickly to apply full throttle for the go-around. The grounds keeper who was cutting grass had stopped in the area between the runway and the taxiway must have thought for a moment that he was going to meet his maker. He was nowhere to be seen when we arrived on final the second time. But I immediately installed the yoke mount for my iPad Mini and it will never be on the windshield again.

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