Oregon: your days of driving dangerously are over.
On Sunday, October 1, it became illegal for drivers to touch an electronic device, meaning a smartphone, while driving, except to activate or deactivate it. If you get busted trying to change your podcast or text "thats crazy haha" to your friend, you could eat a fine as large as $1,000, even you don't contribute to a crash. And that's just for the first offense.
Unfortunately, we've all become completely dependent on our smartphones for basic navigation, and I'd be lying if I told you that I haven't awkwardly fumbled for my phone, clumsily stored upside down in the center console, to frantically try to figure out whether or not I'm supposed to take an exit when Google tells me to "keep left, then merge right."
Thankfully, we have smartphone mounts.
If you drive for a living or are just a generally conscientious human being, you probably already have one of these little plastic doohickeys which handily adhere to your dashboard, so you can glance at a map without careening into oncoming traffic. If not, you probably should get one. Distracted driving is not only super dangerous, but it really sucks to get fined.
There are a ton of smartphone mounts available, and we've rounded up a couple of the best and most popular on Amazon, all of which are far, far cheaper than a $1,000 fine.
Cheap and Simple: WizGear Universal Air Vent Phone Vent
Yes, not getting a $1,000 ticket can cost as little as $7. The WizGear Universal Air Vent Magnetic Phone Car Mount is a simple device that comes with two parts. One, which kind of looks like a clothespin, snaps into any car air vent. The other is a magnet that you can stick to your smartphone, or phone case. The magnet on the smartphone case adheres to the magnet in the base of the WizGear, and you can glance at your map with ease.
The WizGear is cheap, comes with three magnets, and is compatible with any smartphone. If you're on a budget, this is as easy as it gets for keeping your peepers on the pavement.
And don't worry: These magnets won't mess with your phone. Stronger magnets can interfere with a smartphone's GPS capabilities, but unless you plan on driving inside of the Large Hadron Collider you should be fine.
For the windshield: Mpow Windshield Mount
Air vent mounts are great and all, but, as you may have guessed, your phone placement is limited by where your air vents happen to be on your dashboard. If you want more versatility, or if the idea of looking up to check a map instead of down is more appealing to you, let me introduce you to the Mpow Cell Phone Holder.
Using a suction cup mount, the Mpow cell phone holder adheres to your windshield with the push of a button, the phone acting as a counterweight to the base to keep the whole shebang in one place (that's SCIENCE, folks!). It has an 8 inch-long flexible arm for easy adjustment and a 360 degree rotating base so you can switch your view from portrait to landscape with a little spin. Unlike the magnet-based WizGear, the Mpow uses an adjustable holder that can accompany any smartphone that's between 4 and 6 inches wide. That's basically every major smartphone (plus many GPS systems!) including the gigantic Samsung A9 and the brand new iPhone 8.
For the CD Slot: TechMatte MagGrip CD Slot Mount
Do you like CDs? Since its 2017, the answer is probably "not really, I have an aux cord like everyone else." That means that your car's dusty old CD slot is perfect real estate for a crispy new smartphone mount.
As we mentioned above, this is a roundup of some of the most popular smartphone mounts on Amazon. If you are a professional driver/part time Lyft or Uber driver yourself, sound off in the comments with your favorite smartphone mount and a short explanation why you like it and we may feature it in a future Cool Stuff post. Drive safe, Portland!
(Cool Stuff is a new feature at Willamette Week where we feature product reviews, roundups, sales and other commerce and shopping-oriented content. All Cool Stuff reviews are editorially independent, meaning we provide honest reviews and aren’t paid by the brands we write about. If you do choose to purchase something after following one of our links, Willamette Week may receive a commission, which helps fund our journalism.)