TaoTronics has a brand new in-vehicle solution for both mounting and charging which brings together the latest wireless fast charging innovations and hands-free operation. Sold under model number TT-SH004, the TaoTronics Fast Wireless Charger Car Phone Mount is a 10W charging accessory for Qi-enabled devices which usually costs just $29.99 on Amazon but can even be bought for under $20 by the end of the month. That puts it in the middle of the road in terms of pricing but the device offers quite a bit of feature, relatively speaking, for the money. That’s not to say this is a must-have item for everybody, of course. But for those that need a mount for their vehicle and don’t want to mess around with plugging their device in, it’s definitely a product worth considering.
As is usually the case with in-vehicle mounts, there’s not a whole lot packaged in with this mount. In fact, users will only find the mount itself, a standard USB to micro USB cable, and the user manual. The latter of those items is fairly well laid out and helps with getting the mount installed properly, as well as explaining the device’s limitation. The mount comes in two separate pieces, the arm which attaches to the vehicle and the mount for the phone. With that said, it’s the mid-range pricing and the fact that it offers true fast wireless charging are a couple of the primary draws for TaoTronics TT-SH004 mount. As its name implies, the Fast Wireless Charger can charge devices at either the standard rate for Qi charging, at 5W, or at the higher 10W fast charging rate for devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S8 series. We tested ours with an LG G6 and it charged up at the slower rate as expected.
The hardware itself is relatively well-made, even if it doesn’t feel top-of-the-line. TaoTronics opted to primarily use plastics but those are very sturdy and don’t feel as though they’re going to break. The mount portion of the design utilizes a leathery material that adds a touch of premium, while the arms holding the device are stamped with a soft polyurethane to prevent damage. Opening those is achieved via a button on the right-hand side of the device and closing is done manually. The arms operate on a sliding armbar with teeth that lock them into position in steps. The only real downside to that is that the arms won’t always hug every device as closely or firmly as might be desired. Bearing that in mind, this mount can hold a device between 58.42mm to 88.9mm in width. Although there is only a single arm for adjusting the position of the mount, the portion holding the phone has a ball joint which allows it to swivel. The suction cup is lined with soft gel, which can be washed as needed and provides extra traction when the latch is flipped to lock the mount in place. All of that hardware, meanwhile, ships in a matte black color which should help it fit the aesthetics of nearly any vehicle it’s placed in.
The simplified nature of the hardware also means it shouldn’t take too long to install, even for users who have never installed this type of device before. To begin with, buyers will want to position and re-position the mount to find a good angle before peeling away the suction cup’s protective film. Since there’s only one direction in which to move the arm, there aren’t many ways to re-position things once the mount has been placed. After a good position is found, installation is as easy as ensuring the mounting surface is clean, peeling the film off, and holding the device firmly against the surface while flipping the latch to lock it in place. Once all of the hinge knobs have been tightened, the mount is very stable. The portion of the mount meant to hold the phone can be installed either before or after it is attached to the vehicle. That’s done by lining up four brackets and then sliding up to lock everything into place.
Although the installation itself is easy enough to accomplish, we did discover that there are some issues that can happen with that. If the mount has not been well placed, on a relatively smooth surface with a decent level of flatness, heat in the car can result in the mount simply falling off. In our case, that happened on a hot day, with the mount sitting in the sun. Since we had initially positioned it on the dashboard hump, it wasn’t very well fastened down. As a result, it fell off and needed to be reinstalled. Cold weather can have a similar effect but chiefly during the initial installation itself and shouldn’t cause issues once the mount has been securely installed. In any case, it’s probably a good idea to make sure a clean surface and relatively smooth surface is mounted to and that installation is performed on a warm day.
Once properly installed, using the TT-SH004 mount is fairly straightforward. Clicking the button on the side of the device opens the arms up so that a smartphone can be mounted. Manually closing those locks things into place and the dual coils in the charger should ensure that nearly any device with wireless charging connects as expected. There’s a knob at the back of that portion of the mount which can be loosened so that fine adjustments can be made to the position and angle of the screen. Tightening that down locks everything in place. It’s worth noting that if a device’s fingerprint scanner is on the rear panel, that’s going to make accessing the phone difficult. In those cases, the fingerprint scanner will need to be disabled or the device put into a mode that prevents the screen from locking – or at least mitigates the need to use the fingerprint scanner. A green LED will show just behind the device, and unfortunately almost certainly out of view when facing the smarpthone head-on, if charging is underway.
This charger will also work through most cases, provided the user doesn’t have a metal case or a case over 5mm thick isn’t used. That’s an added bonus since nobody wants to remove their case just to put it on a charger or mount it for the morning commute. However, there is at least one other caveat potential buyers will want to be aware of. Namely, the input for the TaoTronics Fast Wireless Charger Car Phone Mount is rated at either 5V/2A or 9V/1.8A. So it’s important to make sure that a vehicle’s built-in USB port or adapter plug is similarly rated. Powering the mount at only 5V/1A will work in a pinch but it will not allow for fast wireless charging. For our test, we used a certified Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 adapter plugged into the vehicle’s DC port – commonly referred to as a cigarette lighter port – and everything worked as intended. Finding an appropriate adapter is relatively straightforward since they can be purchased on Amazon or at a local Best Buy or Walmart. However, it is an extra cost that will need to be taken into consideration.
Whether or not all of that adds up to a worthwhile purchase is very much going to depend on an individual’s needs. As mentioned above, the TaoTronics TT-SH004 is not going to hold every device as snugly as might be required in some cases but should hold most handsets under most circumstances. It’s also not going to offer fast charging for those users who don’t have a USB port with a high enough output. Moreover, installation can be a pain if users don’t want to mount the device to their windshield. Bearing all of that in mind, it is not the most expensive mount on the market and wireless charging is part of the package for those devices that support Qi standards. It also stays in place very well once it has been installed properly, feeling almost as though it’s a part of the vehicle. So, at very least, it’s worth taking a look at for those who are either buying their first in-vehicle phone mount or replacing an older mount that’s worn out with one that includes wireless charging.
COUPON CODE: AHTTSH004 (price: $19.99)
Coupon expires: June 30, 11:59PM PST