If there is one task that the Samsung Galaxy Note should excel at, it is using it for satellite navigation. The 5.3 inch screen is sumptuous and knocks every other satnav out cold in comparison, and to sweeten the deal, Google’s Navigation app is free from Google Play (if not already installed on your phone).
Construction & Function
The vehicle dock doubles up as a charger and audio output, although you only get the power cable in the package. It is constructed extremely well with a sturdy suction cup that works simply by closing a latch. When lined up to your screen correctly it is nigh on impossible to pull off.
The suction cup then extends out through a posable arm to the cradle. There is a fair amount of flexibility and the cradle itself can rotate through 360° giving you a simple way of changing from portrait to landscape mode. A tension screw is present on the rear of the cradle to adjust how slack the movement is.
The Note can be secured by clipping into the moulded cradle which is very snug but also incompatible with any cases (including the genuine Samsung flip cover). For ease of use when removing the phone, there is a thumb tab which can be used to prise the device out when needed.
On the back of the cradle there is a microUSB port and a phono output. Despite there being no instructions, in order to get the phono output to work you need to select the dock option in the phone’s settings under ‘Dock’ (see screen shot). Additionally I found that this output did not work when using Gingerbread which comes as standard on the device. Ice Cream Sandwich is now widely availble so this should cease to be an issue.
Of course, if your car stereo supports it you can make use of the bluetooth audio which works like a dream.
The Bad Stuff
Despite it’s function, there is a glaring omission by Samsung: it is incompatible with their flip case cover. Most people will be using a case of some form, and for the the most part it is too much to consider all the different permutations of case that are on the market. But for the flip case to impede usage is a bit silly. That’s not to say you cannot use it; it requires some fiddling, and some cutting to get the best fit. It also means that the device is inherently less secure and during my testing it fell out once or twice when the flip cover was used.
The End All…
All things considered, this is an essential bit of kit. It transforms your Note into a fantastic SatNav, is secure for both the cradle attachment to the window and in holding the phone, and is easy to manipulate. If Samsung were more pragmatic they would have put a little bit more thought into the design by giving it just a bit more space for the flip cover to work. That said, it is still highly recommended.
Verdict: Highly recommended.