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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #1  
Old 02-03-2013, 08:05 AM
chiba chiba is offline
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Thumbs up F30 GPS / Phone mount

Hello,
For those interested this is a review for the X-grip Mobile phone / vehicle cup holder I did a while back. Hope this helps.

Deciding to opt out of a costly on board GPS for my new F30 I was left with the problem of where to put my Android phone.

At first I would rest it in front of the car's LCD, a great spot as long as I drive carefully. It wasn't too long before I would be catching or missing it every time I got on a ramp to a highway. This had to stop.

I purchased a cheepo clamp that attached to the window then the phone. This only seemed to stick in the centre of my windshield and even lost it's suction once in the day I tried it. I was starting to regret not getting the expensive GPS package BMW offered.

After scouring the net I came across the RAM Mount line of solutions. Decided to cover all of my grounds and bought the Xgrip with Ram-a-can package, a longer 6inch arm and a Suction Mount Base B-Ball Cone RAP-B-224-2U. The suction was incredibly strong anywhere I put it on my windshield.

After sticking the suction cup to the Ram a can base I saw no need to get the diamond plate and screws out, it still hasn't come off to this day. The Ram-a-Can fits really snug in my cup holder and the arm with ball joints allow for ideal positioning.

Now my phone (Galaxy S3) is in an optimal place to use with my right hand, I don't have to stretch and it doesn't get in the way of anything else in the car. Most importantly It's easy to glance at while using the GPS and I'm not worried about my phone flying around the car.

Excellent product, I'm completely satisfied!







Let me know if any questions

Chiba

Last edited by chiba; 02-03-2013 at 09:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2013, 08:11 AM
notfound notfound is offline
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Thanks so much.. Exactly what I need
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2013, 08:24 AM
chiba chiba is offline
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Originally Posted by notfound View Post
Thanks so much.. Exactly what I need
My pleasure!

I think this is the best option for mounting the phone

- It looks clean
- easy/quick to get the phone in and out
- Close to the charging port
- Use a really short charging cable so there is no wire getting in the way.

Chiba

Last edited by chiba; 02-03-2013 at 09:29 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-03-2013, 11:42 AM
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I also have a Galaxy III S, but I use an iPhone 5 while in the car.

Seems like a decent solution for you, but it does have some drawbacks.
  1. Takes up one of your cup holders
  2. Charging your phone requires digging out/fooling with an extra cable
  3. Must use Bluetooth for audio streaming (USB is better)
  4. No functionality of BMW Apps (only applicable to iPhone users)

I came up with a different solution that fulfills all the scenarios above. Since I took the pictures below, I unwrapped the cord, so it's white down the area where it meets the console, then it is hidden back to the armrest USB port. Ergonomically, the spot works well. Just ahead of the iDrive controller is a natural place for your hand to reach, and it doesn't block any controls or the shift lever.




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  #5  
Old 02-03-2013, 12:16 PM
DavidM1975 DavidM1975 is offline
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OP - awesome tip! Thanks for posting this as I was just starting to wonder what I'm going to do when my new car is finally in my possession (most probably first week of March!). I went to the RAM website and I think I'm going to mix both what you and SamS posted about. I'll probably get this and connect the phone the way Sams did it. Now, SamS - one question, how did you attach the cable you are running from the phone to the armrest? Just black tape?
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  #6  
Old 02-03-2013, 12:17 PM
chiba chiba is offline
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Thanks for your reply
First off, for those looking at this thread - Where did you source the mount and parts? Pro clip?

As far as Drawbacks are concerned, read below

[*]Takes up one of your cup holders - I use the other one when I have a drink with me. If someone else is with me in the car I can use the back seat centre arm rest ones.[*]Charging your phone requires digging out/fooling with an extra cable - I got a 4 inch cable and the adapter just stays plugged in. Really easy to grab and plug in when I nead charging. WHen I don't no wire at all.[*]Must use Bluetooth for audio streaming (USB is better) - No I musen't, I use a small usb drive for my mp3's in the Center console (I'm able to close it without unplugging the usb drive). [*]No functionality of BMW Apps (only applicable to iPhone users) N/A

Where mine is mounted it doesn't get in the way of my shifter or controls at all. I'll take some more pictures later of the charger and cable.
I like my solution because it was easy, didn't require any mods to the car and looks clean.
Your idea looks like works nicely too!

I wish a thread like this existed when I was researching what to do here.. Perhaps it can serve as a guide.
If anyone else has anything anything to add, let's see it.

Chiba

Last edited by chiba; 02-03-2013 at 12:40 PM.
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  #7  
Old 02-03-2013, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM1975 View Post
Now, SamS - one question, how did you attach the cable you are running from the phone to the armrest? Just black tape?
Yes, black electrical tape so the cable runs along a crease in the center console, back to the armrest. You can see it in pic #3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiba View Post
Thanks for your reply
First off, for those looking at this thread - Where did you source the mount and parts? Pro clip?
Yes, ProClip for all the mounting parts.

The biggest factor for me when choosing between these solutions was that USB connection was a must have. I know some people use a thumbdrive or iPod in the center console, but a large percentage of my in-car listening is to Pandora/Live365/Spotify. To maximize listening to streaming services, you really need to have the phone connected to USB for BMW apps, and you need to have some access to your phone (i.e. not streaming BT from your pocket) to change presets/channels/etc. Plus, those streaming services can drain your battery extraordinarily fast while driving, so that charging capability is almost required as well.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:54 PM
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krash krash is offline
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WOW!

SamS, how did you take such fantastic photos?

When I take pictures of my car, they are so embarrassingly bad, I won't even post them. Especially when it comes to the interior of my car.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krash View Post
WOW!

SamS, how did you take such fantastic photos?

When I take pictures of my car, they are so embarrassingly bad, I won't even post them. Especially when it comes to the interior of my car.
Honestly I'm kind of embarassed the first couple are so dark. It was late (at night) and in my garage, so the lighting is poor. And I was in a hurry

It's just a Canon Rebel XT DSLR that's probably 6 years old. You can probably get one on eBay for <$100. I know nothing about photography

The original poster chiba did take some nice photos, however!
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:03 PM
DavidM1975 DavidM1975 is offline
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Krash, most cameras/phone cameras will make it difficult to come up with a decent image of a car interior, especially if it's a black interior. Any time you have a lot of black in your frame the automatic mode in your camera will be fooled into thinking the image is going to be underexposed. It then tries to compensate for it by allowing more light to pass through the lens, trying to slow down the shutter speed as much as it can, bump up the ISO setting and set a wider aperture. All of these (to cut the long story short) may result in a shaky, out of focus, overexposed image. Basic knowledge of photography will help. Better equipment will make it easier too. SamS shot his images with a Canon Rebel XT, which is a step higher than a P&S/phone camera. In hands of a more careful shooter it will yeld much better results than a small P&S camera.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM1975 View Post
Krash, most cameras/phone cameras will make it difficult to come up with a decent image of a car interior, especially if it's a black interior. Any time you have a lot of black in your frame the automatic mode in your camera will be fooled into thinking the image is going to be underexposed. It then tries to compensate for it by allowing more light to pass through the lens, trying to slow down the shutter speed as much as it can, bump up the ISO setting and set a wider aperture. All of these (to cut the long story short) may result in a shaky, out of focus, overexposed image. Basic knowledge of photography will help. Better equipment will make it easier too. SamS shot his images with a Canon Rebel XT, which is a step higher than a P&S/phone camera. In hands of a more careful shooter it will yeld much better results than a small P&S camera.
Thanks.

My wife has a Canon Rebel XT. I'm sure she could get photos like this. Of course, if I ask her to take photos of the inside of my car, she'll ask why, and look at me as if I have 2 heads or something...

Maybe I'll take her camera and experiment a little with it.
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  #12  
Old 02-03-2013, 03:15 PM
sr5959 sr5959 is online now
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I wish BMW had designed an iPhone dock into the center console, around the same location Sams has his setup
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:22 PM
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I wish BMW had designed an iPhone dock into the center console, around the same location Sams has his setup
Yes. They should at least offer an OEM mounting plate/bracket that integrates nicely with the console.. Then you could pick your aftermarket holder for the style or type of phone you have.

They kind of do this with the Media cradle. But I had the Media cradle with my M3. It is a pain. You can't reach the phone when docked, and it is too easy to forget it in your car. If the phone mounts somewhere in plain sight, it is easier to use and see.

BMW probably wants you to stick it in the arm rest in the name of safety, i.e. less chance of driver distraction.
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  #14  
Old 02-03-2013, 04:18 PM
chiba chiba is offline
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Originally Posted by DavidM1975 View Post
OP - awesome tip! Thanks for posting this as I was just starting to wonder what I'm going to do when my new car is finally in my possession (most probably first week of March!). I went to the RAM website and I think I'm going to mix both what you and SamS posted about. I'll probably get this and connect the phone the way Sams did it. Now, SamS - one question, how did you attach the cable you are running from the phone to the armrest? Just black tape?
Neat clamp David,
Post pics here when you get it! Just in case it doesn't work as you expected, it might be a good idea to order the ram-a-can as well.

I got mine here, they give you a bit of a deal.

http://www.gpscity.com/ram-mount-ram...face-base.html
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:00 PM
DavidM1975 DavidM1975 is offline
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Chiba, thanks again for your help and links! Placed the order with gpscity.com! The clamp will be here a long time before I get my car but as soon as I do I will post photos of my setup and report back in this thread about how it works in real life.
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  #16  
Old 02-05-2013, 09:09 AM
notfound notfound is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiba View Post
My pleasure!

I think this is the best option for mounting the phone

- It looks clean
- easy/quick to get the phone in and out
- Close to the charging port
- Use a really short charging cable so there is no wire getting in the way.

Chiba
Does it feel solid while driving? I bought a cheap universal mount off of Amazon a while back and I absolutely hate it.. It feels okay when the car is parked but starts to vibrate the moment the car starts moving.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:12 AM
notfound notfound is offline
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Originally Posted by SamS View Post
Yes, black electrical tape so the cable runs along a crease in the center console, back to the armrest. You can see it in pic #3.

Yes, ProClip for all the mounting parts.
Thanks for posting this... a very nice looking mount. I've looked at http://www.proclipusa.com/ but can't seem to find it. There is one for F30 that gets attached to the center console but what you have is a bit different.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:18 AM
chiba chiba is offline
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Originally Posted by notfound View Post
Does it feel solid while driving? I bought a cheap universal mount off of Amazon a while back and I absolutely hate it.. It feels okay when the car is parked but starts to vibrate the moment the car starts moving.
No vibration at all.. The arm is made of aluminum and all parts used are of a very high quality. The Xclamp allows you a bit of room to pivot but won't move on it's own.
In other words, this will be worlds better than a your cheep universal mount.

Chiba
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:31 AM
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Thanks for posting this... a very nice looking mount. I've looked at http://www.proclipusa.com/ but can't seem to find it. There is one for F30 that gets attached to the center console but what you have is a bit different.
I used the following part numbers from ProclipUSA.com: 830530, 215421, 514422.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:32 AM
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Thank you both for your replies. Sounds like we have two solid alternatives..
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:36 AM
chiba chiba is offline
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I got the usb cable / car charger at monoprice.com

The cable is 1.5 feet.


The Charger works better than plugging my Gs3 to the usb. If I have it charge via the center consol usb port while using the phone's Nav the battery depletes. If I plug it in to the monoprice charger while using Nav, my Gs3 battery meter goes up.


Chiba
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:51 AM
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Thanks to all you guys for this helpful thread. I was in a bit of a dilemma myself regarding where and how to place the iphone without occupying a cup-holder.

I just placed an order for this RAM Mount as posted earlier by David.

I'll try to post some pics of how it looks in the car once I receive the mount.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:45 PM
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I'm vacationing in Florida next week, going to use my iPhone 5 as a nav in the rental car, just surveyed the landscape of mounting solutions, thought I'd offer this solution up which is great for vent-mount, dash-mount, or windshield-mount purposes.

It's called the Bracketron Cradle-It and it's the only iPhone holder I've found that is very unobtrusive, doesn't have these large grabber things on the side, snugs the phone very tightly. It also works with an iPhone in a case, a rarity. Nothing worse than having to go caseless or put a case on/off all the time. This avoids that.

It comes with a new-type suction cup that not only works on the windshield but also adheres to dashboards, even ones with crinkle-type surfaces. It's an extra-gooey suction system.



And as an added bonus, anyone who has a vent-mount (mine is from Arkon, used it for my Nuvi years back), the Bracketron Cradle-It uses the same 'ball' system and it's iPhone holder snaps easily into it. Photo of that is above in case you're not a windshield or dashboard person.

This isn't something I'm going to use in my F30, it's just for the rental car vacation next week, but thought I'd pass it along. The big win here is how unobtrusive the cradle is along the sides of the device and that it's 'ball' connector works with vent mounts. Oh, and it's only $15.

BJ
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boltjaM3s View Post


I'm vacationing in Florida next week, going to use my iPhone 5 as a nav in the rental car, just surveyed the landscape of mounting solutions, thought I'd offer this solution up which is great for vent-mount, dash-mount, or windshield-mount purposes.

It's called the Bracketron Cradle-It and it's the only iPhone holder I've found that is very unobtrusive, doesn't have these large grabber things on the side, snugs the phone very tightly. It also works with an iPhone in a case, a rarity. Nothing worse than having to go caseless or put a case on/off all the time. This avoids that.

It comes with a new-type suction cup that not only works on the windshield but also adheres to dashboards, even ones with crinkle-type surfaces. It's an extra-gooey suction system.



And as an added bonus, anyone who has a vent-mount (mine is from Arkon, used it for my Nuvi years back), the Bracketron Cradle-It uses the same 'ball' system and it's iPhone holder snaps easily into it. Photo of that is above in case you're not a windshield or dashboard person.

This isn't something I'm going to use in my F30, it's just for the rental car vacation next week, but thought I'd pass it along. The big win here is how unobtrusive the cradle is along the sides of the device and that it's 'ball' connector works with vent mounts. Oh, and it's only $15.

BJ
Who are you renting from?

I always rent from Hertz and get Hertz Neverlost, which is their nav system. It is getting a bit dated but it gets me around South Florida.

CA
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  #25  
Old 02-06-2013, 11:33 AM
DavidM1975 DavidM1975 is offline
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Wow! My gpscity.com order arrived today! Seriously, that was the fastest free shipping ever for an order placed online. Amazing! Too bad I have to wait another month for the car, hehe!
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