Tech Know: which smartphone car cradle is best?

If you want to make hands-free calls, play music and view maps when you're behind the wheel then you need to invest in a car cradle to avoid the hefty fines for using your phone while driving.

Laws vary from state to state, but in Victoria you're not permitted to use your phone for calls, music or satellite navigation while driving, unless it's in a car cradle or can be operated by the driver "without touching any part of the phone". If you're on your L or P plates then you're not allowed to use your phone at all, even if it is in a cradle.

Both of these cradles feature a sturdy suction cup for attaching to your windscreen, along with a swivel head so you can change the angle of your phone. We tested iPhone XR models but these cradles are available for a range of smartphones, with or without their protective cases. Keep in mind that using your phone for sat-nav can quickly drain the battery – the Strike Alpha comes with a charge cable and car power adaptor but you'll need to supply your own with the Cygnett.

The Strike Alpha's built-in charging and support for an external aerial make it a great option for people who spend their days on the road, but it's expensive and can be a hassle if you share the car with people who use a different phone or protective case. The Cygnett is a better option if you need to cater to smartphones and cases of different shaped and sizes.


Strike Alpha.Credit:

from $149

The Strike Alpha cradle offers a very tight fit, meaning you need to order the exact model for your smartphone. You'll need to remove your phone's protective case to fit it in the cradle, unless you opt for a Strike Alpha model which allows room for specific cases from the likes of Otterbox and LifeProof. Strike Alpha cradles feature a USB or Lightning plug for charging your phone, plus some models support wireless charging. You can also attach an external antenna for improving your mobile signal.



The Cygnett cradle takes a one-size-fits-all approach, holding phones between 55mm and 86mm wide. A tight clamp with rubber tips ensures that it still keeps a good grip on your phone. The ability to push your phone into the cradle makes it less cumbersome than the Strike Alpha cradle which requires you to slide your phone in from the top.

Cygnett Universal Smartphone HolderCredit:

If you're using your phone for sat-nav then you'll want to charge your phone from a car charger, but if you're charging an iPhone via its Lightning port then you can't use Apple's headphone jack adapter to connect your iPhone to your car stereo's 3.5mm audio line-in. If you don't want to connect your iPhone to your car stereo via Bluetooth, use a Belkin RockStar 3.5mm Audio + Charge adaptor which lets you connect audio and power at the same time.

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