Mobile by Peak Design Review
It’s no surprise that we use our smartphone cameras to take photos more than any other device.
What is a surprise though, is that Peak Design (famous for its Everyday Backpack and various carry solutions) has launched a system of mobile phone cases, mounts and accessories.
As a keen cyclist and car-chaperone to our kids, I make use of bike and car mounts everyday for my iPhone.
Despite spending hundreds of dollars on various clunky solutions, none has ever truly hit the mark.
As a fan of all their other gear, I went into this Mobile by Peak Design review with huge expectations.
(All the more so, after the launch of iPhone 12 with its innovative Magsafe connector…)
Let’s dive in to see whether they’ve produced the best mobile mount of 2020.
What is Mobile by Peak Design?
- Unique features
- Excellent value for money
- Guaranteed for life
- Car Mount requires adhesion
- Packaging seems wasteful
Mobile by Peak Design is a revolutionary system of mobile cases, mounts and accessories.
Built around a low-profile connection system named SlimLink, you place your phone in a Peak Design Everyday Case (or stick a Universal Adaptor on to the back of your existing mobile case), then mount your mobile via a range of accessories.
At the time of launch, these include:
- Mobile Tripod
- Car Mount
- Desk Mount
- Wall Mount
- Out Front Bike Mount – for racing bicycles
- Universal Bike Mount – for all bicycles
- Moto Bar Mount – for motorbikes
- Kickstand Wallet – mobile wallet
The magic happens when the SlimLink connects to the accessory – the SlimLink allows either a soft-locking (i.e. magnetic), or a hard-locking (mechanical) connection, to provide a fast and highly efficient mounting experience,
Inside the SlimLink resides a zirconia ceramic insert, surrounded by an array of magnets. Soft-locking is perfect for desk use or situations where a more secure mount is unnecessary, while hard-locking creates an ultra-secure bond between phone and accessory – great for bikes, cars, walls, etc.
The Everyday Case is a durable polycarbonate phone case wrapped in a custom nylon canvas fabric.
It’s available for iPhone (including iPhone 12) and Samsung devices, and supports wireless charging and strikes a balance between ruggedness, protection and refined aesthetics.
The Universal Adaptor is adhesive-backed , allowing mounting to any other phone, or hard, non-textured case.
Peak Design plans to support additional phone models soon.
Will Mobile by Peak Design work with iPhone 12?
Fortunately, all Peak Design soft-locking mounts and accessories (Tripod, Wallet, Charging Stand, Wall Mount, and Car Mounts) will work perfectly well with Apple MagSafe phones and cases.
You can charge your iPhone 12 in a Peak Design Everyday Case on an Apple MagSafe charger, and other Apple MagSafe accessories (like their wallet) will attach to a Peak Design case.
A note on charging: When using a Peak Design charger or 3rd party Qi charger, Apple limits charging to 7.5 watts. This may result in a slower charge, but Peak Design does not expect the difference to be impactful for most charging use cases.
Mobile by Peak Design Accessories
Let’s have a closer look at a few of the products from the range of instantly-swappable accessories, including mounts for cars, bicycles, home/office, a mobile wallet, and accessories for photographers and filmmakers.
Each accessory was developed by a team of engineers over 2 years, and designed to outperform competitors in ease-of-use, form factor, ruggedness and aesthetics.
Made from solid anodized aluminum with three deployable legs featuring grippy, non-slip feet, the Peak Design Mobile Tripod aims to be the most compact and portable product for mobile photographers, filmmakers, or those just wanting to watch a movie on their phone while traveling.
Deployment is simple – after removing the card-like device from its bag, you attach it to the back of your mobile via the strong SlimLink magnets, then pull out the three legs with one hand, all at the same time… then place it on a flat surface.
The Mobile Tripod packs down so slim that you can barely notice it still attached to the back of your phone -you don’t even need to remove it at all, so it’s always there, ready for instant use.
The magnetic soft lock makes switching between portrait and landscape mode easy – just pull the mobile off and snap it back on, or simply rotate the entire unit.
Smart features include the buttery-smooth ball-head joint, designed by the same team who brought us the iconic Peak Design Travel Tripod, and an integrated tool that allows you to tune the grip-strength of the ball head.
Also, with the legs folded vertically, the Mobile Tripod can even be used as a grip for shooting videos, or taking a selfie.
It’s without a doubt the best iPhone tripod I’ve used, and it takes up next to no room in your camera bag, wallet or jacket pocket.
This is the accessory I was most excited about, having recently purchased a car mount from Quad-Lock, arguably the closest competitor in this space.
The Quad-Lock car mount works well, but its down-side is that it’s a big, ugly contraption, with a prominent blue logo that can be seen through your windscreen (see comparison photos below). It’s also rather pricey.
While the Quad-Lock uses a suction device to attach to your windscreen, the Peak Design Car Mount uses a semi-permanent VHB adhesive to stick to your dashboard or console.
(This may make some owners of fancy cars with mahogany dashboards a bit nervous, but removal is a simple process that leaves no permanent residue.)
Once you have the Car Mount attached to your dash, you simply place your mobile close to have it ‘sucked’ back and attached via the magnets. It’s much easier to do one-handed than with other systems, which usually require either two-handed operation, or some other twisting or fiddling around.
On the back of the Car Mount is the same smooth ball-head as found on the Mobile Tripod, allowing you to adjust the viewing angle so it’s perfect for your needs.
There’s also a wireless charging option, which requires a cable to be run from the Car Mount down to a USB charging point on your vehicle’s console.
Compared to generic car mounts, the Peak Design version is awesome – small enough so it doesn’t draw attention, strong enough to hold your mobile over bumpy terrain, and fast to attach/detach.
My only gripe is that at this point there’s no windscreen mounting option – previously, I had my mobile mounted at eye-level, but with the dashboard mount, this is no longer possible.
Also, you need to find somewhere completely smooth to mount it – in the case of our Hyundai Sante Fe, the only place was right next to the main LCD screen – the entire dash is textured plastic, which the VHB adhesive has trouble sticking to.
However, I have to admit, the current location is a much neater solution to having something stuck to your windscreen.
Not much explanation needed here – the Wall Mount is basically just a strong magnet that can be stuck to any flat surface using the same VHB adhesive backing.
It’s covered in the same fabric as the Mobile Case, and looks great… although it may look a little odd stuck to a light-coloured wall.
The main issue with the Wall Mount is deciding where exactly to use it – having your phone stuck to a wall seems a little odd to me, but perhaps you could use it to stick to the fridge for grocery lists, or… hmm… leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Out-Front Bike Mount
I was also super-keen to get my hands on this accessory, having taken up cycling recently. As well as having my Wahoo cycle computer, I also like having my iPhone on my gravel-bike’s cockpit, for music and more detailed mapping functionality.
Since I was invested in the Quad Lock ecosystem, I’ve been using one of their out-front bike mounts.
The product itself is well-made, but the actual locking process with the Quad-Lock is rather fiddly – I’d be there twisting left and right with both hands, fumbling like a blind man to attach my mobile to my bike every morning – not fun.
Enter Mobile by Peak Design, and like a breath of fresh air, the process of attaching my phone to my bike is now something I don’t even think about – it just happens effortlessly, all with one hand.
The Out-Front Bike Mount guides your mobile to the exact attachment point via the magnets, then with the slightest of pressure, your phone is secured tightly to the bike – no more fumbling around trying to attach it to your bike.
To remove it, you simply wrap your fingers around the sides of the phone and press the buttons located on the sides of the Mount. You can also change the orientation of the mount using an allen key.
As you can see from the photos, it’s a great-looking device, and won’t look out of place even on the slickiest road-bike. It’s also a whole lot more attractive and compact than the Quad-Lock (comparison photos below).
Also included in the box are two rubber rings to ensure a tight fit on slimmer handlebars, and an attachment for GoPros and other accessories – I used mine to attach an Insta360 R action camera.
There’s also a Universal Bike Mount – unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test it for this review, but it seems like a neat solution for the handlebars of any type of push-bike.
For motorbike riders, there’s the Motorcycle Bar and Stem Mounts too, offering the same features and slick looks.
Build & Appearance
If you’ve ever owned a Peak Design product, you know there’s no worry in this department.
It’s tricky to create a phone case to suit everyone, from the slick leather number favoured by your smart city mate, to the bedazzled pink atrocity currently adorning your niece’s mobile…
Peak Design chose to stick to what they know, by wrapping the Everyday Case in the same high-performance nylon canvas that you’ll see on many of its bags.
It looks and feels great – the texture helps give it a touch of class, as well as some much needed grip.
The all-important SlimLink adaptor is only 2.4mm thick, and sits almost flush with the rest of the phone case. It doesn’t look too offensive either, which is more than can be said for competing products.
I won’t run through the build and appearance of all the accessories here, but take it from me – you won’t have anything to complain about.
Everything that supposed to move, moves smoothly and confidently.
Everything that’s supposed to stick to something else, sticks firmly.
After all, there’s no point in having any kind of fancy hard-locking mechanism if the suction on the car/bike/wall/desk mount isn’t secure enough to hold it in place.
Ease of Use
Peak Design is well-known for its innovations, particularly in thoughtful product design which often leaves you wondering: “why didn’t someone else already think of this?!”
Being able to simply place your mobile phone close to the various accessories and have it magnetically mount, is a stroke of genius.
After all, if the object you’re attaching your mobile to doesn’t move, there’s no need to lock it in place. Why hinder the process with side grips, quad-locks, superglue (!), or whatever other inconvenient solution we’re been used to.
I love the fact that I can place my phone on my Peak Design Car Mount without actually looking at it – there’s no need to delicately align the contacts – you simply bring the phone case close enough for the magnets to take over and pull it towards the mount.
Magnets should be used in more products – I love ’em!
When you need some extra locking power, you simply push and twist to mount your mobile to the accessory.
Since everything relies on the same SlimLink connector, ease of use is identical across the board, no matter what accessory you’re using. It’s an enjoyable (and strangely addictive) experience.
Value for Money (+DISCOUNT)
Peak Design has never been known for cheap products, because, well, it doesn’t set out to produce cheap products.
Cheap phone cases and car mounts are a dime a dozen on eBay and Amazon, but we’ve all tried those and failed… which is why you’re here reading this!
We use our mobile phones every day, and having well-designed, functional, good-looking, and dare I say it, FUN accessories to use, is immensely satisfying.
You own a device worth hundreds of dollars – why clothe it in rags? Put a suit on it instead ;-)
As with all Peak Design products, the entire Mobile range is guaranteed for life.
The best time to purchase the various Mobile by Peak Design products is right now on Kickstarter – everything comes with a 20% discount
In addition, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee after the items have been shipped, but trust me – you won’t want to return anything!
Mobile by Peak Design Vs Quad Lock
I’ve mentioned Quad Lock several times in this Mobile by Peak Design review since I think many existing Quad Lock users will want to know how these new products compare.
I’ve been a fan of Quad Lock for a few months, but I was never completely satisfied. Fixing your mobile was sometimes fiddly, and the products themselves aren’t attractive to look at – admittedly, this won’t be important for some, but it is to me.
By now, it should be obvious of my opinion in this comparison – the Peak Design Mobile ecosystem is the clear winner, both from a functionality and a looks perspective.
I don’t want to completely trash Quad Lock, since they are still great products. I just think Peak Design’s are better!
Mobile by Peak Design Review | Conclusion
I didn’t want this review to come across as an advertorial, but the only bad thing I have to say about these new mobile phone accessories from Peak Design is that I don’t like the packaging they arrived in!
(For a company that prides itself on offsetting environmental impact, I think they could have used less cardboard… even if it is recyclable.)
Am I nit-picking? Definitely!
…but with this new Mobile range, I’ve got no other complaints – it does its job of securing my phone to all the places I need, absolutely perfectly.
The phone case looks and feels nice, and the adapter doesn’t protrude from the back, or look unsightly. The accessories look great and function well too.
The ability to soft or hard-lock your mobile is incredibly convenient, and allows for fast, one-handed operation with minimal fuss. The click of the magnets is immensely satisfying, too.
If I didn’t already have all my credit cards stored inside my iPhone, I’d definitely use the Mobile Kickstand Wallet, and I imagine it’ll be a big hit for people with various membership cards, IDs, etc.
The case and a couple of the mounts would make an amazing gift for a photographer friend, or anyone who owns an iPhone or Android mobile for that matter.
Overall, it’s just a question of whether you’re prepared to pay the asking price, because, let’s face it – we’ve all probably spent hundreds of dollars already on cheap and nasty mobile accessories over the years.
Perhaps now it’s time to buy something that will last, and make using your phone even more enjoyable.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.