There are so many ways in which a smartphone is the Swiss Army Knife of gadgets. Adding to the range of uses I put my phone to, the time has come for me to use my iPhone as my bike computer and I’ve been casting about for a suitable way to attach the phone to the bike.
My first attempt was not the success I hoped for. An expensive case from the bike shop proved difficult to get the iPhone into and a pain because the touch screen became inaccessible once the phone was safely tucked away. Although to be fair nothing short of a nuclear strike is going to damage it once it’s in there.
The second attempt is quite different and, while there are definite limitations, I’m really liking the Proporta BeachBuoy Bike Mounted Waterproof Case. First the good things: The case will fit any phone; it’s relatively cheap; it’s very simple; and it can be used for more than just a bike mount. The basic case is a tough waterproof bag with a foam insert to hold the phone. You can use it at the beach, while hiking or in many other adverse environments. I found the phone very easy to see through the transparent cover even in bright sunlight and with sunglasses on. The touch screen still works perfectly, although the case does make it a little hard to get to the on/off button at the top of the device.
There are, however, some limitations. The most significant is that the manufacturers pitch the case as being bike mounted. In fact that means they provide a bungee cord and say you can attach it to your bike. I do have it securely attached to my bike but I’ve not found an elegant way of achieving that. And once I have it safely attached, it’s tricky to remove; which makes the whole thing less useful for other environments. It may be that further experimentation will produce a way to securely attach the case that allows for quick removal, but I really think it would have been a good idea for the manufacturers to at least provide some suggestions.
There’s one factor that overwhelms all others for me: Because of the flexible, bag-like nature of the case I can fit an external battery in there with my iPhone – and that makes going on a long ride with the GPS on full-bore practical.
Thanks to the attachment process I wouldn’t be taking this seriously off-road. For road riding and gentle off-road it is great. I also do like the fact that there’s a versatility to the case that matches the Swiss Army versatility of the phone:. But I still feel the need to undergo some army knot-training to make full use of that versatility.
The lovely folk at Mobile Zap provided the Proporta bike case for review.