Spending $80 On a Ram Phone Mount Seems Absurd, But so Far It’s Worth It
Ram Mounts kind of feel like the Yeti Cooler of phone holders. Do they need to cost as much as they do? Probably not. But they are sweet.
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The first time I saw a Ram phone mount it was holding an iPad with a topographical map app to the dashboard of a rugged FJ Cruiser. It just looked so cool—lots of knobs, robust design—I had to have one. Then I got to the Ram site, realized each component this company had was like $30, abandoned the idea, and moved on with my life. But finally, I caved and coughed up the money. So far my only regret is not buying one of these sooner.
Ram Mounts has nothing to do with Stellantis' truck brand, though I would not be surprised to see one of these things holding a phone on a high-feature Ram truck at an event like Overland Expo. In adventure-enthusiast circles, Ram (mounts) is on the list of high-end default products I'd identify as the scene's standard. Adjacent equivalents in that respect would be Yeti coolers, Rotopax fuel containers, and Maxtrax traction boards—these are all high-performing products that also benefit from some it-girl coolness. It's a little weird that brand caché exists in the world of utilitarian products, but that's the society we've built ourselves.
So Ram is not the "value option" when it comes to dashboard phone holders. You can buy a plastic thing to hold your phone for 15 bucks at most convenience stores, and of course Amazon has pages of choices if you don't mind waiting a few days. As of this writing, the cheapest one there is $5.99. Meanwhile, I managed to spend $79.37 for a Ram mount kit (shipped) from eBay merchant Landloop.
For that premium I paid, I got very good build quality and a satisfying user experience. I have a basic suction-cup mount on another car, a mid-range unit I think I got at a Wal-Mart, and like most I've seen it's fine but not great. It shakes and wriggles itself loose every few days of normal driving while my Ram stays planted in situations that make my Montero's suspension squeak. Ram's real unique value propositions are modularity and customizability, though. This is ultimately what convinced me to get one.
Because Ram offers such a wide range of mounting tools for a whole bunch of different applications, you can use its kits to execute pretty much any mounting design you can dream up. And then use it with any mobile device. There's even a build-and-price tool like you might find from a car company which is actually pretty sweet. As you'll see if you check it out, there are provisions for just about every handheld electronic device in Ram's catalog.
As to why I felt compelled to fit such a specialized phone mount to my Montero ... I couldn't use a suction cup because I have this accordion-style shade that effectively covers the windshield when I park in the sun or sleep in the truck. I also didn't want to stick any adhesive to my dashboard, so those types of mounts were out. And I didn't trust my brittle old vents to bear the weight of any kind of clip, either.
What I did have was a handle on the A-pillar perfectly placed to perch a phone on. As you can see in these pictures, I already had an analog altimeter fastened to that. But I knew there was enough room to install one more mount while still leaving my wife space to get a grip and hoist herself into the drivers' seat when she wanted to, as long as I could find the right grip. The truck's tall and she isn't, so preserving that grab handle's functionality was necessary.
Hence, the claw attachment grabbing the handle, the short arm protruding from that, and then the X-Grip phone holder. And while I happen to think the arms are knobs are the neatest part of this little rig, that grip is pretty great, too. You just squeeze the side of the thing, plop your phone between the little nubs, and release, and it's got your device held nicely.
It came with a little rubber retainer to add another layer of stability to the phone positioning, but I haven't had a cause to use it yet. I even got a small tube of glue with my Ram package, presumably to really commit the arm pieces, which I can't even imagine needing based on my road testing so far.
You can buy Ram's components piecemeal if you want, but you can also get pre-arranged kits if you see a setup that looks like it'll work for you. For example, the exact configuration I got is coded as "RAM-B-400-A-HOL-UN7BU" which you can find on Amazon but I got a slightly better deal on eBay. Shop around. You can also check Ram's own site for discount codes or hit up the customer service line and see if they'll price-match a vendor.
Ultimately, this Ram phone mount is much better than the average cheapo phone holder, but it's also much more expensive. If you appreciate quality stuff in general or at least like to get high-end car-related components, I do think a Ram phone mount is worth it. If you're trying to lock down a phone in a rough environment like a boat or off-road vehicle, it's totally worth it. If you just need to mount a phone for casual driving or minimize frivolous spending, you can skip this.
I resisted buying one of these for a really long time even though I wanted one because the price was (and is) so high. But now having experienced how nice the knobs and grips and clamps are, plus really liking how nice it looks, I'm cool with the $80 cash outlay. If you like this kind of thing I bet you will be, too.
As a final note, since this is a very positive review of an expensive item, I'll clarify that I bought this thing with my own money and have not made any kind of deal with Ram as of this writing. However, we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
And as always — questions and alternative suggestions for similar solutions are most welcome in the comment section!