Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gear Closet: Tigra Bike Console Power Plus Smartphone Mount

Over the past few years, our smartphones have become central to just about every aspect of our lives. They help keep us in contact with friends and family, they keep us connected to the web and social media, and they even provide plenty of entertainment on the go. These high tech gadgets have also become integral to our workout routines, offering us ways to map our running and cycling routes, tracking our performance over time, and sharing our results with others. In short, they can be wonderful tools for a wide variety of activities.

Cyclists in general have embraced the use of smartphones, tapping into a wide variety of apps that give realtime information about a variety of performance features. In fact, a good smartphone with the right software, can completely replace the traditional cycling computer, putting far more information at your fingertips, on a much larger screen that is easy to read while on the go. A good handlebar mount is essential however, and when it comes to holding your expensive electronic device in place, you certainly don't want to choose one that is subpar. Enter the Bike Console Power Plus from Tigra. It is protective case that packs a lot of features into a well built package.

The Bike Console comes with everything you need to quickly and securely fasten it to the handlebars of your bike. It only takes a couple of minutes to get the mount into place, and the sturdy, well built case then locks into place with a snap. Once there, it keeps your smartphone close at hand, making it easy to interact with, even while riding. The mount even allows the cyclist to rotate the case 360ยบ, allowing apps to switch between portrait and landscape modes for more versatility.

The case itself is durable and solid, providing plenty of protection for the device inside. The flexible screen cover allows the user to still interact with his or her phone using its traditional touch interface. That allows you to launch your favorite apps,  interact with the music player, answer phone calls, and read text messages or emails. Tigra says that the screen protector provides up to 90% sensitivity when using the touch screen on the phone, which translated to no noticeable difference when using the case with my iPhone 4S. The case also provides easy access to your phone's Home and Sleep buttons, and is built to allow use of the camera as well.

When sealed up tight, the case becomes both water and shock proof, providing even more protection for the smartphone inside. Should you find you're caught in an unexpected rainstorm during a ride, your phone will remain very safe inside this case. It will also prevent damage from being dropped, and the double locks that seal it tight will ensure that it won't accidentally spring open, sending the device skipping across the sidewalk.

As is, the bike console is a great way to safely attach your smartphone to your bike. But, this particular version of the case actually has yet another great feature for cyclists. It includes a built-in 1100 mAh battery, which can add 50% to the life span of your phone. That may not sound like it is particularly a lot, but means that you can go on a long ride, use your phone along the way, and still get back home with a decent charge in place. Besides, if you're using GPS to track your progress, that service can put a real hit on your overall battery life.

With apps like Map My Ride and Cycle Tracker Pro at your fingertips, navigating your routes or tracking your performance on the bike is now more fun and interesting than ever. The Bike Console Power Plus smartphone mount make it simple to use those apps (not to mention thousands of others) putting all the functionality of your smartphone right at your finger tips. It also provides plenty of extra protection for your expensive gadget while riding, which is never a bad thing. The fact that it brings more battery life along for the ride as well, is just icing on the cake.

The Bike Console Power Plus carries a price tag of $89.99, which strikes me as a relative bargain for everything that it delivers to cyclists. If you're looking for a durable, versatile smartphone mount for your cycling adventures, than I'd whole heartedly recommend this product. It is an excellent way to extend the use of your smartphone while on a ride.

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