By Dave Lee on June 21, 2012
Who says a cupholder has to hold only cups? We use them to hold smartphones, change, gas receipts, sunglasses and just about anything else there isn't a cubby for. But car-accessory maker Bracketron sells the Universal Tablet Cupholder Mount for those who just can't get enough of their tablet computers.
We've seen other tablet holders that mount to the back of the front-seat head restraints, but this one secures the device in a cupholder. If you live in a state that prohibits mounting any devices on your windshield, this could be a nice alternative if you want to use your 3G iPad as a GPS device, but it opens a can of worms in terms of who will use it — the driver or passengers.
The mount comes in three pieces and is easy to assemble. A knob lets you widen the base of the cupholder mount up to 3.3 inches; another knob on the mounting arm controls the viewing angle. The arm slides into a groove behind the base. You can reverse the mouting arm, too (not pictured), so that the bracket faces the opposite direction.
On the mounting bracket itself, a small latch in back lets you adjust the height of the bracket and lock it in place. The bottom portion is spring-loaded, allowing you to stretch the mount vertically about three inches; the bottom corners stretch horizontally.
We tested the Universal Tablet Cupholder in a 2012 Volkswagen Golf R and a 2013 Dodge Charger, using cupholders in the first and second rows. Bracketron says the device fits tablets 4.5 inches to 7.75 inches wide and 5.5 inches to 11 inches tall. It can barely accommodate my Samsung Galaxy Note, which is the biggest cellphone on the market. Don't expect to fit an iPhone or any similarly sized device in it.
An iPad 2 fits nicely in the mount, and loading and removing it is a breeze: Just push the device against the spring-loaded bottom bracket and lean it into place. A Motorola Xoom fits well, too.
Unfortunately, you can't swivel your device into landscape view without removing the device and readjusting the mount. If you use the mount in the front seat, the gearshift and the parking brake could get in the way, which was the case in the Golf. If the cupholders are arranged vertically, putting your beverage in the other cupholder may be out of the question.
So my phone fits, an iPad fits ... what about any other devices? My Bluetooth keyboard for my first-generation iPad slides in nicely. Reporter's notebook? No problem. Pac-Man mini arcade machine? You'll annoy everyone with the bleeps and bloops, but it fits like a glove nonetheless.
Overall, Bracketron's Universal Tablet Cupholder works as advertised, and it would come in handy for a passenger on a long road trip. We want to advise drivers to stay away from it because of the obvious dangers in looking so far down from the windshield. Unfortunately, we've seen far too many drivers on local roads reading paperbacks balanced on top of the steering wheel, so we wouldn't be surprised to see a driver using the Brackton device to hold an Amazon Kindle.