Review: Seidio Innotraveler Car Kit for HTC EVO 3D

These things are wickedly difficult to photographYou've still got a few more days to enter to win one of five Seidio Innotraveler Car Kits, so read my full review below to find out more about what you could be getting.

Since I received the Seidio Innotraveler Car Kit for the HTC EVO 3D, I have both enjoyed it and learned some things about the phone and navigation mode.

For those without a dock or a car kit, you may not know the phone functions differently when placed into either of these holders. A desktop cradle will pull up the Dock Mode application, and the car kit will pull up the Car Mode application (assuming on both that you're on Sense).

In the car mode, you're given six rather large easy-to-press-while-driving options, which are HTC Footprints, Voice Search, Search, Navigation, View Map, and make a call. These are standard regardless of the dock you get.

What your screen probably will look like

For my uses, I could do without a few of the buttons, but that's HTC's car mode, not Seidio's fault.

The Innotraveler Car Kit for the EVO 3D comes with a suction cup base that has a handle (flip one way to make it stick harder, flip the other way to pop it off), a high output car charger, a plastic lining for if you do not have a Seidio extended battery, a disk-shaped universal suction cup mounting adapter if you want to mount it on the dashboard, and an alcohol swab cloth to wipe down the area you're mounting the adaptor to.

IMAG0198 (Small)I initially mounted mine on the window. Although the dashboard did look like it would be a nicer place in my Honda Element hoopty, I didn't want to use the glue and mess with my dash. The power cord included reached up and had plenty of room to expand, but I also have a high-dash power socket. It looks like it can expand several additional feet, though.

I pulled on the kit pretty hard to see if the suction cup would fail and had no issues, but you're generally not going to run into problems until the suction cup is old or dirty. I felt safe entrusting my EVO 3D + 4000mAh extended battery to this dock.

On my first run, I was fairly nervous because this was a larger get-up than my old Garmin Zumo 550, and that thing had once attacked me while driving. The EVO + dock never budged. I didn't do much with it on run one, mainly because Nashville traffic was attempting to kill me and I did not want to be the idiot playing with his phone who caused a wreck.

My first fight with this was attempting to get the safety bar off the unit, which was because I did not notice the spring-loaded easy release button. So after unmounting everything I saw there was that button, felt stupid, and went on with my day.

On my second run, I used Navigation Mode to get to a friend's party and realized that a black phone mounted in a black car kit and exposed to direct sunlight gets extremely hot. This was not something I had thought of. The phone was working fine, although I wonder if it could have taken much more without a heat warning.

What sadly doesn't show up in this picture is the bright blue light under Seidio's nameRun three was later in the evening, when I noticed that underneath the Seidio was a bright blue back-lit bar to let you know that, well, it's a cool little case and it's powered. I'm not particularly fond of that blue bar. It starts sticking out at night. It will be getting the black tape treatment if I drive at night.

The car charger also has a blue light when it's plugged in. It's not terrible or noticeable for the most part, but if your car keeps power to the electrical ports while it's off as both of my previous cars did, it'll be draining a minuscule amount to power that blue light along with the docking cradle, which is of some concern as it basically screams "electronics in here, come and get me" to any ne're-do-well looking in your windows at night.

View from a window-mounted EVO 3D in the Seidio car kitI had high hopes of recording video of me driving around from my kit-mounted EVO 3D, but sadly the angle of viewing that the EVO 3D's top/left lens always shows the car kit.

As an alternate method of mounting, I attempted a dashboard mount to see what happened. Results were better, but there was still some obstruction visible on the far right of the picture.

Dash mount minus the universal adapter/glue disk  Far right of the image is cut off by the case

As I'd done most of the traveling I was planning on doing that needed the car kit, I popped it out, loaded the EVO 3D + extended battery up, and shook it around like a maniac over my bed to see if it would release the phone. I think given enough shaking it might, but that level of shaking is probably going to be from a shattered window and a roll-over event. The phone in normal circumstances is going nowhere unless the suction cup fails, and I do not think that is going to fail without dirty glass or a broken seal.

I like what Seidio's done with this product. Although I must confess I have no experience with cell phone car docks, it seems like it's designed mostly like it should be. For me, I probably would not use it in every-day driving except on long trips as the phone + kit seem a bit massive to me. Your needs and aesthetic requirements for driving may vary.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable to most angles
  • Locks down tight, no rattles
  • Can partially film video in car dock

Cons

  • Blue line light underneath Seidio's name screams "steal me" from a distance, distracts at night
  • Size of phone + kit is a lot of visual real estate
  • Can't film 3D video in car kit due to second camera being obscured, first camera partially obscured
  • Needs a solar cap over the top of the phone to keep it cool (you can however rig a handkerchief or napkin if you run into heat issues)
  • Not compatible with Seidio's CONVERT cases

In the end, as a car kit for a phone goes, I think they did a wonderful job. I don't think it's perfect for everything, but for what it was designed for I do not think you'll find much better. I'd like to see a variant of it where the cameras are not obscured, and perhaps a little phone solar reflector jacket for the top, but those are the only real issues I have with it.

The Seidio Innotraveler retails for $49.95 on Seidio's site, but you can look around and find it for less elsewhere.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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