rsts11: Fun with Verizon phones and vehicle navigation mounts

I bought a DROID BIONIC phone about 6 months ago, and got the Verizon/Motorola cobranded vehicle mount. Turns out that the Verizon-branded mount includes a long 1/8″ to 1/8″ audio cable, as well as the original Motorola user guide that illustrates the cool 2x850mA car charger, and which talks about a custom USB cable that lets you run audio out of the dock to your car stereo aux input.

You see what they did there?

Yup, no car power adapter, and no USB cable at all.

Mind you, you can use any micro-USB charger with the dock, and it will help to charge your phone as long as you’re not really using it in the car. But if you want enough power to keep up with GPS or data or music, you’re out of luck.

I returned the Verizon-branded mount and found the Motorola original package at Fry’s (for about $10 more) and have been using it ever since.

I recently upgraded to the DROID RAZR MAXX, a brilliant phone with amazing battery life. I’m getting twice the battery life on RAZR MAXX with mostly stock settings and data/GPS always on, than I did on BIONIC with extended battery and Juice Defender running. Yep, *twice* the life, as in nearly two full days.

The store I ordered my phone from sold me a RAZR mount, and I didn’t look very closely since I figured they knew what they were doing, and going through a lot of effort to order my RAZR MAXX. It also made some sense to me that they might have a unified mount with variable inserts to fit the different phones. But when the MAXX showed up, it didn’t work with or without the insert. So I returned the RAZR mount, and ordered the RAZR MAXX mount.

Guess what didn’t come with the Verizon/Motorola co-branded version of the RAZR MAXX mount?

Yuuup. For those of you keeping score, it’s a Motorola P617 or SPN5581A dual-USB 12V cigar plug charger, and an SKN6394A USB and audio cable. You can find the P617 on Amazon for about $19, and it’s currently even eligible for Amazon Prime shipping.  It seems you can’t find the SKN6394A anywhere *except* in the Motorola original mount kits for the DROID BIONIC, DROID RAZR, DROID RAZR MAXX, and I think the DROID 3 and DROID 4 but I’m not sure about those.

As annoyed as I am, I’m going to keep the inferior mount kit after all. For one, I get a much better corporate discount from Verizon than from Amazon… and since I’ll be giving the BIONIC to my significant other, and she doesn’t believe in car mounts (and doesn’t have a 1/8″ aux input on her car stereo anyway)… if I keep the charger and audio/usb cable, we’ll all be happy.

But if you’re getting a cutting-edge DROID phone from Verizon, by all means get screen protectors, a home charger, HDMI dock, lapdock if you’re so inclined… but skip the vehicle mount and go to Motorola or Amazon and get the real deal.

As the links below will warn you, don’t lose that custom USB cable. Apparently you can’t buy it separately anymore (or at least Motorola doesn’t list it)… and I’m not seeing them on eBay yet either.

And as a side note, the spiffy skin for the phone was actually discovered through a Facebook ad for custom phone skins. They offer skins for many devices, including iDevices, Kindle Fire, and the DROIDs I have. Good prices, fairly quick shipping (for a custom product), and since my phone is Kevlar-enhanced I don’t feel the need for a ZAGG for this device. So it works pretty well. See the other patterns they have at this link, courtesy of site:customphoneskins.com in the Google search bar.

And as a disclaimer, I received no special consideration from any of the companies or brands mentioned above in relation to this rant.

 

 

Resources:

http://www.motoask.com/motorola-atrix-4g-general-discussion-f12/one-of-the-most-requests-part-number-for-atrix-vehicle-dock-t651.html

http://forums.androidcentral.com/razr-accessories/146016-audio-car-charging-cable-navigation-dock.html

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