Accessory review: Aryca Bike Mount Kit for iPhone
One of the best parts about smartphone photography is its portability and constant connectivity. There are dozens of products that mount mobile devices to bikes, cars and clothing. Few provide actual photographic clarity as well as protection for the device. For iPhone-using cyclists, the $54.99 Aryca Bike Mount Kit offers both.
Whether you are a die-hard Strava user or paranoid about hit-and-runs, the Aryca Bike Mount Kit gives you the ability to constantly record your surroundings while protecting your iPhone. The Aryca Bike Mount Kit holds your phone steady on your handlebars or seat post, guarding it from the elements with its thick plastic case.
Aryca claims that its case is waterproof for up to 6 meters. While I was not brave enough to dunk my phone in water, it did stand up to a good splashing, giving me confidence that the case could survive a long rainy ride.
I reviewed the iPhone 4/4S version of the Aryca Bike Mount Kit — a great option for folks who are upgrading from their iPhone 4/4S, but want to keep their old phone as a camera or iPod.
The case covers the back, sides and corners with a super thick plastic. The front of the device has a soft silicone film that allows for full use of the screen and home button. While you do not have access to the hold button or charger when the phone is in the case, the volume buttons are fully functional, so you can use the volume-up shutter function in Apple’s Camera app.
For a little fun, I attached it vertically and took a Vine video as I rode along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. The silicon film did not impair my use of the screen at all. I could even type on the iOS 7 keyboard with no issues.
When my iPhone was attached to the mount, I often used the volume button to trigger the camera shutter while I was biking. Even though the video from my phone was shaky, all of my photos turned out pretty clear, except for some rolling shutter distortion that is common in a lot of CMOS-sensor photos taken from a moving vehicle.
As far as photographic capability goes, when I was facing anywhere near the sun, I noticed slightly more lens flare than usual — likely due to the light bouncing around the clear plastic case. My video was also quite shaky because the mount’s positioning is not the sturdiest.
Overall, I like the Aryca Bike Mount Kit as a riding companion. It attached as easy as a bike bell and it gave my phone enough protection that I could see myself using it for every ride. As a photography tool, though, it could be improved. I’d like to see either an opening for the camera to reduce extra lens flare or a special glass window for the camera. (Maybe even a dedicated lens like the Optrix offers.) Despite its flaws, it is a fun tool that could be used for recording scenic rides, capturing pan-motion photos, and — if you are brave enough — going for a swim.
What we like: Sturdy mount that is easy to install, extra protection while allowing full screen access and volume capture.
What we don’t like: Plastic case adds unwanted lens flare and the mount causes some shakiness when recording video.
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