Yesterday, we took a look at Bracketron's MobileDock universal smartphone dock; today we get our hands on its Nav-Mat II, a dashboard-mounting solution for GPS devices that uses the same Temporbond technology to add a semipermanent attachment point for your existing GPS or smartphone suction cup mount to any vehicle's dashboard.
As you've probably guessed, we're big fans of dashboard mounting our GPS devices. Though nearly every device ships with a suction cup windshield mount, we'd rather attach to the dash. Dashboard mounting has the benefits of keeping your device closer for easier access and clear of the windshield for better visibility. Most GPS devices also ship with a dashboard-mounting disk, but this is often an adhesive-backed permanent mounting solution that isn't transportable from vehicle-to-vehicle and can potentially mar sensitive dashboard materials, such as leather, when the time comes to remove this puck.
That's where the Nav-Mat II comes in. This flexible rubber mat's entire bottom surface is coated in Bracketron's Temporbond material, a tacky substance not unlike those sticky hand gumball machine toys, that allows it to stick to nearly any hard surface without permanent adhesives. The mat is about the size of an average mouse pad, measuring 7.6 inches wide by 5.6 inches tall and only about an 0.2 inch thick--much thinner than a bean-bag-type friction mount.
The Nav-Mat II features a matte-black finish on its top surface with an integrated hard plastic disk that allows users to attach their suction-cup-mounted GPS device or mobile phone cradle. The flexible mat contours to the curves of most dashboards, creating a solid mounting point for a mobile device's cradle. In vehicles with black interiors--such as our test car--the low-profile Nav-Mat simply blends in with the dashboard, but for lighter interiors, the large black square could be an eyesore.
Because of the large surface area that the Nav-Mat II covers, it can be a bit difficult to remove the mat once it's stuck into place. However, with some gentle pulling, it does indeed come up with no damage to dashboard surface. Bracketron warns that the Nav-Mat II may leave a bit of residue on some dashboard surfaces, which it did during our extended testing. However, any traces left by the mat were easily wiped off with a warm, damp cloth.
With an MSRP of $29.95, the Nav-Mat II is about $10 too expensive for an accessory that isn't a complete mounting solution--the mat merely augments the suction cup mount that you should already have. That being said, the mat performs exactly as advertised, holding onto our dashboard with serious tenacity, yet remaining semipermanent and relatively easy to remove. If you're the sort of person who really wants to dash-mount your GPS device or mobile phone without potentially damaging your vehicle in the process, the Bracketron Nav-Mat II is a worthwhile option.