These days people are spoilt for options when it comes to smartphone cases. But most phone cases serve a single purpose, which is keeping your expensive tech gadget covered up. If you want more out of a case, such as the ability to mount it to your vehicle, there are a handful of brands that have you, pun intended, covered.
I thought I’d found my all-in-one smartphone solution years ago. Unfortunately, after having the camera on a phone ruined by engine vibrations, I stopped mounting them to my motorcycle altogether. In their defence, the brand later released an add-on vibration dampener to their mount, but it made the whole assembly too bulky for my liking. After recently stumbling across the San Francisco-based brand Peak Design and their mobile accessory ‘ecosystem’, I decided it was time to give it another go.
The Peak Design Everyday Phone Case
If you want to take advantage of Peak’s mobile accessory ecosystem, it all starts with their Everyday Case. The Everyday Case is available for a wide range of iPhone, Google Pixel, and Samsung Galaxy models. For other phones, you can purchase an adhesive universal adapter which also lets you connect to the accessory range. The Everyday Case boasts a slim, sleek, no-fuss design which comes in either a grey marle or sage green finish. The back of the Everyday Case is wrapped in a weatherproof, 100% recycled nylon canvas.
I was concerned the material on the case may struggle with inclement weather and dirt but so far it’s holding up well. I also have young kids who often grab my phone with grubby hands or drop it on the floor so it’s fair to say I haven’t been pampering it. Impressively the case still looks as good as the day I installed it. If you look at Peak Design’s range of bags you’ll notice they use variations of this same fabric so they’ve obviously invested some serious development time into it.
The Everyday Case adds a mere 2.4mm of bulk to your phone. The entire outer edge features a rubberised, shock-absorbing bumper which Peak claims will keep your phone safe from a drop of up to 2m. A raised lip keeps the screen away from scratchy surfaces and the case’s fit still allows the fitment of a screen protector for an added line of defence. The case is also MagSafe so cordless charging can be achieved with the brand’s own MagSafe capable accessories, Apple chargers and many other similar products on the market.
I fit the Peak Design case to an iPhone 11 Pro. It slipped on with ease and gave ample access to the charging port and mute switch. The raised buttons built into the design are easily distinguishable and the nylon canvas has a pleasant tactile feel.
The standout feature of the Peak Design case is how it attaches to the other Peak mobile accessories. The case features two methods of attachment. The first is a magnetic plate inside the case. With magnetic mounting accessories, it’s a simple matter of bringing them in contact and they will be pulled together with a satisfying snap. To separate them it’s then just a matter of pulling or twisting the 2 apart. Although this can be done with ease the magnets are strong so it’ll take a fair whack to unintentionally separate them.
The second attachment method is Peak Design’s SlimLink mechanical lock. The SlimLink mechanism on the case is a recessed square with an internal lip. When the Peak case is attached to a SlimLink accessory a raised square of the same dimensions locks into the hole in the case. At first, I was concerned this would be fiddly since you can’t see the back of the case when attaching it to an accessory. But through some sort of magnetic black magic, the case auto-locates itself and the lock snaps into place with ease. Once the SlimLink is locked, the case and the accessory are firmly joined together and no reasonable amount of force or twisting will separate the 2. To remove the case from a SlimLink accessory you need to push either of the 2 buttons on the edge of the accessory bracket, give the case a light tug and hey presto they part ways.
Peak Design Everyday Case Motorcycle Mount
Peak Design offer 3 different motorcycle-specific mounting solutions. These include a ball adapter to integrate with any RAM mount system, a stem mount and an adjustable handlebar mount. All 3 solutions utilise the SmartLink locking system so there’s no need to worry about your phone coming loose and sliding down the road at 100mph. I don’t use RAM mounts and my stem sits beneath the handlebar clamp so I went with the handlebar mount.
The handlebar mount is made from precision machined aluminium finished in a hardwearing anodised black. It attaches to your handlebars using a hinged clamp and a stainless steel Allen head screw. Within the clamp is a pair of removable rubber collars. The collars protect your bars from scratching and the mount comes with 3 different-size options for 1-1/4″, 1-1/8″, 1″ and 7/8″ handlebars. Fitting the clamp is a bit fiddly because the locking screw is on the underside, but once you’ve found its sweet spot on your bars it’s unlikely you’ll need to remove it. Attached to the clamp is an adjustable arm which can be locked in 24 different positions. It can also be removed altogether for a low-profile finish. The final part of the bar mount is the head which incorporates the SlimLink locking mechanism and its inbuilt vibration isolator.
After some trial and error, I managed to position the mounting bracket so that the head sat close to the centre of my top clamp. Fitting the phone to the handlebar mount is as simple as I previously mentioned. Depending on your preference the mount allows you to position the phone in either a landscape or portrait orientation and thanks to the inbuilt magnets, it snaps into place with zero fuss. Removing the phone can be done with ease without having to remove your gloves and the whole setup feels strong and secure.
Peak Design state that the vibration isolator built into this clamp offers ‘best-in-class protection’. They back that claim up by stating they have put it to the test over thousands of miles and on different terrains. After only using the mount for a couple of hundred miles I can’t vouch for this claim yet, but so far my phone isn’t showing any signs of vibration damage. What I will say is that the SlimLink lock is very sturdy. After riding on both smooth sealed and rough unsealed roads the phone has stayed put. I’m sure there’s a limit to its ability to hold the phone in place, but I doubt I will ever reach it with the kind of riding I do.
More from the Peak Design Mobile Ecosystem
Along with its motorcycle mounting system, Peak Design has created a whole range of brackets and accessories for different lifestyles and applications. To get the most out of my Everyday Case I acquired the Peak Design car vent mount bracket and one of their mobile wallets.
The Peak Design Car Vent Mount is a very clever bit of kit. There are plenty of similar mounts on the market, but what makes this one a standout is the locking mechanism that secures it in place. Basically, there’s a hook and a rubber ‘duck bill’ style clip. To install the unit you wind the hook out then insert it into the vent and over the back of a vent blade. At the same time, push the rubber clip onto one of the vent blades. You then tighten the hook which pulls the unit onto the vent blades and locks it in place. Once that’s done no mount of tugging, speed humps or off-road driving will dislodge it. However, unlike the motorcycle mount, the Car Vent Mount doesn’t use the SlimLink locking system. Instead, it holds the phone in place using just the magnets. These are nice and strong so it’s unlikely the phone will fall off, but if you are planning on doing any serious 4WD activity it would likely come unstuck.
To help you position the phone the Car Vent Mount has a rotating arm and the head sits in a sturdy ball joint so the phone can be titled to face you. Peak Design also offer this mount with charging ability which can be done via a USB accessory plug or the included cigarette plug adapter. In keeping with the brand’s clean, clutter-free approach the charging mount also comes with a set of 3M cable clips so you can route the cable neatly along your dash.
I was a little dubious about whether the Peak Design Everyday Case Mobile Wallet was going to suit me, but my curiosity got the better of me. The wallet, which is designed to sit on the back of the Everyday Case, features a single pocket that can comfortably hold around half a dozen cards and some folded notes. This is a fair step down from the number of cards I usually carry but with my phone now capable of making payments and carrying cash becoming a thing of the past, I realised I could quite easily reduce my wallet load to suit this wallet.
The Mobile Wallet is made from the same hardwearing nylon fabric as the back of the Everyday Case. It has a magnetic flap at the top which you lift and pull to access its contents. As you pull up the flap the cards inside the wallet magically slide up so you can gain access to them. The Mobile Wallet secures to the Everyday Case using magnets and there are 2 sets at play here. There’s one inside the Everyday Case and in the Mobile Wallet backplate so the 2 hold together firm.
The wallet also doubles as a handy stand. The front and rear halves of the wallet are separated by a hinge at the top. When they’re pulled apart it forms a stand which can hold your phone at a viewable angle in either landscape or portrait layout. The overall design is clean and smart looking and because your phone and wallet are joined together they take up half as much space on your person. Obviously, when you attach the phone to a mount the wallet has to be removed, but I’ve quickly become accustomed it. The only concern I see with this design is having the case and phone accidentally come apart as you pull them out or put them in a pocket. If you’re not taking care, this can happen, but a bit of awareness of the potential issue has taught me to simply hold the phone differently when dealing with pockets.
All up there are 12 accessories in the Peak Design phone case accessory range. Along with those already mentioned there are solutions for mounting your phone to a bicycle, desk accessories and options for digital content creators. As for pricing, you’re paying a premium for these products, but there’s no denying the quality they offer. Best of all Peak Design backs these products with a lifetime warranty which speaks volumes of their pride and confidence in these clever smartphone accessories.