With the ever-increasing capabilities of smartphones, it’s only natural that we want full access to our iPhone or Galaxy devices. Phoneshield makes a case and mount for the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4. We had a new iPhone 5S in hand, so into the Phoneshield it went.
The Phoneshield is weatherproof, which is excellent for touring motorcycle riders who hit all kinds of weather, and the fairly bulky plastic case protects the iPhone 5S from most shocks—on or off the bike.
Opening the box, you’re faced with an array of plastic pieces—-some large, and lots are plenty small. The only directions are pictograms on the box, so you’re largely on your own if semi-technical drawings confuse you. The display photos indicate that the Phoneshield is designed for use on bicycles, however High Tech Motion mentions motorcycles on its website.
Looking over the pieces, I figured out what was needed to mount the Phoneshield (with my iPhone 5S in it) on the handlebar crossbar of the 2013 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom—a bike that makes mounting the Phoneshield very easily.
I attached the quick release with secure lock (it’s more secure than quick)—an easy job. I selected the parts needed to mount the universal handlebar mount to the Kawasaki’s bars. We like the security of the clamp design, as there should be no reason for the Phoneshield to ever become separated from the bike.
There’s a rubber base (a strip of rubber) included that is intended for use between a flat mount and a mounting surface. I repurposed it, putting it between the crossbar and the handlebar mount in an effort to damp the vibrations sent to the case and iPhone 5S.
With the help of a metric hex head, the mount was quickly attached to the crossbar and it was a simple matter to attach the Phoneshield case and position it appropriately. Two large and secure latches hold the phone in the case.
The first job was to use the iPhone 5S as a GPS unit. This worked quite well, though you have to have your gloves off (or newer gloves with touchscreen compatible gloves or finger accessories) to use the touchscreen. If you have a Bluetooth-compatible communications device in your phone, you’re all set for hands-free operation.
The cover for the iPhone cuts down on screen contrast, especially when the sun hits it at a bad angle, but generally the screen is complete readable.
There are ports at the bottom for the Lightning cable and headphone jack, the on/off button on top, and the main button on the lower front of the screen cover. As you’d expect, you lose the thumbprint reader functionality of the iPhone 5S with the Phoneshield.
We took advantage of the 360-degree adjustability of the mounting system, spinning the iPhone 5S around so we could use it as a video camera. The results were not great, unfortunately—though the blame lands on the iPhone 5S rather than Phoneshield.
The iPhone 5S records video using a rolling shutter, so there’s quit a bit of wobble due to vibration (this was on a V-twin, remember). Sound is pretty decent though. If you’re not demanding, it is better than nothing. Check out the video posted here, and decide for yourself.
Phoneshield offers other mounting options, including an adhesive mount, locking suction cup, and a motorcycle stem mount. If you don’t have a open handlebar available, these options will definitely be worth investigation.
Overall, we were pleased with the case. You don’t have to leave it on your motorcycle, of course. It’s designed to work on bicycles (where the video performance should be much better), so that increases its functionality. Phoneshield says you can also use it as a walk around case–that’s true, though it’s pretty bulky (though fully protective if you’re going to be treading in extreme conditions). One piece of equipment ($70) does a number of jobs–we like that and so we like the Phoneshield.