Since the release of the Moto Z last year we have seen a steady flow of new Moto Mods building onto the extensible ecosystem that Motorola is building with their new modular phone strategy. So far we have seen Mods ranging from simple swappable backs to battery packs, full-blown cameras speakers and even a projector. The latest Moto Mod to reach Australian Shores is the Incipio Vehicle Dock, and we’ve spent a few weeks with it mounted in one of our vehicles.
Incipio Vehicle Dock Moto Mod Hardware
From a hardware perspective the Incipio Vehicle Dock Moto Mod, I’m just going to call it the Incipio Dock from here on out, is a Vent Clip style powered docking plate which both charge your phone, assuming it’s plugged into a USB C powered cable and send Audio back to your car via a 3.5mm Headphone jack included on the rear of the dock. Which is a bit ironic as the Moto Z, one of the compatible devices, doesn’t feature a 3.5mm connector.
The Car Dock includes to Moto Mod Pogo Pins along with a powerful magnet to both keep you phone connected and connected via and to the Dock. One of the standout features is the “butterfly wing” disconnection system. If you look on the side of the dock there are two “wings” when the phone is attached and you press these the phone automagically pops off the magnetised dock, no problems.
Unlike many Vent Clip style, car docks the Incipio dock’s clip mechanism is both easy to use (with the front plate removed) and has a sturdy grip. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of Vent Clip docks, however, if my previous experience with such docks had been this good I may not be so hard on them. The alligator jaws grip tightly and the thumb screw makes it easy to make sure you get enough tension on them.
The ball joint is strong and allows easy positioning of the dock in a fairly decent range of viewing angles with easy adjustment. The weak point of the set up for me was actually the vents in my car. Once the dock and phone were attached they were too weak to hold up the dock so I had to basically forfeit that vent. However with 80% of it occluded by the dock you kind of have to anyway.
I had hoped to get time to 3D print a replica ball joint that would allow me to attach it to a vehicle mounting plate I have. Unfortunately, with a 4-year-old and life in general, time is short and I never got the opportunity to design the thing, perhaps one day!
Incipio Vehicle Dock Moto Mod In Use
Using the Dock is simple, remove the current Moto Mod, be it a simple back plate or a fancy set of Speakers and pop it on the dock. You’ll get a satisfying magnetic pull from the dock as the phone zaps Jedi style from your hand onto the mounting plate. From there, bu default, Android Auto will automatically boot up! Yep, not interface nothing. Now if you have a screen lock Android Auto will run with the screen off until you authenticate, not a huge issue and in the end I paired it to my Bluetooth as a trusted device for automatic unlocking.
The inclusion of power and audio out made using the Car Dock extremely useful, especially with Bluetooth Headphones. As we all know Bluetooth is a white hot mess, and you never know how your phone will handle swapping between a headset to a car and back again. The Incipio Dock removes all of that uncertainty when you get into the car listening to your favourite podcast on your Bluetooth headphones [because the phone has no headphone jack :(] and drop the phone in the dock, the audio just switches over. When you remove it your headphones reconnect and you can start the audio again.
If the Incipio dock had a negative it would be that you basically can’t use a case as taking it on and off to use the dock may just drive you insane, but that is true of all Moto Mods not just this car dock. This made me think of a great mod, a protective mod that just wraps over the edges and protects the precision metal sides.
Incipio Vehicle Dock Moto Mod Conclusion
I’m a car dock guy, I have a custom dock in my car to hold my Pixel so I was immediately drawn to reviewing the Incipio Vehicle Dock as one I’m absolutely in love with the idea of Moto Mods, even if they are still finding their place in the world, and two I use Car Docks. The Incipio Car dock was a great addition to the Moto Z I reviewed it with, and it would be the same for any of the current and future Moto Mod compatible devices.
While I’m not a fan of Vent Clips, they also have their uses, I have a trip to NZ coming up and it would be super handy to be able to mount this in my rental car. However, with a little maker know (or some Shapeways searching) how and access to a 3D printer you could quickly adapt this for a more permanent attachment.
If you have a Moto Z or a Moto Z Play, of if you get one of the compatible devices released this year, and you like car docks I thoroughly recommend the $129.00 (currently on sale for $109.65) Incipio Vehicle Dock Moto Mod from the Motorola Website.