Review: Scosche backSTAGE Pro headrest mount for iPad
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that kids suck. Especially on 16-hour road trips. I honestly don’t know how my dad didn’t kill my brothers and I on our childhood drive to Florida back in the days before iPods – we must have been SO annoying. Well, luckily today’s parents have a little something called an “in-dash DVD player” to hypnotize their children on extended car rides (although I see some “so-called” parents using it even for 5-minute trips to the grocery store). Unfortunately, those systems can add $3000-$5000 to the price of an already over-priced minivan, and let’s face it, DVD players couldn’t be more outdated or less versatile. These days, it’s all about having iPads in the car!
Scosche’s backSTAGE Pro headrest mount for the iPad $149.99 ($91.00 on Amazon)is pretty much the best thing that ever happened to a kid, or to a parent. It’s an easily removable, VERY secure and sturdy mount for your iPad which hooks on to the back of the headrest poles of your seats. The spacing of the headrest poles should not matter between vehicle models as the backSTAGE Pro’s mounts are easily adjustable with a few turns of the included hex wrench.
Once the mount is secured, you slide your iPad into the docking sleeve, and then slide the sleeve onto the mounting bracket. Because this docking sleeve is removable, it means if is easy to unhook your iPad from the mount so you can hide it under a seat or someplace when parking your car to avoid enticing any spur of the moment breaking and entering.
The mounting bracket does more than simply hold your iPad in place – it powers it as well. There is an included power cord that can attach to your car’s DC outlet (formerly known as the cigarette lighter) to keep your iPad charged while your precious children zone out blissfully behind you.
Likewise the mounting sleeve has a few tricks as well, including a built-in USB port for displaying images from a thumb drive, and the ability to beam the audio from the device to wireless IR headphones to minimize cord clutter. You can also connect a regular set of headphones to the headphone jack, or plug in a cord to your car’s AUX port if EVERYONE wants to hear the sounds of iCarly.
If the concept is at all confusing, check out this video Scosche made showing the whole process.
There’s a neat little magnetic clip on the backSTAGE’s power cord that you can use to help fasten it out of the way, and if you look at the photos I took you can see I sort of mounted it the bracket upside-down, as I should have flipped it the other way so the power cord went between the two driver’s seats vs coming out the right side of the passenger’s side and then having the cord snake across the passenger’s seat. Live and learn.
To be honest there’s absolutely nothing worth complaining about the backSTAGE Pro. However, I DID find there are imitations to the device depending on the way your car is set up and whether you’ve cranked out more than one kid. If you have only one child, then you are set – the backSTAGE will work great for you attached to either seat back and facing your child. However, if you have TWO kids, it’s another situation entirely, and may cause MORE annoying whining than it stops. The viewing angle of the backSTAGE’s mount can only tilt up and down, not side to side, which makes sense from a safety and security perspective, however, it means the kid sitting behind Mommy can’t see what’s playing on the iPad behind Daddy that their sister is watching. I suppose the ULTIMATE solution would be for something that could somehow mount between the two seats, and center the iPad, but that’s probably impossible given seat adjustability and the need to not have it kill someone in a crash. So here is the only real advantage to those built-in DVD player solutions and their center-mounted drop-down screens.
We happen to have a mini van, so our solution was to move the kids to the “way-back” and we were able to mount the backStage to the headrest on the center seat of the middle row (we have the 8-seat model). However we would normally need that “way-back” space on a REAL roadtrip to hold all the crap we tend to over-pack, so ultimately the kids either will have to take turns watching the iPad, or do as we did and unhook the clamp from the headrest, and just precariously balance it on top of the cooler we had between the front seat. Not ideal, and certainly not “crash test certified”, as is the CORRECT way to use the backStage Pro, but the kids didn’t complain. For once.
Scosche’s backStage Pro headrest mount for iPad is a great solution if you’re looking for a safe, secure way to easily use your iPad as your car’s entertainment system. Packed with features like built-in charging, IR headphone support, a USB port, and combined with a super-easy mounting and quick-release system, Scosche really nailed the iPad auto-mounting thing. The only issue I ran into had to do with the difficulties of TWO kids wanting to watch and not having a central headrest to mount to. Other than that, the backStage Pro is a dream.
Price: $149.99 ($91.00 on Amazon)
Pros: Sturdy, secure mounting ssytem for the iPad, easy to use, quick release, IR headphone support, USB port, charges the iPad while playing.
Cons: None significant