The Hyundai i20 smartphone dock… so close yet so far…

After dabbling with a “future classic” (the Audi A2) for 8 months, I have moved on to a much more conventional car – the Hyundai i20.

My reasons for buying it were almost exclusively logical. It fulfils more of my needs than anything else I could afford. My passion for the Audi didn’t really work out…

One feature of the i20 is an integrated smartphone dock. This seems to be a great idea – tap into your phone’s abilities as a sat-nav and music player, without having cables dangling all over the place and not-so-sticky mounts falling off the windscreen whenever you go around a corner.

But it has more than its fair share of problems…

IMG_2007

The dock itself is sturdily built and clips into a special socket on the top of the dash (which you can cover with a blanking plate when not in use). Even though it sits on top of the dash, it doesn’t obstruct my view forward (although if you are shorter or have your seat low it might).

There are a couple of buttons to adjust the fit around the phone. The button on the bottom allows you to adjust the support for width, while the button on the top releases a ratchet to open the whole mount to install/remove the phone.

Two battery connectors are supported – Micro USB and Apple Lightning (I believe USB is “standard” with Apple as an option).

And this is the first problem:

  • There is no support for USB-C

The holder will accept a phone up to 145mm in height. And this is the second problem:

  • Most modern phones are too big to fit

The i20 came out in late 2014, and the holder was obviously built for the flagship phones of that era – the only ones explicitly supported are the Samsung Galaxy S2/S3/S4/S5 and the Apple iPhone 5 & 6 (but not the 6 Plus).

My Moto G4 does not fit (far too big). Nor does my daughter’s Moto C (USB socket in wrong place).

Nevertheless I was keen to see if I could find a “cheap” way to use the integrated smartphone holder. I don’t like the Samsung phones in general, and even the old Galaxys are far from cheap, so I looked elsewhere, and bought the Google/LG Nexus 5 – a 2013 flagship.

It doesn’t fit either! (The USB socket is upside down).

I was going to leave my experiment at that, but then I got an eBay reminder for a Moto X (2014) that was going VERY cheap – so I put a silly low bid on it that had no chance of winning.

A few days later I received the Moto X in the post.

IMG_2005

The Moto X fits! (kind of). The USB socket won’t connect if the plug on the holder is inserted fully, however if you only push the USB in half-way, it will. Once you have got it in the right place, it does seem to stay connected when you drive around.

But… this is where the third (and perhaps most critical) problem appears:

  • The charge rate is really low

I’d say it is 0.5A at most. Which is understandable, as that is the original standard for a USB cable, and would be safe for anything.

The problem is, standards have moved on, and charging the Moto X at 0.5A isn’t enough to stop the battery from running out…

IMG_2004

Here is a shot of the Moto X “just running” with the screen on. It is using 848mA of current in this state.

IMG_2003

And here is a shot the the Moto X plugged in. See how the battery is coloured green but still has a status of discharging? The net mA flow is -365mA – basically, the extra 500mA coming from the USB port isn’t enough to offset what the phone needs to “just run”.

Even if you have a phone that fits the dock, the chances are that the battery will be flat before the end of a long journey anyway.

This makes it impossible to recommend – which is a real shame.

If Hyundai are reading this – I would normally make an appeal to you to support USB-C, and revise the mount to accept larger phones. But since the limited charge rate is almost certainly hard-coded into the car itself, there wouldn’t be any point…

(I’ll probably keep hold of the Moto X though… it’s a nice phone!)

2 thoughts on “The Hyundai i20 smartphone dock… so close yet so far…

  1. iPhone SE is great in the dock EXCEPT a number of Apps don’t work in landscape mode, most notable Apple Music which is quite annoying. I ended up using Caesium app which pulls from the Apple Music list but at least displays in landscape

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