One of the things I’ve come to dread about traveling is figuring out how to get my phone at eye-level while driving a rental car. I’ve recently started using the inventive Nite Ize Steelie system, and now my old school car-model-specific cradle is being threatened with obsolescence.

Here’s how the Nite Ize Steelie Desk and Dash System works: A low profile, adhesive-backed rare earth magnet (it’s super strong) goes on the back of my phone case. The other half, a shiny steel ball with an attached, adjustable clip, fits on (any) automotive heat vent. I stick my phone to the ball, and it’s fully angle-adjustable.

The other variation, included in this kit, is a short metal stand with the same ball on top that can be used flat on a desk, or as a big handle to hold my phone. Again, the angle’s 100% adjustable, and the strength of the magnet means the phone doesn’t come off the ball until I firmly twist it away.

I was concerned about the adhesive on the back of the cup failing, but it stays on until pried away, leaving no residue; additional adhesive discs are available from Nite Ize. The rare earth magnet won’t harm electronics, but it understandably (and it says so right in the packaging) will destroy the magnet strip on a credit card, so keep your cards away from the system. While my wallet provides adequate insulation from this effect when phone and wallet are in my purse, the minute I forgot and had my phone and credit card together in a pants pocket, it was game over for the magnetic strip.

If you hate the idea of having the magnet-cup on the back of your phone all of the time (I didn’t find the bulk of it annoying or prone to snag on things), and just want to use it for travel, it’s simple enough to buy an inexpensive case for your phone and stick it on that case. Bonus: having a magnet on your phone can be really useful—stick it on your fridge, car, or any other ferrous metal surface.

Bottom line: A versatile, portable system for putting your phone at eye-level in virtually any vehicle, with an included pedestal for hands-free use of a phone or phablet.

Manufacturer’s Site: www.niteize.com
buy-now$69.99, available at Amazon, plus free shipping.