Quad Locks! I loved using them close to a decade ago. I remember using them for running (upper arm grip), and of course, mounting phones on my bike. Then, I gradually stopped using them because of one reason – heft. Not that the mount itself was large (it is fairly thick) but rather having a large phone strapped on my arm or bike is really clunky – both in use and visually. So, why the change of mind? Just one reason – photography.
My S22 Ultra is my go-to camera in situations where I cannot use my trusty A7iii. This covers almost all outdoor sports activities. The S22 Ultra is a really good camera phone and it blows my GoPro out of the water with its picture quality. The problem is that it is huge in size. Pulling it out of my back pocket and shoving it back in is a hassle. In the lead up to Italy, I decided to return to the Quad Lock system so that I can take photos while pedaling uphill. I need the phone to be easy to reach, release and re-attach. Here’s how it went.
- Secure, easy on and off. Quad Lock continues to be strong at what it primarily does. Never had a worry about my phone being firmly locked in place even at high speeds. It was easy to remove the phone, snap photos and videos, and re-attach it. All done with one hand. I really liked how easy it was to get good photos in the thick of riding.
- Bike mount improved. First, it now works better with non curved stems. With aero handlebars and stems becoming the norm, it is timely that Quad Lock adapted its bike mount accordingly. I ordered a rubbery insert that sits beneath the convex bottom of the bike mount enabling it to sit snug on my stem which is flat at the top. The insert is stuck to the mount with provided double sided tape. It is very secure given that the entire mount is strapped tightly to the stem. Second, for those who need colours to be streamlined, you can swap out the blue collar of the bike mount to black – for an extra few bucks. Worth it visually.
- Case is good enough for daily use. I was quite tempted to keep using the case even when not on the bike. The case is thin, sits flush and the protruding back, which attaches to the mount, is not jarring. It is a well made, polished case. There are also no issues with wireless charging on non-Quad Lock chargers with this case on.
- Poncho works. It is not water proof but it is sealed tightly enough to work in rain. Good enough for me.
- Poncho degrades photo quality. The poncho is not fully transparent. This affects the photos as the phone’s camera lenses now have to shoot through this translucent layer. Unacceptable for shooting. This is unlike other waterproof cases that use very clear materials at the lens area to avoid this issue. The workaround is simple. Don’t use the poncho unless necessary. One is less likely to be taking photos and videos in the rain anyways.
- Still clunky. The Quad Lock mount is still fairly thick/tall. I wonder if they can make it smaller/flatter. But the biggest issue is not the mount, it is the giant slab of the S22 Ultra. Turns my aero bike into a clunky one. For this reason, I only utilise the mount when I want to capture high quality shots while riding. This is largely not the case for most rides, especially in Singapore. I swap to the GoPro for such instances.
Overall, the Quad Lock is great if you need quick access to your phone during rides. It is a fixture for me for overseas rides. It came in very handy for my trip to Italy. I do not use it much in Singapore because there is nothing much of note to capture on the bike, but those who do not mind the heft would probably have no qualms about leaving it on for the convenience.