iBOLT Car Dock for Samsung Galaxy S3.

 

And here we have a look at the iBOLT car dock for the Samsung Galaxy S3. If you've used iBOLT docks in the past, you'll be pretty familiar with this one. It's sturdy in design, flexible in application, and it offers a safe and effective way to use your Galaxy S3 in the car, whether it's for navigation, communication, or just to keep things charged. 

Read on for some more thoughts on the iBOLT car dock for the Samsung Galaxy S3.

It's a little easy to overthink this dock, because there's a lot going on. But it's also a pretty simple endeavor. Mount the dock. Pop in the phone, plug in the microUSB charging cable into the back of the dock, the plug the shorter, attached cable from the dock into the phone itself. Flip down the hold-back bar at the top, and you're in business. A blue LED lights up to let you know you're charging, and your phone should automatically kick into car dock mode.

iBOLT Car Dock for Samsung Galaxy S3.

As with previous iterations of the iBOLT docks, you can mount this one top-down, from the windshield itself, or bottom-up, from the dash. If mount on the dash, you'll likely need to use the included adhesive disc so you'll have a smooth, flat surface to mount to. (And don't forget the alcohol wipe before you stick the disc to the dash.) The ball-and-socket joint gives a great deal of movement so you can get things just how you like 'em.

This isn't a small dock. iBOLT docks have always been a bit on the beefy side. But they're also plenty sturdy. And this one's got a lot of functionality built in. Out of the box, all you have to do is slide in your standard-issue Galaxy S3, and you're on your way. But what if you use a case? iBOLT's got you covered. There's an insert that you can pop out (it slides out vertically) to accommodate a thicker GS3. The dock also comes with some adhesive pads you can put on the dock to protect that case and ensure and even more custom fit. That's a nice attention to detail.

iBOLT Car Dock for Samsung Galaxy S3.

The dock comes with a somewhat ridiculous 9 feet of cable (that is, ridiculously awesome), and it's not just a microUSB power cord. There's also a 3.5mm jack attached to this thing, and you'll plug that into your car stereo's AUX port (if you have one). To get audio to output over the USB port, you'll most likely need to go into the dock settings on your phone, so don't freak out if it doesn't work out of the box. If you're not worried about having audio output and don't need that 9 feet of cable, any USB charger you already have should work just fine.

iBOLT Car Dock for Samsung Galaxy S3.

Another fun fact: The rear-facing camera is left wide open, and iBOLT's using that as a selling point, as you can record your journey as you see it from the car's cockpit. We've had issues with the video recording upside down, but that's fixable with a little software magic later.

Pros

  • A solid dock, with lots of motion
  • Relatively simple installation
  • Long (9-foot) cable adds flexibility
  • AUX audio output
  • Good instructions in the box

Cons

  • Not the sleekest of designs
  • You'll need to tweak some settings to get the audio output to work

The bottom line

 

iBOLT long has been a top name in vehicle charging and navigation docks for Android smartphones, and that trend continues with the Galaxy S3 dock. 

What you get here is a solid car dock that serves as a charging point as well as a way to easily get music from your phone to the car stereo via the AUX port. If you can overlook the slightly obtuse (but extremely functional) design, this one's a dock that should serve you well.

 

Reader comments

iBOLT car charging dock for the Samsung Galaxy S3 review

36 Comments

but being it charges via USB mean it can only charge 500 amps or what it's called at a time therefore spelling a really long time charging?

Am i right in assuming that the power button is not-accessible while in the dock? So I guess the screen stays on all the time?

The dock looks nice, but the combo charging/audio cable is what really caught my eye. Where can I pick up just that cable?

Me too, after seeing this, I searched around and couldn't find anything available stand-alone. I'm interested in the dock as well but would love an extra one of these cables!

I have been using the iBOLT for S3 for several weeks now.
A few other tidbits...

The good:
- Solid and well built with various ways to install in vehicle.
- Holds phone securely.
- Pipes S3 sound through car stereo (except phone calls).

The bad:
- No access to power button.
- Auxiliary cable / connection does not pipe phone calls through car stereo. When
placing or receiving a call the S3 speaker phone is activated.
- It is a minor bitch to connect the USB charging cord...and you have to do this
every time you get in and out of your vehicle.
- A little pricey, get in on sale...keep your eyes open.

Conclusion:
Falls a bit short in 2 areas; having to manually plug in and out each time and no auxiliary function for phone calls.
In other words any other dock that holds your phone and requires manual plug-ins would be fundamentally the same.

Hi "Seattle". We at iBOLT would also want the sound from the phone calls to come through the microUSB port, just as the aux-out (sound from all applications including ring signal) does so the sound from phone calls would also be piped straight into the car-stereo speakers using the 3.5 mm aux-in port. However, this has nothing to do with the Dock as it is a function of the phone. Motorola has been doing a great job on their phones by setting up their software so the audio from the phone call is also going out to the car-stereo speakers and the microphone on the phone can be used for hands-free calling. The Samsung doesn't have this feature and they don't provide any noise or echo cancellation either in the phone so it can not be used effectively as a speaker phone while in the dock. It kind of requires that you use a Bluetooth solution for making and receiving phone calls.

The plug-in of the microUSB on the side is designed so it would work with a wide variety of cases but as you correctly point out, a "slide-on-to-the-connector" feature would be nicer but the trade-off would be case compatibility... The access to the power button will be fixed in a future version so it's a valid point. We have a "dim screen" solution coming soon through a software solution. We'll post it to this thread when available. Well, life and product development can be a mixed bag of trade-offs:-) Thanks a lot for buying our product!

Let me get this straight. If I want audio out (to listen to music, say) I need to put the phone in the cradle, plug a power cable into the phone, and plug the 3.5mm cable into the phone, too? Is that right?

Too much trouble. I understand you can't solve the audio out problem, but I won't buy one until at least the power connection is automatic.

Nice try, but thanks, no thanks.

Wrong! All audio from the phone is piped through the microUSB connector and routed to the AUX into your vehicle. The only sound that is NOT piped through the microUSB on Samsung devices is an active phone call. Due to hardware restrictions this will play through the rear speaker. If you want a phone call's audio to be piped into the vehicle AUX, then you would need to plug in the 3.5mm jack into the phone. Music, Navigation, etc all work through the microUSB plug as advertised.

Doc is Nice... but it's just too much. I like my Docks to be as simple as possible. Right now I have the Ottie One Touch for my GS3.

I have the same. It works well. I use BT for audio so no wires. This with Custom Car Home has been very nice. I highly recommend it.

Otterbox Defender case on your Galaxy S3 will not fit on this mount.
Otterbox Commuter case, will fit fine.

That drives me crazy, I bought my Otterbox Defender, the 2nd day I had my S3.
Grrrrr.
I ended up with an Arkon mount that is meant for the Galaxy Note.
that will fit, but I will need to plug in 2 cables.

I'm going to contact them about Galaxy Note development as I want this dock. I do question whether this charger shorts pins 2&3 so my Samsung phone can fast charge, though. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

Meh. I'm waiting on a dock that does inductive charging and who's audio is done via bluetooth so there is only one cable for power.

Silicon Addict, we're keeping a close eye on the wireless charging development using inductive or conductive coupling. The challenge has been so far that we want a dock to work with cases and usually this "wireless" charging presumes you have a "touching point"...

Hi MiKaelPe,
I just bought this dock and it doesnt always play music through the car speakers when I'm using the default Music Player that came already in the phone. Its called "Sound Alive" music app. Now, If tell S Voice "PLAY MUSIC" it will go to the music player and it will get sound for a brief second through my speakers and then it just reverts quickly to the phone speakers itself once the app screen pops up. But ultimately, it doesnt happen when I play music through Google Play. For example If I start a song with the Sound ALive widget it will play just fine. But if I tap the widget and go to the main app interface it will revert back to playing through the phone. But get this. If I fast skip to the next song it usually starts playing through the car speakers again. So I dont know if its the the pre-installed music player or the dock. Can I change the default media player on my Samsung so when I tell it to play music it will play through a better player than the one thats on the phone already? Could I just get a better player from the apps store? Is this a normal issue. Please help?

Over all I do like it. Been using it for a few weeks now. my only grips are. 1. And this is because Samsung put the volume controller on the Left side, It forced IBolt to put the conector on the left side, and you just can't do it easily with your left hand, Also the menu butons are on the left and I am right handed so that difficult. Now though it lets you use a USB plug , I recommend plugging into a USB converter on a regular charger as it will not charge your phone on USB alone and use the AUX cable. Your phone will be DOA after a long drive. the AMPS are just not there on the regular USB port.
I do love the fact I can take out a try and use the dock with my Otter box case.

I would love to know if you have the Otterbox Defender, did it fit.
As per the iBolt web site, only the Otterbox Commuter fits this dock,
but not the defender.

I cant see anything good happening with this much weight on your vent fins.
not a stable connection, you will get a lot of bounce on the mount.

I notice it says it automatically goes into car dock mode, is there a manual setting for this or is there some type of magnet that turns this on like the Motorola?

The iBolt car dock also works just fine with the Galaxy SII, that's S 2 despite some negative (let's say misinformed press) :)
Edit: Yes, I aware it's an S3 promo but the Galaxy SII from US Cellular or an Epic 4G Touch Model# SCH-R760 fits in the dock perfectly.
The power button is not accessible once docked but the phone stays awake while docked and on charge. If you find the screen on constantly annoying when driving at night, you can simply unplug the charge cable and the screen goes blank, then just plug the cable back in (or use a seperate switch)and swipe the screen and your back in business.
Also records video while in the dock and connected.
Again the Otterbox Defender does not fit in this dock but the Otterbox Commuter fits just fine.
Advertized as suitable for all phones up to 2.5mm thick, thats' pretty impressive as 2.5mm equals 3/16 of an inch, that's a thin phone. At 25mm or 2.5cm = 1 inch, well that's not correct either. So I dunno.

Supplied cable connects audio to the car stereo 3.5mm jack for music and apps but sadly does not run your phone calls to the stereo, for that you'll need a seperate 3.5 audio cable to the headphone jack to have the phone and music running at the same time and the S2 will cut out the music for phone calls or notifications and then right back to the music once the call is over. Sweet! The HTC Bluetooth Adaptor may work with the phone to the stereo but for $50/60 bucks, for now, a 5 dollar audio cable works fine. Have to route the charging cable under the dash anyway, what's an extra cable.
Most secure set up I have seen for the price and setting it up next to the open drivers windows is no problem and it's solid enough that it doesn't move when driving on bumpy rutted gravel roads or railway tracks.
Supplied cable charges fast with the correct dc adaptor. I have it playing music and google maps all day while charging and the S2 stays at near 100% the whole time.
A little bulky but very sturdy and it does block some vison of the windscreen depending on your choice of location but you get used t it. Some states don't allow anything to block the windscreen, see beware.
Highly recommended.
Next model version should have direct plug in docking without the cable.

Hey iBolt this thing is junk. PURE JUNK. I have had two of these fail due to the 90 degree usb adapter on the dock. The first broke right out of the box at the Verizon store. The second broke in about 2 months. When I inspected it the 90 degree adapter was loose and a wire connecting to it was disconnected. The dock itself is decent. Btw Motorola has far superior docks for their phones. The droid 2 dock worked perfectly for 2 years and was way easier to put the phone in. I mean the whole idea of plugging in the adapter to the phone was bad design from the beginning. If you want me to work for you and show you how to make a better product we can talk. As it is I would not accept a replacement part if you tried to send me one. THAT ADAPTER IS JUNK until the usb adapter is redesigned. As it is it will always be the failing point. That or the mini usb female port on the bottom of the dock. Both will fail too fast. For the price those parts are very cheap.

Good Day,

I just updated my cellphone to the android version 4.1.1, since then my ibolt car dock doesn't work. It doesn' t charge the battery nor recognize the device.

Please help me out as the car mode is the only reason I bought the Samsung S3.

Ps. The device was working perfectly before the update. I live in the Dominican Republic.

I just got this dock yesterday and have a question, when you plug the phone in and it goes to docking mode the only two default apps that appear is S Voice and Verizon Navigation, is there a way to make Google maps one of the defaults on the list? Other then that question I am loving the dock

Edit: I also tried using the usb port to put my sound through the car speakers since my car doesn't have a 3.5 aux jack and can't get the sound to come through even though I had the aux button change to it.

How do you change setting for the docking mode? Especially the camera flip... I love that you can record the driver view but mine is flipped upside down.

Unfortunately Samsung have changed the PIN-out on the Jellybean 4.1 International version so car-mode is no longer supported. As a consequence any car-dock, ours or OEM does not work properly anymore. For anyone with a US carrier based phone it's not a problem but for International users (including unlocked phones in the US) we are asking that you fill out the contact page "warranty" issue on the www.ibolt.co home page and we will offer a solution in a couple of weeks. We are sorry about this from iBOLT but this is all Samsung changing the pin-out...

I just found this review. I am having problems with my iBOLT and my new S3. It brings up the Page buddy screen but I want to replace it with a more useful car dock app. I downloaded one to try and it won't work at all. Someone told me there is some issue with the kernel - that it's disabled by default. Why would that be?

Thanks.