I wanted a single cable to connect to my phone in the car for both charging and audio. This was for two reasons. First, I kept forgetting to charge my phone while driving. Second, bluetooth audio receivers kept failing me. Thus switching to a wired connection for audio – which also automatically meant my phone was charging – was the perfect solution.
I have an iPhone, so it needed to be a lightning cable. A few vendors now provide “charge and sync” splitters, but all the ones I found did the splitting very close to the phone. I did not want to deal with two wires running all the way to my phone, so instead combined the following.
- Apple iPhone Lightning Dock ($44.31)
These are the docks used to display iPhones in an Apple Store. They connect to the iPhone via lightning and provide both a lightning port (for charging) and audio out.
- 6 foot DockXtender Lightning Extension Cable ($19.95)
This lightning extension cable is long enough to reach from my phone (mounted next to my steering wheel) to the lightning dock (above), which I keep in the built-in storage bin between the front seats of my car. The end which connects to my phone is designed to fit most phone cases and works very well with my case.
- 3.5mm audio cable ($4.99)
Any male stereo audio cable would do. This connected the Dock to the aux in for my car (which happened to be inside the aforementioned built-in storage bin)
- ProClip mount with adjustable holder ($69.98)
Mounting the phone at eye level is helpful for navigation apps or for controlling music/audiobooks. This particular mount has worked very well for me. The upsides are (1) this attaches very firmly to the car, so any children, pets, etc., will not knock it out of place, and (2) the perfect fit means it’s very quick to slide my phone in and pull it out again. The downsides are (1) this is relatively pricey compared to other options and (2) my wife’s phone+case – a different size than my phone+case – doesn’t fit, so she can’t put her phone in this mount when she is driving my car.
I have been using this configuration for a year now (after many shorter-lived configurations without the dock, extender and mount) and this is by far the best setup I’ve tried. I expect I’ll stick with this for as long as my car will last.