The CoulVue ($79.99) by TouCoul is an iPad mount that attaches to a car headrest so that backseat passengers can view movies, play games, or work on the iPad. Two versions of the CoulVue are available: one for the original iPad and one for iPad 2. The two mounts are essentially the same, except that the iPad 2 mount works with the Smart Cover and allows use of the back-facing camera.
The CoulVue is packaged simply. When you open the box, you find the one-piece CoulVue, a hex wrench, brief instructions, and warranty information.
Installation is easy. Unfasten the two screws to release the back part of the mount. Position the two pieces on either side of the headrest and screw them together.
I had to do a few gymnastics in order to keep the CoulVue in place while I screwed the plates together, but installation took only a few minutes. Having another pair of hands would make it go even more quickly. TouCoul indicates that the CoulVue should fit most headrests, as long as they have two visible steel rods connecting to the seat.
Once you have the unit installed, you can configure it pretty much any way you want.
The CoulVue has four joints allowing you to extend it out to the front (up to 10 inches) and to the sides (up to 4.5 inches) easily. It also retracts completely. The frame holding the iPad can turn 360 degrees, so you can use the iPad in portrait or landscape mode, and you can tilt the screen up or down. If you have more than one munchkin sitting in the back seat, you can position the CoulVue between the two front seats so everyone can view the iPad.
The CoulVue is made of durable, thick plastic and seems very well constructed. The iPad mount attaches securely simply by popping the iPad into the four corners. Each corner has a reinforced edges that lock the iPad into place. The mount has a soft-coated inner lining which protects the iPad from scratches.
The CoulVue is a wonderful solution for people who want to use the iPad as a hands-free entertainment device for backseat passengers. Its configurability makes it accessible to one or more passengers, and the ability to rotate and tilt the iPad allows users to get the best possible visibility. The fact that it retracts completely also means that it stays out of the way when you’re not using it.
I don’t have any complaints about the CoulVue. It is well constructed and does exactly what it was designed for. It doesn’t work with any third-party cases, although, as stated above, you can use it with the Smart Cover for iPad 2. You will want to make sure you remove your iPad when you’re not in the car, since (a) it will be a target for thieves, and (b) you don’t want to expose it to temperature extremes. As with any attachable/detachable items in a car, I’m a little concerned about what might happen in the event of an accident. Would the iPad swing forward and hit the occupants? Could the CoulVue unit break off and become a projectile? Alas, such worries reflect my obsessive motherly nature. I also worry about Yellowstone’s Super Volcano exploding while we visit. So, there you go.
I’m very impressed with the CoulVue, and we’ll definitely be using it in our truck on our next camping trip (just maybe not to Yellowstone).
We have one CoulVue for iPad 2 that we’ll be giving away soon here on Macgasm, so keep an eye out for it!
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