When you think of industrial design, Italy and a sleek modern aesthetic often comes to mind. Walmec S.p.A., in the Sarano suburb of Conegliano, is better known for their spray gun technology than mobile platform widgets. That hasn’t stopped then from leveraging their manufacturing expertise and a good bit of clever design sense to create an innovative mounting system for mobile devices. Here in the US, the Walcom division handles the five members of their Tetrax line, all designed to secure mobile handhelds in a variety of environments.
Their Tetrax XWAY is a removable mount for handheld hardware, while their Tetrax FIXWAY is a tiny version intended for more permanent placement most anywhere on your dashboard without marring the surface. In the photo above, the XWAY is hiding behind the GPS at left, while the FIXWAY is barely visible at right.
For this review, I received an XWAY housed in a little blister pac. The XWAY is a metal reinforced x–shaped moulding, about the length of a AA battery, with strong magnets embedded where the arms meet. On the back is a “beak” with two jaws that open and close as you twist a collar on the front. This is basically a small, locking pliers and it allows you to open the jaws, grip an aircon vent blade, and bite down to hold the XWAY in place. The jaws are lined with soft plastic so nothing gets damaged in the process. You can loosen the collar, and move or reposition the XWAY any time you like.
The key to the whole Tetrax system is the magnet assembly in the middle of the X. Those four gold plated neodymium alloy magnets, visible above, are laid out with alternate polarities opposing each other. This layout cancels the overall magnetic field they produce and also gives the entire system a better attractive strength, providing 750 grams or a bit over 26 ounces of holding power. That’s about three times what even the burliest GPS handheld weighs so, once you stick it onto the XWAY, your Emily or Bob or whatever you call your GPS isn’t going anywhere until you decide to move it.
Along with the XWAY itself, four small ferrous metal discs are supplied for attaching to your mobile widgets. They have a special 3M structural adhesive that allows you to place, remove and reposition the discs without marring your precious phone or iPod’s surface. Walcom even supplies little alcohol wipes to prep things before attachment.