July 19, 2024

Vagmare.com

The Intersection of Information and Insight

Neat NFC Features, but Way Overpriced

6 min read

Key Takeaways

  • The Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 securely attaches to your dashboard vent and charges your iPhone wirelessly with MagSafe technology.
  • The unique feature of the car mount is the three built-in NFC tags that allow you to launch Shortcut actions.
  • Despite the innovative features, the car mount is overpriced and could be easily replaced with Siri or stick-on NFC tags.


The Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 securely fits your dashboard air vent, magnetically grabs your phone, charges at up to 18W, and even features three built-in NFC tags that you can switch between. Unfortunately, while it sounds like the perfect MagSafe car mount, Pitaka charges a premium for an accessory with numerous drawbacks and a missing power adaptor.

Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2

The MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 secures well to any vent with a ratcheting clamp, and the MagSafe pad keeps your iPhone attached and charging wirelessly. Uniquely, a toggle switch lets you swap between three built-in NFC tags, allowing you to launch your Shortcut actions. Unfortunately, these aren’t enough to justify the high price, and could be easily replicated with either Siri or some sticky NFC tags. 

Attachment method
Ratcheting vent clip

Phone size
Any Magsafe iPhone

Adjustable angle?
Yes

Pros

  • Secure attachment
  • MagSafe works well even on bumpy roads, and keeps charging
Cons

  • No carport USB adaptor included
  • NFC tags are hardcoded with a URL, and need a third party app to erase them
  • Far too expensive for what’s offered

What’s in the Box?

pitaka ezmag car mount pro 2 - box contents
James Bruce / MakeUseOf

Inside, you’ll find the MagSafe mount, separate swivel ball vent attachment, two rubber cable clips, and a USB-C to C cable.

Note the absence of an actual carport/cigarette lighter adaptor. It’s just assumed you have a USB-C port somewhere on your dashboard. I don’t—and my car isn’t that old (a 2014 Mitsubishi Outland PHEV). Luckily, I had an older charger that came with my now broken dashcam, but even so. The fact that neither an alternative cable for a USB-A port nor an actual 12V car port charger is included in a $60 car mount is baffling. So you may need to factor in another $10 cost for a USB car power adaptor.

Fitting the Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2

pitaka ezmag car mount pro 2 - detail of mounting system
James Bruce / MakeUseOf

The MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 features a secure ratchet clip. Just put it into a straight air vent, make sure the red hook can grab onto one of the vent leaves, then turn the ratchet to tighten it.

pitaka ezmag car mount pro 2 - fitting detail
James Bruce / MakeUseOf

I had some trouble getting the clip to latch on, and ended up having to fit it upside down, but it was secure regardless. This terminates in a ball head, which the EZMag mount clicks onto, giving you full freedom to adjust the angle.

pitaka ezmag car mount pro 2 - two versions for tesla and everything else
James Bruce / MakeUseOf

This is the universal version of the mount, but Pitaka also sells a Tesla Model 3/Y version because, of course, a Tesla has unique air vents.

NFC Actions

pitaka ezmag car mount pro 2 - nfc switch orange
James Bruce / MakeUseOf

The main unique feature of the Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 over any other generic MagSafe car mount is the inclusion of three switchable NFC tags. Each can be assigned a different Shortcut or Automation, but switching between each can be a bit fiddly if you have fat fingers, like I do.

pitaka ezmag car mount pro 2 - nfc switch left blue
James Bruce / MakeUseOf

You’ll need to stick your fingernail in there and toggle the inset switch. You can see at a glance which one is currently set, as the color will change; red, white, then blue, on the left, center, and right, respectively. Each one is a unique tag that can be assigned a different action.

By default, each NFC tag is programmed with a URL pointing toward the Pitaka website.

pitaka ezmag car mount pro 2 shortcuts screenshots - nfc tag has a url

Assigning these actions is suprisingly easy, using the built-in Shortcuts app on iOS. Android offers similar functionality, though I haven’t tested it there.

Shortcuts can be powerful tools, performing a string of unrelated tasks, waiting for user input, and adjusting key system settings; but they can also be completely useless, depending on what app you want to interact with. For instance, I had hoped I could program an NFC tag to open Spotify and start playing my favorite Lo-Fi playlist. I got as far as “open Spotify.” Neither Play nor Play a specific playlist are supported within Spotify.

It’s not entirely clear who’s at fault here, but given there’s a whole bunch of apps that are supported by Shortcuts and Automation, my guess would be lazy Spotify developers. Opening up the app is better than nothing, I suppose.

I also added a Shortcut that would open Maps and add a new destination for Home. Apple’s native apps have much better support, of course.

Still, given the high cost and the fact that the switchable NFC is one of the few standout features of the Pitaka MagSafe Mount Pro 2, it’s worth trying to create those Shortcuts or Automations before you buy this. And remember that you don’t really need NFC anyway: a Siri command is equally as functional.

Unfortunately, even after adding a shortcut to each NFC tag, it still insisted on showing the open website notification when the tag was tapped. This URL is hardcoded into the tag itself, and not required when triggering a Shortcut (which merely reads the ID).

There is a way to fix this without messing up your created Shortcuts: download the free NFC Tools app. You’ll find the option to Erase Tag in there under Other. Do this for each switchable tag, and the URL encoded will be removed. It’s a minor annoyance, and there’s no reason for this to be programmed in, anyway. The Pitaka instructions for setting up Shortcuts doesn’t say how to remove the URL either, so I can only assume they didn’t actually test these with an iPhone. From what I can tell, this isn’t an issue on Android, which overwrites any existing information when creating the Routine (the Android equivalent of Shortcuts).

Should You Buy the Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2?

pitaka ezmag car mount pro 2 - iphone mounted
James Bruce / MakeUseOf

The Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 is overpriced. I could almost forgive that if it included a suitable car port charger; but it doesn’t. The switching NFC tag functionality is a clever unique selling point, but certainly doesn’t justify the price, and can easily be replaced by voice commands anyway.

From a core functionality standpoint, it secures well to an air vent, and my iPhone happily sat magnetically there and charged using the power of MagSafe, even through the average bumpy Cornish lane. No issues there. But you’ll find competing MagSafe car mounts that can do that for half the price.

The question is then: do you want to pay twice as much for some NFC tags? If you’re desperate for that functionality (which can be cool—if the app supports it), then here are fifty NFC stickers for $13—print your own neat labels and plaster your car with them.

As it is, there’s little reason to recommend the Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 over any of the cheaper competitors. It’s not a flawed product—it just isn’t worth it.

pitaka magez car mount pro 2

Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2

The MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 secures well to any vent with a ratcheting clamp, and the MagSafe pad keeps your iPhone attached and charging wirelessly. Uniquely, a toggle switch lets you swap between three built-in NFC tags, allowing you to launch your Shortcut actions. Unfortunately, these aren’t enough to justify the high price, and could be easily replicated with either Siri or some sticky NFC tags. 

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