Peak Design has made the stylish magnetic modular bike-mountable phone case I didn’t know I needed

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Peak Design, makers of one of The Verge’s favorite backpacks, has a new magnetic modular mounting system for your Apple or Samsung phone. The company’s launching a Kickstarter today with the intent to ship an entire range of accessories starting next May, including bike mounts, car mounts, wall mounts, motorcycle mounts, wireless chargers, even a sleek mobile tripod that folds up small enough to palm.

I’ve been playing with several of them over the past couple days — and I’m already wondering where I’ll find the money to buy my own.

The core of the system is the Peak Design Everyday Case. Yes, it’s covered in fabric, and yes, the mounting plate really is that small: that 1-inch square ring is made of zirconia rather than metal, which lets wireless charging more easily pass through, according to the company. (I’ve had no trouble charging so far.) Around that square is an array of hidden magnets.

Peak Design says it’ll only be making cases for the iPhone 12, iPhone 11, iPhone SE 2020 and recent Samsung phones to start, but you’ll be able to buy an adhesive-backed adapter for other phones too (see below). With those magnets, attaching to simple magnetic mounts, like the wall mounts and car mount below, is a snap:

Left: Universal Adapter. Center: Wall Mount (x2). Upper-right: Car Mount.

But with the right mount, that ring and magnets make for one of the most incredible self-aligning, self-locking gadget docking systems I’ve touched.

Some background: after my phone leapt off a bike mount a few years back, I thought I’d try a Quad Lock this time around. It’s widely considered one of the best you can buy, and — like Peak Design — it offers a huge ecosystem of mounts.

But Quad Lock mounts can be tricky to align. After five tries, this was my smoothest attempt at attaching the Quad Lock case to my bike with one hand:

Snapping the Quad Lock onto its bike mount.

With the Quad Lock system, you can’t easily see what you’re doing, you’ve got to find the right angle, and then push down hard — whereas Peak Design’s mount pulls you right in.

With the Peak Design case, I got it on the very first try… and every try after that.

Snapping the Peak Design onto its bike mount.

All of the mounts look solid, but this Bike Mount Pro is truly a cut above. During the tractor-beam-like docking procedure, two locking tabs pop right into the concave groove inside your square of zirconia, and then it’s really on there.

I repeatedly rode down a bumpy stretch of poorly-maintained asphalt at my local park, as well as over speed bumps and minor curbs, and my phone never once felt like it’d fall off. I wasn’t exactly mountain biking, so more testing is in order — but so far, the Peak Design system feels as secure as the Quad Lock despite looking a lot better and the case taking up noticeably less room in my pocket. After a bike ride, I can’t wait to get the Quad Lock case off my phone, partly because of this bulge:

Quad Lock vs. Peak Design case thickness.

Like other Peak Design products I’ve used, there are other smart touches throughout. Initially, I was wondering why Peak Design put the set screw on the opposite side of the mount from Quad Lock where it might easily fall out when tightening, but that fear was short-lived. Not only does Peak Design’s screw have a retaining washer, its design allows me to easily angle my phone up to capture a first-person view of my ride.

There’s also an included GoPro adapter:

Last week, I wrote how Apple’s modular MagSafe accessories could be the single biggest reason to buy an iPhone 12, but Peak Design believes many of its accessories should be compatible with MagSafe, too. While it can’t promise 100 percent compatibility, the company says Apple’s MagSafe charger and wallet should attach magnetically to Peak Design cases, and it says even accessories like the tripod and car mounts with their square bumps will be made compatible — though I wonder how well they’ll hold, and how those square bumps will fit.

I also wonder how well Peak Design’s fabric will hold up, the durability of that adhesive adapter needed for non-Apple and non-Samsung handsets, and which phones will still be able to use wireless charging with that adapter attached (the company warns some may not work). I wonder if Apple partners will come up with even better MagSafe accessories before Peak Design can manage to ship its crowdfunded goods, particularly if there are any delays. And I wonder if the company might consider adding a slot for Moment’s drop-in lens mounts and an Osmo Mobile 4 mount, because it feels like we’re this close to a really compelling go-anywhere mobile video system.

But mostly, I’m wondering whether I can afford to put a bunch of money towards phone accessories today.

Here are some photos of the other accessories in the lineup, and a set of prices.

Peak Design accessory prices

Product MSRP Presale price
Product MSRP Presale price
Everyday Case $39.95 $32
Universal Adapter TBD TBD
Out-Front Bike Mount $59.95 $50
Universal Bike Mount $49.95 $40
Mobile Tripod $54.95 $45
Car Mount $39.95 $32
Kickstand Wallet $49.95 $40
Mobile Creator Kit $39.95 $32
Wall Mount (2pack) $29.95 $16
Charging Car Mount $69.95 $58
Motorcycle Bar Mount $69.95 $58
Motorcycle Stem Mount $69.95 $58
Wireless Charging Stand $89.95 $72
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