Announced at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, the WindowSeat 3 HandsFree car kit is the latest generation of Griffin Technology‘s simple windshield or dashboard mounting kit for smartphones. So, how does it stack up to the previous releases and other products?

Like every other mounting kits, WindowSeat 3 is designed to provide convenient access to music controls, navigation data, and so on by placing your iPhone, iPod touch, or other smartphone within easy but not obstructing reach and view.

Compared to the original design, WindowSeat 3 exhibits big improvements in mounting your smartphone and the cradle to the window or dash. The newer design features a three-point adjustable bracket, far less segmented shaft system, and an audio output cable with integrated microphone. These changes help address smartphone compatibility and WindowSeat stability issues.

Looking at things more specifically, the bracket may only have three contact points, yet it’s far more adjustable. All three rubber cushion pads can be extended and retracted, allowing various smartphones to fit securely, even without removing protective cases. In fact, Griffin brags that the WindowSeat 3 has “generous” capacity, enough for their “massively protective Survivor cases.”

The bracket angle still relies on a swiveling ball-and-socket joint, however, the suction cup returns to the very common lever system for attachment and the shaft is no longer numerous segments. It’s a design that may not offer quite the positioning distance, but has more stability and is much easier to setup and manage.

An included accessory within an accessory package, the audio output cable with integrated microphone is a great addition to the kit. The cable isn’t a new product by Griffin, though it hasn’t been a standard part of the WindowSeat bundle. Connecting to the auxiliary input of newer automotive audio systems, the cable is a great way to output music, navigation directions, plus make handsfree phone calls and interact with Siri.

Overall, the WindowSeat 3 Handsfree kit seems like a solid option for anyone who can’t seem to put their iDevices down, even in the car, and don’t need every feature imaginable. Most notably, not having to worry about your iPhone case and having the audio cable included, along with the pure simplicity, help justify the somewhat higher price compared to other universal mounts.

The WindowSeat 3 HandsFree is available directly from the Griffin Store for $39.99. The package includes the WindowSeat 3 cradle, adhesive dashboard mount, auxiliary audio cable with integrated mic, and instructions.