June 30, 2008

Review: Griffin PowerDock2 for iPhone(s) and iPod(s)

Few weeks back, Griffin Technology announced PowerDock chargers which allows you to charge from 2 to 4 iPhones and/or iPods at once. There are other solutions for charging multiple i-Devices (ie. buy a second wall charger or a music/speakers dock from Altec Lansing or Bose) but none of which provides the sleekness of PowerDock stations (MSRP $49-$69) with its low-profile aluminum design with minimal cord exposure. I received a PowerDock2 review unit from Griffin (thanks to Jeniifer L. at FortyThreePR for the arrangement), you'll find my review below.

A lot of people may wonder why is it necessary to charge two iPhone s and/or iPods at once, instead of taking turns. I have two answers for that: 1). in some scenarios such as preparing for a trip for the next day, it's nice to be able to simultaneously charge two or more devices at once and 2). Family members - if you have a growing family, chances are you will have a few iPods and iPhone(s) amongst Mom, Dad, Kids and visitors fighting for the one charger you have. For the most part, iPods don't even come with a wall-charger anymore. These scenarios will make you wish you had a PowerDock in hand.

The PowerDock2 packaging is no non-sense; as soon as you open it, the PowerDock reveals itself along with power charger and six ipod adapters/inserts which provides a perfect fit to all iPods (and iPhone) up to date. Although in two weeks, the iPhone 3G will very likely require a new adapter insert. Regarding to the inserts, I have a couple of complaints: 1). Once installed, it is hard to remove due to its smooth/curvature design. I had to use a toothpick to pry it out after I installed the wrong size insert; it would have been nice to label each insert for its dedicated iPod generation. 2). With the insert in place, it is a real tight fit; which means you'll really have to push your device down to get a good flush connection thus charging. As for me, I decided to leave the inserts completely out to make charging an easier task (warning: if you don't have a proper adapter-insert in place, you are taking a chance of snapping off the connectors in the event you push your iPod/iPhone forwards or backwards, consider yourself warned!). A benefit of leaving the inserts off is the ability to charge an iPhone with a sleeve on them, ie. Griffin ClearBoost or Wave (see picture); this is very handy more so than any other dock on the market today. Kudos to Griffin Technology on this design!

Overall, I am very pleased with Griffin PowerDock2's design and quality; it has a very low profile which can blend into most modern homes. If I can add one more feature, it would be adding more connectivity (ie. two sets of an auxiliary output and USB/data ports for syncing) on the back of the PowerDock; this feature would be handy for people with a nice stereo system.

Please find a slide show for unboxing and product images below (or click here to view album):

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