Hey guys, after reviewing the Convert combo
last month, Seidio asked me if I wanted to review their Desktop Charging Cradle. So of course I said yes! Three days later and this little box shows up in front of my door.
The product was delivered by Fedex, and the package included the desktop charging dock, a USB to micro-USB cable, and a micro-USB to wall travel charger. Seidio sells the Desktop Charging Cradle for $29.95 and the Desktop Charging Cradle Kit for $39.95 online. As far as I can tell, the inclusion of the travel charger is the only difference between the two, so you'll have to decide if the price difference is worth it to you.
The box that holds the dock fits very snugly into the cardboard box, so I'm not worried about movement during shipment. Inside, the dock was wrapped in a soft Styrofoam type bag, which isn't the best type of material for absorbing shock. But again, since there isn't much room for movement, I wouldn't be worried about it.
Nicely packed and straight to the point
Before putting the product to use, I gave every part a quick check. Everything looked good and the box did not show any sign of damage during shipping.
Moving right along, we have the charging cradle from Seidio. It feels nice and solid in the hands. There's a certain heft to it, which is preferable for a desktop dock that isn't supposed to be moving around. Although the dock feels lighter than the Evo 3D, the build quality is excellent, and the rubber feet on the bottom are grippy and prevent it from sliding or moving around.
The rubber feet are nice and grippy
Seidio made the desktop dock to be compatible with the bare phone as well as a number of their cases. Their website lists the Surface, Surface Extended, Active, and Active Extended cases, and extended life batteries as compatible with the dock. This is achieved through the use of the attachment plate, which is basically a piece of plastic to decrease the space available for use with the bare phone.
You use it if you don't have a case on your phone, and remove it when you do. Simple.
It simply sits in the cradle. Put it in or remove it based on your situation
Here's where I wish Seidio had paid more attention to detail. Using the case with my bare phone and with the attachment plate, everything fit snugly and securely. But using the dock with my Surface case, there was definitely room for movement, as you can see in the picture beneath. I'm guessing this is because they had to make the dock compatible with a variety of cases, but even so, I worry about the potential damage to the micro-USB port over the long term because that is the only point of connection to the dock. But being a desktop product, I don't think most people will move around the dock too much. When seated on the table or night stand, the phone rests securely. So as long as you don't move around your phone a lot while connected to the dock, or fiddle with it, there shouldn't be any problems.
You can see the movement in the above pictures; Only happens when using the Surface case and isn't a big problem if you don't move it around too much.
I didn't test the dock with Seidio's extended battery packs. But according to Seidio, the dock is also compatible with their 3000mah (Amazon only), 3400mah, and 4000mah extended batteries using Seidio's back cover.
As mentioned above, the charging cradle has great build quality and a very solid feel. If I had to nitpick I would say the top is too glossy and attracts fingerprints very easily.
Once you plug the phone into the charging dock, it automatically goes into dock mode. Dock mode works in either horizontal or vertical position, but you'll only be using it in the horizontal position with the desktop dock (duh).
In desktop mode, you get a nice little shrunk down version of HTC's superclock to the right, which shows you the time, location, and the current temperature. On the bottom right corner you have a little area that shows you feeds based on your Friendstream, and the first upcoming event.
I like the live background showing the current weather, but it would be great to have the option of changing it to one of HTC's lock screen variants (like the stock market or something).
On the bottom you have the option of going into photo frame, connected media, and calendar. Photo frame and calendar does exactly what you think it does, so no need to go into details here. Connected media lets you play music and videos you have on the phone, and transfer files when connected to another device.
If you choose to plug the dock into your computer instead of the wall, you get prompted to just charge the device, or mount it as a disk drive. And if you have HTC Sync installed on your PC, it'll sync the content and contacts with your phone.
You can dim the display whenever you like by pressing on the little sun icon on the bottom right corner, and exit the dock mode by pressing the icon on the bottle left. When you want to re-enter desktop mode, you can open the app in your apps drawer.
Overall I feel that the Seidio charging dock is a solid product. The base is well constructed, and the light up Seidio logo on the back is a nice touch. The base stays put on the desk, thanks to its rubber feet, and when using the attachment plate to dock the bare phone, everything fits snugly. The included travel charger is nice when you don't have a computer or USB-wall adapter handy, and the sync function via HTC Sync is nifty as well (but you don't need the dock for that, just a USB cable).
My only complaint with the product is that fit could've been better when using it w/ the Surface case. As it is now, there is some room for movement while docked. But as long as you don't fiddle with it intentionally or shake it really hard, gravity tends to keep things down (yes really) and keep the phone sitting securely in the dock.
I would've loved for Seidio to have added a speaker to the dock like the various ones they have for iPhones. The speaker on the Evo 3D isn't the greatest, and a speaker on the dock to amplify the alarm in the morning would've been very welcomed.