gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

iPhone 3Gs/3G Desktop Charge And Sync Cradle

Tis the season to be jolly, or at least the aftermath by the time this article is published. I suspect many of you by now are in possession of a shiny new iPhone 3Gs, or have been handed down an iPhone 3G if a significant other, friend or family member has upgraded.

With the iPhone 3Gs likely ending up in so many new hands this Christmas, it’s never been a better time to look at iPhone Accessories, and with the stock Apple cradle being a little expensive I’ve chosen to cast my eye over a £9.95 bargain, the iPhone 3Gs/3G Desktop Sync And Charge Cradle over at MobileFun.

For your paltry £9.95, or half the price of the official 3G dock, you get a fair amount of bang for your buck. Sure, it may not be as attractive as the official Apple alternative, but it does use a generic Mini USB connection (handy!), supports your iPhone a lot more significantly, and even has a Mains->USB adaptor for charging when you don’t need to sync.

The customer reviews say it all, but they’re not always entirely trustworthy- so let’s give it a try and see.

First up, the generic USB connection is extremely handy. I always seem to completely destroy my Apple sync cables… it’s fair to say that Apple have a history of being hopeless at making robust cables. I’m not saying I don’t abuse mine, but they should be designed to take abuse. The benefit of a generic Mini USB connection on the cradle itself is clear, you can easily and very cheaply replace the cable if it wears out and, more importantly, should you want a longer cable then you can simply swap it out. You can also use pretty much any generic mains to 5v Mini USB adaptor with the cradle. Aren’t standards gear?

Next up, the build. The device is no looker, but it’s built incredibly solidly and is endowed with a lovely blue LED. All LEDs should be blue, they complement the LED christmas lights with which I chose to back-light our iMac.

Its stout, form blends into near invisibility on my white desk, and remains inoffensive despite not being as refined as the Apple alternative. To its credit it’s also black and thus matches the front of all iPhones a little better- despite being matte rather than gloss.

On the down side, the tight fit of the case doesn’t allow for a case which is a pain if you make use of the Otterbox, or similar bulky cases. In these circumstances you’re just going to have to use a regular cable if you don’t want to be removing the case from your iPhone. The benefit of this is that the iPhone can’t tilt back far enough to damage the universal dock port but it’s a matter of preference and your choice of case that make this a dealbreaker or not.

Rubberized feet keep it securely on your desk and the Mini USB cable can be easily and quickly pulled out of the back for use with any number of other Mini USB compatible devices you might have lying about that need syncing or charging. Altogether, this method doing away with the standard dock connection is a good thing and clearly makes this dock better than the standard Apple one, and at half the price it is surely one of the iPhone Accessories you should pick up for your brand new 3Gs.

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009, iPhone.