Native Union’s Dock+ is a beautiful third-party dock to prop up your iPhone/iPad to give it a charge while also using the screen as necessary. You’ve seen these types of docks before and may even have one beside your desktop, but Native Union approaches the dock with a few different goals in mind. If you want to compare this charger with a different option, you should also read our review of the PoweriSite (turns your DeWalt battery into an iPhone charger). Once your phone is charged, you’ll also want the Nova flash for iPhone.
The Dock+ is a modular, adaptable product made from weighted silicon and an aluminum back, with an included nylon-wrapped Apple Lightning charging cable. It also comes in three different shades to help match your work area more reliably. While we don’t have a best of roundup for charging docks published yet, we would put Dock+ at the top of our list for its sleek and durable hardware. Read on for our in-depth review. With this dock, you’ll also have to read our iPhone 5 review.
Price: $59.99 on Amazon
Available: Currently In Stock
Experience: More to the Dock Than Meets the Eye
Let’s start by talking about just how modular the Dock+ is: It comes in several different parts which you piece together to form the full, block-like dock, including insets for securing the cables that you run through the bottom of the dock to charge your iPhone.
Naturally this takes a little work to set up, which is off-putting in the beginning: We as consumers are used to buying a dock, plugging it in, and being finished. It’s a very different setup from the simple docks you can buy from Apple, for example – but after the initial learning period, the advantages of this setup become clearer.
First, the Lightning cable that comes with the dock is durable as well as detachable, so you can use this nylon-wrapped cable elsewhere if your old Lightning cables start to fray. It’s a small but useful touch that expands usability.
Second, the Dock+ has significantly more weight behind it than other dock models. The paperweight-like nature gives it a lot more stability, and keeps it from getting pushed around on a more hectic desk. That weight is complemented by the height of the dock, which rises an inch above the tabletop to make sure that you can view the screen more easily, and ideal setup when your phone needs to peek up from behind folders or other distractions.
The modular setup also has a couple other advantages. Because you essentially “plug in” the Lightning cable into the dock, there’s a lot of room for adjustment – pushing and prodding to get everything in the right place. That’s good news, because it allows you to set up the dock to work with a variety of different cases and covers. If the current position doesn’t quite work because of a thick case, a little bit of adjustment can often make things right.
That touches on the larger adaptability of the Dock+: sure, it’s specifically designed and shipped for Apple devices. But we don’t see what’s stopping anyone from replacing that Lightning cable with a similarly-sized charging cable from another type of phone, and using the Dock+ for that device instead. If you don’t have an iPhone but still want a weight, durable dock for your work, you can probably make this one work out.
Of course, these benefits also make the dock compatible with a variety of Apple devices. While marketed mostly for the iPad and iPhone, there aren’t many iOS devices that the Dock can’t handle, especially with the added weight to help keep devices steady – although you may have to remove the aluminum back to accommodate some of the larger devices.
Final Things to Consider
If you don’t have an iPhone dock and have decided that you need one, this Native Union model offers a few advantages compared to the traditional Apple dock, including extra weight and versatility. However, if you already have a dock then you may want to wait until the cable starts fraying to think about getting a new version. That being said, if your iPad is constantly tilting or falling due to weight problems, the Dock+ can handily fix that issue and save your temper.
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