Does it bug the bajeezus out of anyone besides myself that it seems to have become a trend for PDA manufacturers not to include a desktop cradle with their PDAs any longer? We as consumers spend hundreds of dollars on these devices only to be given a cheapo charging cable instead of a charging cradle. Such was the case when I spent around $600 for my PalmOne Treo 650 earlier this year. It only came with a cable. A clunky two piece cable to be exact. For charging, you are required to plug in the AC adapter cable into the docking connector. Not the most elegant solution, that’s for certain. Since PalmOne’s Treo cradle kit costs $60 and comes with a bunch of international power adapters that I’ll never use, I opted not to purchase it. Then when Seidio contacted me asking if I might like to review their cradle I was happy to say yes.
Cable / AC adapter that ships with Treo 650
The INNODock Desktop Cradle is a small plastic dome shaped cradle that comes in 3 colors (White, Blue and Silver). I was sent the Blue version which matches the color of my Sprint Treo 650 perfectly. Without the included USB cable, the cradle weighs in at 3.7 ounces and has a footprint of a 3 inch diameter circle.
This accessory is pretty simple. On the front there is the docking connector set into the base of the cradle, a charge LED on the front that glows green when the connected to a USB port on your computer and a hotsync button. The button is actually a contact that is under a rectangular flat plastic membrane sticker. The adhesive on this sticker must not be the best, because I often notice the corner popping up, thus requiring me to press it back down again. This type of button also lacks good tactile feedback.
On the back of the cradle there is a full sized female USB connector that you use to connect the included 41 inch black plastic USB cable. Next to the USB connector is a 3.5mm audio-out connector that can be used to connect headphones or external speakers for listening to music through your Treo. This is a cool feature given the fact that the Treo itself has a mini 2.5mm headphone jack built into it instead of the standard 3.5 mm size. Sound quality and volume through the audio-out jack are very good.
The bottom of the cradle has rubber feet so that the cradle pretty much stays put on your desk. That said, the cradle isn’t heavy enough that you can detach the Treo without holding on to the base.
Besides the audio out jack, the best feature of this cradle is spring loaded hotsync connector. This connector can pivot to allow you to connect the Treo even when housed in a wide variety of cases. I tried the cradle while the Treo was in the Brando leather flip case, Innopocket Metal Deluxe case, Innopocket Magnum case and Vaja iVolution case. With the exception of the Vaja case, all the others worked great with this cradle. Unfortunately, the leather on the bottom of the Vaja case was formed in such a way that it did not allow for the connectors to mate properly. Too bad as this is my favorite case to use with my Treo :o(
Treo without a case, Treo in the Brando leather flip case
Treo in the Innopocket Magnum, Treo in the Innopocket Metal Deluxe case
During my review period, I’ve had no issues whatsoever with charging and/or syncing my Treo 650 using this cradle with both my PC and my iMac G5. I like the fact that it looks good and only requires a USB port to both charge and sync. If you were annoyed that a cradle wasn’t included with your Treo, you will probably enjoy using the Seidio INNODock Desktop Cradle too.
Plug and play charging and syncing
Doesn’t require an AC adapter
Able to dock Treo while in a case
Hard to plug in or remove Treo with one hand
Hotsync button doesn’t have very good tactile feedback