ElementCase Vapor Dock for iPhone Review

Remember back when PDAs and iPods all came with a charging and syncing dock? These days all you get is a USB charging cable. Yes, I realize that a cable will get the job done, but they certainly lack in the decor department. If you’ve been wishing for a dock that will charge your iPhone in or out of a case, while also looking quite nice, the  ElementCase Vapor Dock is an option. They recently sent me one to test and it’s time for me to share my thoughts with you on this product.

Note: Click the images in this review to see a larger view.

Some of you may already be familiar with ElementCase. They offer a range of metal iPhone cases. My guess is that they created the Vapor Dock as an accessory to their cases.

The Vapor Dock is available in Black or Silver CNC Machined aluminum. It has a smooth sanded raw feel instead of a polished feel. I prefer a polished feel… but it’s not like I’m going to be spending all day caressing an iPhone dock, so I’m just being picky and it’s not a huge deal.

I’m not a stranger to 3rd party charging docks. I’ve been using a Zdock for awhile now. It’s pictured above on the right. It’s made of Zinc and weighs in at 12.6 oz. The Vapor Dock weighs 9.0 oz. on my electronic scale.

The Vapor Dock has a chunky but minimalistic style. I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t have a gaudy logo or other flashy branding. There’s just a small stylized E for ElementCase in the lower front corner.

Here’s a side view. You’ll notice the white 30 pin cable in the large slot. The slot is sized to accommodate an uncased iPhone or an iPhone in a case. Using a set of calipers, the size of the slot is approximately 2.74 inches long by .51 inches wide.

You’re probably wondering about the purpose of the suede lined tray in the back. I am too. It’s not really large enough to be useful. It’s almost like they were considering making a double dock.

The Vapor comes with a White cable installed in the dock. If you need / want to remove the cable, you’ll need a special tool as the screws holding the cable in place are star shaped.

The Vapor Dock has a special feature that amplifies the sound from the iPhone’s speakers without requiring batteries. Air chamber cutouts in the bottom of the docking slot capture and then guide the sound from the phone’s speakers through the front of the dock. Although it won’t make your jaw drop, the dock really does amplify the sound.

The Vapor Dock looks nice and I had no problems using it to charge and sync my phone with my computer.

The only issue I had is that the dock is just not heavy enough. If you remember, at the beginning of this review, I mentioned that I’ve been using a 12.6 ounce Zdock. The Vapor is 3.6 ounces lighter. Those extra ounces are really important. With the Vapor, I can easily insert the iPhone with just one hand. But to remove it, I have to hold the base of the dock with one hand, while removing the iPhone with my other hand. If I try to remove the iPhone with just one hand, the dock will lift off my desk. I don’t have this problem with the Zdock.

Although the ElementCase Vapor Dock is a solid dock with a nice look and a sound amplification feature, I wouldn’t care to use it after having used the Zdock with its 1-hand removal. That and the fact that the Vapor costs $120 and the Zdock is only $49 keep me from fully recommending it.

Do you use a dock with your iPhone?

 

Product Information

Price:$119.99
Manufacturer:ElementCase
Pros:
  • Sound amplification that doesn't require batteries, power
  • Can dock / sync with or without a case
Cons:
  • Takes two hands to remove the iPhone from the dock
Posted in: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Reviews

7 comments… add one

  • Ronald April 24, 2012, 5:03 am

    Crazy price for a product that misses something elementary as to make it easy to remove the iPhone single handed.
    Somebody has been sleeping in that firm, IMHO.

    For far less, I use an iHome clock which can applify my iPhone’s sound, act as a clock :-) and charge my iPhone.

  • Marianne April 24, 2012, 10:56 am

    This is the second review I’ve read about this dock that points how how light it is (making it impossible to remove the iPhone with only one hand) and the uselessness of that suede-lined tray. Combined with the fact that it costs $120, I’d be surprised if ElementCase is selling many of these at all. I would never purchase this dock without a significantly longer feature list and enough weight to make removing my iPhone with one hand possible. I’m personally waiting for the Elevation Dock through KickStarter which looks to be superior than this one in nearly every way.

  • Ian Lim April 24, 2012, 8:49 pm

    While shouldn’t have to you could easily add something to the empty base cavity to weigh it down.

  • Paw Bokenfohr June 28, 2012, 3:37 am

    Agreed, overpriced for what it is.

    The Elevation Dock has at least a 2 month wait at this point for those of us that have only started looking for a dock now, and want to actually buy one.

    Anyone know where you can buy one of the mentioned ZDock units? That looks like a good buy considering the costs and timeframes of other options. I searched, but couldn’t find. Europe, or the US/Canada would be fine.

    • Julie June 28, 2012, 8:17 am

      @Paw You can order a Z-Dock from http://www.z-docks.com/ For some reason the site isn’t responding this morning, but I have visited it in the last month or so.

  • Paw Bokenfohr July 11, 2012, 7:12 am

    Thanks for mentioning that, I had tried it as it’s linked from within the article of course, and found it didn’t work.

    I’ve been trying on an off for the last few weeks, and never found the site online.

    Anyone know any resellers who have any?

  • Ken September 10, 2012, 6:45 am

    I’d also like to find some selling the Z-Dock online. So far I haven’t had any luck accessing the website.

Leave a Comment