If your computer looks anything like mine, there are about 3-4 random charging cables dangling out of the back of it, corresponding to phones, tablets, e-readers, etc. At the end of the day it’s the same annoyance of swatting through each cable to try to find the one I need. My desk at the moment is my dining room table, so those cords are not only annoying but also an eyesore.
I didn’t want a full charging station, but a dock for my phone I considered a must. The charging dock from Grovemade promised a heavy stand in an elegant combination of wood and steel.
First things’s first, this is a heavy box. The dock itself is three pounds, but in such a compact form in this box it easily feels like ten. The outside of the box is emblazoned with the Grovemade leaf logo and its sides show row after row of corrugated cardboard.
Once the outer tabs are broken, the box opens with the dock and a clip in perfectly die cut areas. Short of being run over by a truck, nothing could happen to this dock on its way to your door.
Inside the box aside from the stand are a pair of clips (more on those below) and a set of “instructions” for assembly.
I’m not a big fan of the IKEA-esque strictly pictorial instructions. Step 3 depicting a pair of hands shoving the iPhone onto the dock could really use a few words of description. I reached out to the Grovemade marketing team about that step to get a few more details. The picture ended up being accurate; it’s intended for the user to push their phone down on the end of the charging cable to force the tip down to a custom height for the phone. Step 3 was summarily skipped during my own set up and testing.
To set up the dock, the cable is first threaded through the bottom of the case. The end of the cable snaps into the clip corresponding to the charger type, then the clip slides into its slot on the dock and locks in place. Skipping step 3 requires a little bit of guess and check. You want the end of the cable to be sitting up far enough for the phone to attach, but not too high where the phone doesn’t sit “inside” the dock. Once you find the appropriate height for the phone, put the cover on, and thread the cord through the channel underneath the dock leading it out the back side.
Two plastic clips are included with each dock; one for the 30-pin Apple charging cable for the older iPhones/iPods and one for the new lightning cable. Only one clip can be set in place at a time though and there isn’t any on-board storage for the second clip.
I took this picture after a bit of wrestling with the lightning cable setup, so you could see on the bottom clip, there’s a little bit of warping to the lower prong after “stretching” it out. Despite this bend, the clip still snaps in place and holds my cable without a problem.
The dock itself is comprised of the heavy steel base and a thin wood cover. The cover fits tightly over the base and there’s a small magnet to ensure it’s kept securely in place. It actually takes quite a bit of prying to slide the cover off once it’s on. The top is hand sanded and finished with a blend of natural oils and wax.
The phone is intended to be seated with the case still on and when adjusting the seating of the cable it must be done with the case on. My case does not cover the bottom of my phone and during my original placement, charging worked fine for me, but my girlfriend’s phone just wouldn’t catch the charge. The tiny width of Apple’s silicone case’s bottom was enough to throw it off and I had to reseat the height of the cable end.
I’ve charged both of our phones daily for about three weeks now and haven’t had the cable loosen or slip down out of the clip’s hold. The construction is pretty solid and allows a phone to be slipped on and off the charger with just one hand.
I very much like the idea of this dock. It makes charging my phone a lot easier. I’m not sure if I was just the epitome of lazy before, but just having the cable available and in place actually makes me consistently charge my phone.
It’s a beautiful dock, but to me it’s a bit pricey for what it is– a steel block with a thin wood cover. It’s sturdy and heavy enough not to move while plugging in or removing a phone–and it looks slick. However, it also costs nearly half the price of the phone itself! I’d love to have seen a greater makeup of wood and less steel, metal clips, better cord wrangling, and storage for the extra clip.
The Grovemade dock is available in three wood options: Bamboo, Walnut, and Maple with the choice of either a black or silver base for each. The Bamboo docks are $79 while the other woods start at $99.
Since my review I’ve completely stopped using this dock. Its weight became cumbersome and over time, the charger top would get pushed down and out of alignment with the phone forcing it to be disassembled and reassembled. I think a variety of other dock chargers solve the same problems this claimed to, without the high price tag or maintenance issues.
While the idea and form behind this dock made it extremely attractive to me, ultimately I became tired of disassembling it every time the charger tip slipped position. A clip holds the charger tip in place, and the “sweet spot” where it’s just right for charging and cradling the iPhone is just a few millimeters from completely missing the port connection altogether. The moment that happens, you need to take everything apart and reset the charger in the clip, which ultimately became too much of a hassle for me.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Grovemade. Visit their site for more info