Works With: iPhone 5, iPad mini
Bluelounge’s new MiniDock really is mini. It’s a tiny little dock which perfectly matches the cuboid charger that came with your iPhone or iPad mini, and turns it into a wall-mounted dock. The device is as portable and effective as it is handy, especially if you never use a case. I have one here in Cult of Mac’s Spanish HQ, and I have been putting it through its paces in our Extreme Test Lab.
What It Is
The MiniDock is the Lightning version of the old 30-pin MiniDock. It’s a truly tiny widget with a USB plug sticking out the back and a small shelf and Lightning plug at the front. It comes with two adhesive silicone inserts, one small and one large and more supportive, and you pick one depending on whether you use a case or not.
And that’s it. Set it up and throw it into your gadget travel bag, or just order up a few and connect them to the stash of chargers you still have around the house and plug one in every room.
Convenience. All you need is an outlet and you’re good. No need to find a table or to leave your precious iPhone on the floor while it charges, and no worries if you’re in the kitchen, where the outlets are at a safe height, out of the way of spills (if the electrical sockets in your kitchen are low enough to get wet then you have more pressing concerns than the safety of your iPhone).
The MiniDock is also tiny. As in pocket-sized. Even if you’re not carrying your charger you could keep this in a bag for when you need it, plugging it into any USB charger you find. Its USB plug is conveniently (as mandated by the positioning of the socket on the Apple charger) placed on the bottom edge, making it a perfect fit for the ports on the side of a MacBook Air. Although obviously you can’t see the iPhone’s screen while you do this (possibly a good thing – right now our editor John Brownlee is raining down a hail of moves on me in Tall Chess, leaving me distracted from both that game and this review. Thanks John. You’re supposed to be setting an example).
The dock also fits onto the iPad charger, and although it’s less visually pleasing it’s just as sturdy as any other well-made USB charger, with the advantage of charging the iPhone much quicker.
And yes, you can also use the dock with an iPad mini
And yes, you can also use the dock with an iPad. I tried it with the mini as a) I don’t have an iPad 4 and b) I’m not an idiot, and while it’s a little precarious it seems safe enough, mostly due to the sturdy Lightning plug.
You can also get an EU version, shaped to look good with the slimmer, flatter Europlug chargers, and possibly a UK version, which comes with its own Health and Safety officer and a set of poles and a cordon to make sure you don’t get too close while it’s charging.
The Lightning plug is too short to reach into the deepened hole of a case-clad iPhone
The dock ships with an insert to let you charge the iPhone while it’s in a case, but in practice the Lightning plug is too short and stubby to reach into the deepened hole of a case-clad iPhone. Even if it can get enough of the plug to charge, it is wobbly and might fall off.
The other problem I had, which isn’t really the fault of the BlueLounge designers,but is certainly something they must have considered. Is that my home, like many, only has power sockets at ankle and knee height. This means that you can easily knock the iPhone from its perch.
The MiniDock is almost perfect at what it does. The only problem is one that is caused by the length of the Lightning pin, which means that not much can be done about it. So I’d say that you can order one of these with no worries. Is it worth $40? Who knows? If you’re willing to spend it, then you won;t be disappointed.
|Product Name: : MiniDock
The Good: Tiny, lightweight, well-made, works anywhere.
The Bad: Doesn’t work well with iPhones in cases.
The Verdict Does it’s job, and does it well.
Buy from: BlueLounge