I love gadgets. Not only that, but I love gadgets for my gadgets: cases, docks, stands, mounts, keyboards, and pretty much anything else you can think of. There's also a dark side at work here, though: I'm also a perfectionist. As such, I'm always on a quest for the perfect thingy-majig, which, in all likelihood, probably doesn't exist.
Ergo, when I saw the Power Dock Flex from Bracketron (I have to admit, I'm a sucker for most things with the word "flex" in the name), I thought it seems like a fantastic idea.
Alas, it's far from perfect.
What is it?
- It's a car dock/charger.
- How much is it? $35
- Where can I buy it? Here.
- It's neat. A flexible phone holder protruding from your vehicle's 12v outlet is a good idea no matter what. As long as you don't need to use the lighter, anyway.
- It's also a USB charger. It has its own USB port (a short cable is included; good job on that, Bracketron!), so it not only holds your phone, but charges it too. And that's also a good idea.
- It bends. Instead of holding your phone in a static position all the time, the Power Dock Flex can move around to fit nearly any situation, which is quite convenient.
- It's adjustable. The arm that actually holds the phone is adjustable, so it should be able to accommodate most phones (maybe not the Galaxy Note, but it holds my Galaxy Nexus just fine).
- It appears to be well-made. I've only been using it for a month, but it still look exactly like it did when I took it out of the box, so that's a good sign.
- It's attractive. The design doesn't suck, which makes me happy.
- The weight of the phone causes the flexible arm to "sag." I have to adjust my phone quite frequently because it doesn't stay where I put it. And that's annoying.
- It wiggles out of the 12v outlet often. This is similar to the above issue. The weight of the phone causes the dock to bounce slightly while driving, which causes the unit to wiggle loose from the vehicle's outlet. This actually shouldn't be an issue in vehicles with an angled outlet, though.
- It gets in the way sometimes. Since it sticks out of the outlet, it can get in the way on occasion. Again, this may have a lot to do with the design of the vehicle, but it can be annoyance nonetheless.
As you can see, there are a lot of good ideas at work here, it's the execution that could be better. This unit may have scored more points under 'the good', but the negative aspects are almost deal breakers for me. Having to adjust the arm at least once or twice every time I go somewhere is quite annoying, and the fact that it wiggles out of the outlet is even more bothersome, especially if my phone is on charge.
With that said, these issues are definitely subjective to the vehicle. If the 12v outlet in your vehicle angles downward (as it does it many cars), then the unit would probably stay in place much better than in one that is at a 90 degree angle. As such, I would take a close look at the outlet in your vehicle before buying this dock/charger.