11
May
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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.

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What is it?

  • It's a car dock/charger.
  • How much is it? $35
  • Where can I buy it? Here.

The Good

  • 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.

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The Bad

  • 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.

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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.  

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Seth M

    Is there a way to detach the mount and place it on another stand? Random question I know, but I like the looks of how it grips the phone compared to the bulky thing i have now. 
    However, I also don't like how it looks liek it blocks my camera.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      The mount does come off, but I'm not sure about using with another stand. I doubt it would work without some sort of modification.

  • Joe

    This looks great.  Does this block the audio jack on your Nexus?   

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      It does. But the dock is flexible, so if you plug into the audio jack before putting the phone into the dock, it will still work.

  • Alvin B.

    I have yet to find a car dock that *WORKS*.... if it's on an arm, they tend to sag. Period. The gadget companies don't care about brand quality, they don't care about repeat customers. 

    The last one I tried had a suction cup. It had a base as well that you could glue down. Well, the glue let go of my dash in about 3 seconds and never stuck again. The suction cup, thankfully, stuck to my windshield just fine so I didn't return the $30 bracket. 35 days later, the summer heat did it's work and the suction cup *broke off* from the rest of the dock. The plastic had softened and then tore loose, leaving the suction cup behind, still stuck to the window holding nothing.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I'm still looking for the perfect mount myself, and right now I have gotten to a pretty good place using Capta ( http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/04/24/lightning-review-capta-thanks-to-some-awesome-alien-goo-tripod-ifying-your-phone-has-never-been-easier/ ) combined with this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006M59NV4.

      However, it's illegal in CA to have things attached to your windshield, so I'm thinking of trying this instead: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005CMP2ZO. I had something similar for my Garmin ( http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Portable-Friction-Mount-Frustration/dp/B002OL2MU4 ), and it was simply fantastic. This looks like an excellent way to use my Capta when I don't need to use a tripod.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        I live in Oregon and used to live in Las Vegas, Nevada...obviously both bordering California (also the state I was born in)...Between contracting work and vacations I've been up and through almost every part of that state...I've NEVER been pulled over for attaching a GPS to my window :)  I won't risk it now that I know, but it gets me wondering how much that law is enforced or if it's a "bonus ticket" law; you know, when you're already getting pulled over for speeding they will add another ticket just because, but they'll never ticket you just for this by itself.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I think CA is more anal about it than other states, where things hanging off windshields could be legal. I've never been pulled over for having things hanging off suction cups when I did have them, but I'm afraid it could give cops an extra excuse to pull you over and give you a ticket for something unrelated or just pile it on. The fewer reasons I give them, the better.

  • Greatmax

    Good concept. Just needed a bit more time in research and development before its release on sale. I'm sure it will be sorted with the next model.

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