Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hardware Review: PadDock 10




Although the iPad has excellent sound, it will never fool you into thinking it’s a true stereo system. However, wiith the PadDock 10 you get a rich full sound you’d expect from a set of standalone speakers. Unlike many other products, the PadDock was designed for the iPad rather then retrofit from an iPhone solution. This device serves three main purposes: iPad stand, charging dock, and stereo speakers, and does all of them well.

As an stand, the iPad fits securely and snugly into the unit. Other stands for the iPad generally hold the unit in place via gravity or a few clips. Since this is an actual dock, the dock connector holds it in place and the top of the unit has a firm clip that ensure the iPad isn’t going anywhere when the unit rotates. This snug fit does get some getting used to when placing the iPad into the dock or removing it. The rotation of the stand is 360 degrees, but at each 90 degree interval the stand has a soft lock making sure the rotation doesn’t stray. Clips at the four corners prevent you from having to put pressure on the iPad to rotate it. An elegant and stylish black and grey design matches the aesthetics of your iPad.

As a charging dock, the unit allows you to expand the type of cables used to charge your iPad. Included is USB power cord that uses a type A male connector to power the unit instead of the standard charging cable that came with your iPad. The PadDock also comes with a USB to USB Mini cable creating a more standardized solution. To charge, I was able to use a variety of USB chargers including the stub charger that came with my iPad. I liked keeping my original iPad cable connected to my Mac for syncing and using the PadDock to charge my iPad. To sync your iPad to your computer via a PadDock, you’ll need to flip a switch to go from charge to sync.

As stereo speakers, the dock’s sound was outstanding for its size. Compared with other bedside and table solutions that sound tinny, the PadDock had substantial bass and was able to achieve fairly high volume that let me listen to music and watch videos while working out on a treadmill at my home gym. I keep the PadDock in the kitchen to listen to music while cooking and keeping the iPad up out of harm’s way.

Eventually, my PadDock ended up in the kitchen so I could listen to music or view instructional vidoes, keep the iPad safe, and charge all at the same time. Overall this is an outstanding product that serves many functions. If you’ve upgraded to an iPad 2, the PadDock is a perfect way to extend the function and flexibility of your original iPad as an entertainment station.

Pros: Flexible stand and dock charger, quality stereo speakers
Cons: Tricky to move iPad in and out

9 out of 10