UPDATE: While this is an initially positive experience, assembly is very precise and once you get the charging cable into place, it’s very difficult to disassemble and change out the cable. The two piece shell that surrounds the rubberized cable housing is held in with pressure that all rests on a single small tab. Almost as if it was designed to be single use, that small tab snapped right away and rendered the entire (pricey) smartphone dock useless. I’ve given CableJive a chance to respond and will update this post after hearing back.
UPDATE 2: The issue with fitment and stress on the metal tab are consistent for almost any cable that’s not an apple lightning connector. You need a connector housing that is extremely minimal and that’s just not the reality of MicroUSB cables. They normally have a thicker housing for better grip, durability. CableJive does have a workaround though:
“I was able to get my hands on a Samsung Micro USB cable, and I can see what the problem is. It has to do with the small lip that Samsung has put at the bottom of the plastic cable housing. That lip makes it difficult for the HeroDock to close properly when assembled normally.
However, there is a very simple work around. When you re-assemble your HeroDock with the new parts we sent, simply remove the black plastic “connector holder” piece from the aluminum front support piece (leave the one in that is inserted into the back piece). By removing the front “connector holder” the HeroDock’s support should be able to close properly, and you should not have any trouble getting that front cap on and off.”
——————-ORIGINAL ARTICLE BELOW——————-
A $50 smartphone dock that you love would be a hard purchase to justify. Now think about the inner-dialogue when you came across a similar dock that you were luke warm on.
The HeroDock is a solid aluminum, somewhat universal smartphone/small tablet dock from a company called CableJive. It’s is definitely a luxury item and it’s expensive (as luxury items should be). It’ll be hard for most to justify the expense for the single use this item provides, but if it fits your personal style and the price doesn’t make you flinch, it’s a solid piece. It’s a seemingly simple design that allows you to feed an existing cable into a raised dock for your smartphone. The cable height and depth from the rubberized back support are adjustable and allow you to end up with a very nice one-handed dock option – even for a phone in a case.
In terms of design, there was some thought put in beyond the norm here. The dock’s solid aluminum build suggests that this might be a more modern piece – something welcome next to the iDevices of the world. Unfortunately, the design is heavy with rounded edges and curves rather than the straight lines you’d expect. The back side of the device is also a bit of a disappointment that looks as though it should be, but isn’t very useful. There’s a very small hook that in theory could hold your keys and a small dish that cradles them and maybe holds a few loose coins. It’s an odd middle of the road approach to an EDC, or everyday carry, valet though. If the idea is that the user is an ultra minimalist who leaves their phone and keys on the HeroDock, what does that user do with their wallet? One could even believe that this ideal user has adopted a digital wallet in these modern times, but everyone needs a small billfold of cash to survive day to day. The device is very secure during use, especially when you take advantage of the included micro-suction strips on the bottom of the base.
The device does offer an interesting tool-less assembly process. Carefully machined parts clip and snap together to end up with an extremely final product. It is a process though that many don’t have the patience for. Some of us love the opportunity to sit down with a clear set of instructions and channels the Lego builds of the past. Our inner child is stimulated and the result is a finished piece. Others will get frustrated quickly and abandon ship. You’ll provide your own cable to feed into the HeroDock and because no two cables are the same, you might end up with a challenge during assembly. Most everything tested was possible, but some thicker cable housings took a tremendous amount of pressure to force the final cable “cap” over the dock. When you are done, you might find that you need to adjust a bit to accomodate a case – never has the word adjust suggested so much work. If you think it was hard to get that final cable cap on, try getting it off. There is also a series of cleverly designed cable channels below that result in a clean finished look. The main complaint there is that the cable channels demand a very severe angle during install that puts stress on a cable – the exact stress that can shorten the usable life of a charge/sync cable.
The HeroDock might be a nice gift, but the reality of spending your own $50 on a smartphone dock that looks just different enough to clash with your iMac is harsh. If the company really focused on the established aesthetic of other popular matte aluminum devices today, you could make a case. As it stands (pun intended), there are just too many other options that offer more function or a better modern look with premium materials.
Thank you to CableJive for providing their product for review.
The HeroDock by CableJive:
Manufacturer – $49.95
Amazon – $49.95
An extra bit of fun:
If you are looking for something that feels at home next to your Apple products, there are options that a quick Amazon/Google search will reveal. I can’t name any specifics without fully evaluating, but there are options (and some of those options are significantly cheaper as well).