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Griffin PowerDock 5: charging and storage for up to 5 iOS devices

Although I have a small family -- just me, my wife, and our Internet-famous cat Ruby -- we've somehow accumulated a lot of iOS devices. My wife and I both have third-generation iPads, we both have iPhones, and I also have an iPad mini. Keeping all of those devices charged up has been a bit of a challenge, but the new PowerDock 5 (US$99.99) charging and storage dock from Griffin looks like it could clear the way for orderly charging of all the devices we can throw at it.

Design

Unlike the oddly designed and named Kanex Sydnee ($99), the PowerDock is completely open on top. That's actually quite important, because the Sydnee has a closed design that means that full-sized iPads in some cases will not fit inside the charging stand. Here, Griffin chose to go simple with its design, and that makes all the difference: Five full-sized iPads in cases can be dropped into the slots atop the PowerDock 5.

There are six clear plastic "walls" that separate and hold up the devices while they're being charged. Each of the five slots has its own 2 amp port -- you will have to provide your own charging cable. That makes it possible for the PowerDock 5 to charge both 30-pin dock connector and Lightning cable devices interchangeably.

The base of the polycarbonate PowerDock is hollowed out so that excess cable from the power adapter can be wrapped around two posts and hidden. Unfortunately, Griffin chose to use an ugly generic AC adapter that is hard to hide... a pity really, because the PowerDock is rather attractive in its own way.

What's nice about a charging dock like the PowerDock is that it makes it possible to charge five devices in a space no larger than a single iPad. It also concentrates all of the charging in one place, so it's easier to remember to plug in your devices and to remember where you left them for charging!

Functionality

I love it when a product does exactly what the manufacturer says it is going to do, and that's why I'm impressed with the PowerDock 5. It has no problems holding and charging all of our iOS devices all at once. Sure, things look a bit messy with cables hanging all over the place, but it's better than the spaghetti that used to cover our charging area.

What I'd like to see Griffin do is sell some short cables -- let's say 5-inches -- that could reduce the amount of cable clutter around the PowerDock 5. Make 'em in four varieties, say Lightning, 30-pin dock, micro-USB and mini-USB, and all bases would be covered.

Conclusion

For the small office or home that has up to five iOS devices, the Griffin PowerDock 5 is a perfect -- if pricy -- solution for charging all of those devices simultaneously.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Uses your own cables, so it's compatible with both 30-pin dock connector and Lightning devices
  • Can handle iPads and iPhones in a variety of cases
  • Looks good, yet it isn't flashy

Cons

  • A bit expensive for what you're getting

Who is it for?

  • Any family or small business with up to five devices that need to be recharged via USB at the same time

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