Fuse Chicken's togoDock and PLUGdock: Variations on a theme of useful
Design house Fuse Chicken had a huge winner in the iPhone dock space a few years ago with Une Bobine, a very unique "stiff cable" that could be coiled up in a variety of ways to hold an iPhone while it was charging. The design went from 0 to over 1000 percent funded ($212,265 raised for a $9,800 goal) in just 19 days, and the product continues to sell quite well. The company is now on the way to repeating that success with an Indiegogo project for another product called togoDock, which had an add-on goal to produce yet another dock called PLUGdock. The company sent us a few prototypes to test, and it looks like both new products will not only make it to market but could be quite successful.
The "togo" in the name of this cool little magnetic dock is pronounced with long o's, although the idea is that you have a dock that is ready "to go" anywhere. The product can be used in a car, on a wall, basically anywhere you have metal that a magnet will stick to or where you can stick a one-inch diameter metal disk. That disk has adhesive on one side for easy placement on your car dashboard or on a wall.
The device itself consists of a single piece of molded plastic with some powerful magnets embedded in it, and features a spool around which a USB to Lightning charging cable can be wrapped. The Lightning adapter sticks up where an iPhone can sit upon it for charging, although togoDock can also be used to charge up any Lightning-equipped device. For use in the car, a plug-in adapter is provided; in the home or office, any AC to USB adapter or powered USB port can be used to charge your favorite iOS device.
One final touch to the design is a little notch on the bottom that holds the "tail" of the cable in place. There's also a curved "backstop" that your iPhone can rest against when you're using togoDock in a car, ensuring that the iPhone isn't going to flop around while plugged in.
I've reviewed a lot of charging docks for cars, but togoDock is the first one I'd actually consider buying. It is small and lightweight, stays in place but can be easily removed for use elsewhere, and there are no moving or mechanical parts to break or come loose. The only thing you're giving up if you use togoDock in your car is the space where the metal disk will be attached for togoDock to stick to. The design is brilliant in its simplicity.
It's a simple product, but one that reflects a lot of knowledge of materials and of how the Lightning connector works. togoDock will retail for US$30 as soon as the Indiegogo campaign reaches the goal of $20,000 -- it's over 80 percent funded at this time with 23 days left in the campaign.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible
The next item is also a dock, but it's primarily made for use with Apple's tiny cube-shaped AC adapter. The PLUGdock turns any AC outlet into a dock. We're not sure if the PLUGdock will be produced, but you can add $5 to an Indiegogo pledge and get one of these tiny accessories that has been manufactured on a 3D printer in your choice of colors.
Mine came in a nice blue color and had some rough spots that were obviously an artifact of being 3D printed. Nonetheless, the PLUGdock worked perfectly. It's essentially a squared-off spool that a Lightning charge cable wraps around, with a receptacle on one side that you push the Apple AC adapter cube into, a slot for the USB connector on the other side, and a small spot on top where the Lightning adapter is held securely in place.
For a minimalist dock, PLUGdock is brilliant. It takes up very little space, essentially giving your standard Apple AC adapter a second life as a dock. Whether it's printed on a 3D printer or eventually comes out of a mold, the PLUGdock once again highlights Fuse Chicken's ability to create incredibly useful products that demonstrate how good design compliments simplicity.'
Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible
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