Review: Bluelounge Rolio
Bluelounge has a history of coming up with unique ways to mount and charge iPhones; Rolio ($10) is the latest such accessory. The white plastic square combines cable management -- you must provide your own Lightning cable and wall adapter -- and a way to hold your phone upright while it's charging. Compared to Lightning-equipped accessories we've previously seen from Bluelounge, including Kii and Saidoka, Rolio is markedly less expensive, thanks to the lack of integrated electronics.
The core of the solution is made up of two 2.5” white plastic squares, sandwiching a channel that connects them together. Inside the top of the front panel, you’ll find a small divot made to hold the Lightning end of a cable. Once you’ve slipped that plug into place, the cord gets wrapped around the interior, between the two plates. Which side the USB plug ends up on will depend on just how tightly you wrap the cord, but regardless, it’s then meant to be pushed through the hole in the center, with the blank side facing up. The final step to assembly is attaching Apple’s 5W USB Power Adapter, the one included with all its iPhones. Rolio is also compatible with EU and UK adapters; a plastic insert is included for compatibility with the latter.
Once it’s all together, the dock gets plugged in to an outlet, and the iPhone is placed on top of the plug. Although you could try to play around with the height of the Lightning plug, it’s made to sit flush with the top of the square, which severely limits case compatibility. Unless you’re using a protector with an open bottom edge, you won’t be able to actually make a connection. Bare iPhones will rest securely on top though. Clearly, this design is best suited for plugs at convenient levels, but it will work in any plugs with the correct orientation. Alternatively, Rolio can be used as a simple cable wrap.
Case compatibility is the biggest strike against Rolio; otherwise, it’s a good accessory. Although we’d prefer an all-in-one solution that comes with the cable and plug, there’s no way it would be this inexpensive. As a solution for augmenting what comes with the iPhone, it works well, and is strong enough to earn our B+ rating. If you have an outlet at the right level, it could be a truly nice upgrade over just plugging your iPhone in.