Review: CableJive dockXtender Cable
When it was originally released shortly after the launch of the first-generation iPad, CableJive's dockXtender ($26-$32) was billed as a "next-generation" Dock Connector extension cable. With a male Dock Connector plug at one end and a female port at the other, the two- or six-foot cord allowed Apple tablet users to connect to earlier Dock Connector accessories before any had been specifically designed to work with the larger device. dockXtender also could add length to existing cables and accessories for use with encased iPods and iPhones.
Though the name and pricing have remained the same, CableJive has updated the extender with a new design that promises full compatibility with “every single iPod, iPad, or iPhone case on the market;” this is thanks to a revised male Dock Connector plug that tapers heavily to accommodate holes in even the narrowest of cases. The glossy plastic head is the same size as Apple’s Dock Connector plug at its thinnest point, yet taller, which allows dockXtender to fit in any opening an Apple cable would. We tested it with several cases to be sure, and confirmed its full compatibility. The cable itself is 4.5mm in diameter, which is larger than Apple’s but not offensively thick. To help prevent fraying, both ends are reinforced where they meet the plastic housing.
The plug at the other end of the cord allows the cable to be used for two different tasks. It can serve as an extender for a standard cable, although for the price users might be better off buying a dedicated cable at the length they need. CableJive notes that dockXtender is not currently compatible with the Apple VGA or Digital AV Adapters, so you can’t expect to use it as an across-the-room video solution. The second potential application is for connecting devices to somehow unaccommodating accessories such as speakers and docks. This could be a benefit for those who don’t want to remove a case that doesn’t fit the dock, or who’d rather use the onscreen controls than a remote control.
This version of dockXtender is definitely an improvement compared to the original, and although it’s still too expensive, it continues to solve a problem that hasn’t been otherwise addressed by Apple or other developers. Some users—particularly those who are willing to entirely replace speakers, car audio systems, or other accessories rather than just using an adapter cable—might find it to be unnecessary, and it’s not a smart purchase as a generic Dock Connector extension cable: even CableJive sells its own long Dock Connector cable for half the price. But users who want to keep using older accessories with iPads or tightly-encased iPhones might be willing to swallow this expense; those who do will find it to be a well-executed solution.