Review: CalypsoCrystal Crystal Dock
Premium docks must be in vogue right now. Last week we reviewed Element Case's Vapor Dock, and this week brings CalypsoCrystal's similarly priced -- at least for the standard edition -- Crystal Dock ($119-$349). Compatible with all iPhones and iPod touches, this heavy dock is made of crystal glass; it's a material we certainly don't see too often. Four different hand-crafted patterns are available, with a limited-edition, platinum-painted Aurora version coming in at a wickedly high $230 premium.
We received the Dune version of the stand, one of the “basic” models. Measuring in at 3.75” long, 2.25” deep, and an inch at it’s tallest, it weighs 0.8 pounds. The crystal is Rogaska brand, which is used in many high end products. It’s perfectly smooth and quite clear—clear enough for us to see what appears to be a long fiber inside our review unit. Along the top of the stand is a pattern of rounded dune-like waves, broken only by a half-inch recession to actually hold the iPhone, with a Dock Connector plug poking through.
Flip the dock over an you’ll see it’s not one continuous piece of glass. A thin, two inch square panel sandwiches the short female-to-male Dock Connector cable for syncing and charging, with the port flush against the back of the stand. The glue that holds the ends of the cord in place is clearly visible; it’s not the worst thing in the world, but when you’re dealing with a crystal product those kind of details do detract from the overall appeal just a bit. Thankfully it’s only visible when the dock is upside-down. The cord is well implemented, but for the price, we’d like to see CalypsoCrystal include a full Dock Connector cable, which would add at most a few dollars on its end while increasing the value to the customer.
In terms of docking, Crystal Dock doesn’t provide as quite as much compatibility for cases as Apple’s Universal Dock, but cases without too much bulk at the bottom do fit. Of course, there are no problems with bare iPhones. We like the angle at which the dock holds the phone, and even though it can wobble a bit, the electronic connection was never broken. Unlike some docking solutions, it’s easy to pull off the iPhone with just one hand; it slides right off without much force at all. It’s not quite as easy to use it one handed though. The glass is so smooth that it slides across most surfaces. We can understand the aesthetic reason for not putting any sort of padding on the bottom, but something like what’s on the company’s CalypsoPad would keep it from moving around.
Crystal Dock is a niche product, because of both its price and design. There’s little question that the dock is a beautiful piece, but it won’t appeal to everyone’s tastes. As for the price, it’s pretty crazy, especially for such a feature-bare accessory. If CalypsoCrystal had gotten all of the details perfect—less visible glue, a way to prevent the dock from sliding around, a full Dock Connector cable—we’d be able to offer a limited recommendation with the understanding that some people would be willing to pay the premium for a really unique accessory. But at this price we expect flawlessness, and in its absence, can’t justify the cost.