Company: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO)
Model: USB Dock Cable
Compatible: iPod shuffle
DLO USB Dock Cable for iPod shuffle
Pros: A white and gray, four-foot USB cable to attach your iPod shuffle to your computer. Includes Velcro for cable mounting.
Cons: Doesn’t compare on pricing or features to other docks released for the iPod shuffle; though called a “dock,” really a glorified cable with no way to stand your shuffle up on a table.
In a separate article, we reviewed and generally liked DLO’s Flexible Dock for iPod shuffle (iLounge rating: B), a metal gooseneck mount useful for certain laptops and USB port-equipped monitors. We weren’t anywhere near as impressed by the company’s USB Dock Cable for iPod shuffle ($19.99), which can best be described as a $20 USB cable - little more.
Each box contains three pieces: the cable, which is four feet long, gray in the center, and mostly white plastic on its male and female USB ends, plus two small circles of adhesive-backed Velcro. The USB Dock Cable’s “dock” - a white plastic version of the company’s iPod shuffle Cool Caps - uses a small bar of gray plastic to visually separate itself from the attached iPod shuffle, and has an embossed circle on its back to guide your attachment of one of the Velcro pads. To be very charitable, this Velcro could let you use the Dock Cable as a detachable car connector for your iPod shuffle, or as an easy way to put the Cable anywhere on a desk, computer, or other surface where you might want it.
But let’s be realistic: $20 for a 4-foot USB cable? Even Monster Cable gives you more magically shielded (ahem) cable for the same price, and that’s not even considering the numerous true metal and plastic docks that have been released for the iPod shuffle at lower prices. Pacific Rim’s $11 Shuffle Cradle (iLounge rating: A-) and Thought Out’s iPed Shuffle Dock (iLounge rating: B+) are just a couple.
Strictly speaking, there’s nothing wrong with the USB Dock Cable, and we don’t actively dislike it. It worked and largely looked like any other USB cable in our tests, which would be fine for a product sold for a tenth or fifth the price. But for $20 or less, we’ve seen much better; under virtually any circumstance, we’d choose DLO’s Flexible Dock or others any day of the week.