Review: dreamGEAR i.Sound Power View Pro S 2.1A Dual Charging Dock
Our first impression of dreamGEAR's i.Sound Power View Pro S 2.1A Dual Charging Dock ($100) was very positive. Out of the box, we were excited by the look and the feel of this multi-device dock, as well as the stated specs. The aluminum and plastic holder is made to charge both an iPad and an iPhone or iPod simultaneously, with adjustable Dock Connectors for each. In addition, there are two 2.1-Amp charging ports that allow for a couple more devices to be charged at the same time. In evaluating this dock, we looked to earlier models that attempted the same sort of feats, including iHome's iB969 and Griffin's PowerDock Dual. While this one costs more than either of those options, it has some real advantages on its side.
To accommodate so many devices, and multiple orientations, i.Sound Power View Pro S is naturally rather large; it’s just over a foot long, six inches deep, and an inch tall. The dock shares an aesthetic with the company’s i.Sound Universal Power View, released at the same time. Both are composed of glossy black plastic with soft-touch rubber coated stands, although the aluminum is much prominent on this one, making the higher price feel a bit more justified and matching the look of Apple’s current Mac lineup.
Along the top of the block are three different ways to hold an iOS device. there are two spring-loaded Dock Connector plugs: one on the left for the iPad, and the other on the right for the iPhone or iPod. Both of these are backed by supports which are moved back and forth by dials behind them, allowing for a small range of viewing angles, and some case compatibility. We had better luck with iPhone cases than iPad cases, including thin shells for the latter we thought would fit. The tablets do fit if equipped with a Smart Cover though. A small white LED in front of each lights up to indicate if a charge is being delivered to that particular dock.
Although we like the fact that the plugs are so accommodating, we’re not big fans of the dial system that moves them back and forth. While it does prevent the holders from sliding, spinning away feels like a slow and tiring task. It’s also worth noting that like many iPad docks, it’s difficult to actually get the tablet onto the plug due to the fact that it’s positioned on the curved end of the tablet. We found ourselves taking several attempts to get it in place, trying to carefully line the port up each time and often failing. One thing we do particularly like about the setup, however, is the fact that the devices sit side by side in a straight line, and not one in front of the other or at an odd angle.
In addition to those Dock Connector plugs, i.Sound Power View Pro S packs in a few more valuable features. For those who prefer to view their iPads in landscape orientation, there’s spring-loaded door in front of the LEDs, into which an iPad can be slid and securely held in place. This doesn’t provide power though, and that’s where the two additional USB ports come into play. Located along the left edge, they both provide full speed iPad charging power. dreamGEAR doesn’t include the cables though, so you’ll have to provide your own. We ran the tests and found the ports can provide the full 2.1A at the same time, with power delivered via a wall adapter.
Summarizing our findings with PowerDock Dual, we said “More than a year after the original iPad’s release, there’s still no perfect iPad and iPhone/iPod charging solution out there; each one has some small but very real issues on the iPad side, most often whenever a case is involved,” and more than a year later, it’s still true. This one got a lot right though, and deserves credit for it. The design is quite nice, and will fit in nicely in an Apple-centric office. We found the landscape orientation trapdoor to be clever, and the extra ports are appreciated as well. The $100 price point does strike us as high though. Yes, the extra ports and sharper design offer greater value, but don’t completely mitigate the $40 price gap between this model and two we’ve mentioned above. As such, it earns our B rating and a general recommendation.