Review: dreamGEAR i.Sound Universal Power View
DreamGEAR's i.Sound Universal Power View ($45) is a different sort of dock, and that turns out to be a good thing for a change. Unlike most of the Dock Connector-equipped solutions on the market, this one eschews Apple's conventional plug for a pair of USB ports on the back. This design allows it to be compatible with all of Apple's iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches, even in most protective cases, or any device under 0.625" thick for that matter. Although a USB cable with both Mini- and Micro-USB ends is included, you have to provide your own Dock Connector cables. Also packed-in is a wall adapter that actually powers the whole thing, supplying 2.1-Amp power to each USB port.
The dock measures 4.5 inches square and half an inch tall, with black glossy plastic coating the top, aluminum and hard rubber on the underside, and a soft-touch coated cradle for your device. Everything feels quite sturdy, with a nice heft. Two LEDs on the underside offer a cool floating light effect, but can be turned off via a switch on the rear of the dock. In addition to that toggle and the two USB ports, you’ll also find an “A/B” switch, with the “B” setting specifically for BlackBerry devices.
Unlike most iPad docks, which force you to display the tablet in portrait orientation, this one allows both vertical and horizontal mounting when not charging. Because there’s no clearance for the Dock Connector plug, however, charging must be done in landscape orientation, or with the iPad upside down. Most users won’t find this to be a major issue. In our testing with two simultaneously connected iPads, both ports lived up to the company’s claims of full speed charging, though of course, only one of the tablets can actually be docked at a time. As there’s no way to connect the dock to your computer it’s not capable of wired syncing, although that’s becoming less relevant in Apple’s “Post PC” era.
i.Sound Universal Power View is a useful accessory and worthy of a strong general recommendation, although it does fall shy of perfection. The two charging ports are appreciated, but the fact that there’s only one dock means that you’re going to have to find some sort of solution for the second device, and deal with the cords for both—neither of which are included in the price. We’d also like to see support for multiple viewing angles, which is the accessory’s single biggest omission. Otherwise, it’s an attractive accessory that offers great iDevice compatibility, landscape and portrait support, and fast charging for multiple devices, with a reasonable price tag.