Australian-based Alldock is making its U.S. debut this fall with its signature product, a modular docking station designed to simplify charging and reduce clutter for families and individuals who regularly need to charge multiple devices in their home. The company’s eponymous docking bases are available in two sizes in a selection of attractive materials and also include a modular approach that allows them to accommodate a variety of devices, including mounts for Apple Watch, FitBit, or Pebble watches.
We received the $129 base model of Alldock for review — the Medium White Base with White Top — which supports charging up to four devices in any of twelve different placements using a four-port 9.6 amp USB power distribution hub. The larger models provide a six-port 14.4 amp hub to charge up to six devices simultaneously. Other than the dock itself, the Alldock packaging includes only a power cable and a single cable management strap, so you’ll need to supply your own charging cables for whatever devices you plan to use it with. Alldock provides full-speed 2.4 amp charging for up to four or six devices simultaneously.
By itself, Alldock simply provides a way to keep your charging cables tucked away and prop up your devices while charging. Cables hide within the Alldock base, protruding through any of the twelve holes at the bottom of each of the four rails (the large version includes an extra rail for a total of fifteen holes). Wider holes provide room for old-school 30-pin Dock Connectors or other similarly large adapters, and a notch to the side of each hole allows you to hold each cable in place when not connected to a device.
The base Alldock unit doesn’t act as a typical Lightning dock in that you’ll still need to grab the end of the cable and plug it into your iOS device before setting it down in the dock. For more dock-like use, Alldock sells One Hand Docking adapters for $15 – $20 each, which include a plastic mount that snaps on underneath the top plate to hold the charging cable in place within the Alldock base. Each adapter also includes a 14-inch charging cable to connect to the USB hub. Alldock also sells an Apple Watch mount for $40 which screws onto the side of the Alldock and holds the standard Apple Watch magnetic charger. Bundles are also available which include combinations of One-Hand Docking adapters and/or an Apple Watch mount for lower prices than purchasing the items separately.
The medium-sized model of Alldock will handle up to a 10.5” iPad Pro in portrait model, but if you’re using the larger 12.9” iPad Pro you’ll need to spring for the larger model, which can accommodate the smaller iPad in landscape mode as well. Alldock is available in a wide variety of attractive finishes, including silver, walnut, and bamboo, and the company offers a few interesting top and base combinations such as a walnut base with a black plastic top, or a white base with a bamboo top. Unfortunately, we only received the base white version, which had the typical cheap feel of plastic to it, although we’ll admit that the bamboo and walnut models look considerably more appealing, but of course they also come with a higher price tag to match, starting at $179 for an all-wood bamboo version and $199 for an all-wood walnut version.
Although we like the idea behind Alldock and what the company is trying to accomplish, the current pricing gives us some pause, particularly for the lower-end plastic versions which just don’t look particularly attractive in our opinion. For $129 you’re basically just getting a four-port USB hub, a plastic container to stow your cables, and a tray to prop your devices upright. That said, it compares favorably to the last multi-device cable management solution we looked at — Bluelounge’s 2013 Sanctuary 4 — providing upright docking capabilities and the ability to charge all devices at full 2.4 amp speeds, although it also comes in at least $30 more, and we definitely preferred the look of Sanctuary to the lower-end Alldock models. On the other hand, the appeal of Alldock increases significantly in our opinion if you’re willing to pay the premium for the higher-end bamboo or walnut versions, which will fit in much more naturally in most home decor.
Company and Price
Price: $129 – $245