Seidio INNODock Treo 650 Cradle Review

June 30, 2005

Seidio INNODock for Treo 650Since I have yet to get my Treo 650 battery drain issues resolved, I decided this was a good reason (and time) to order a couple of Seidio INNODock cradles for the Treo 650.

This way I can easily leave the Treo on the charger both overnight and at my desk, which should insure I have enough charge to get by.

Features (from SedioOnline):

  • Uniquely designed (patent pending) cradle to fit Treo 650 with most skin cases, hard cases, and form-fit leather cases. (Screen is still required to face out and the connector needs to be directly accessible.)
  • 3.5 mm stereo Audio out Port makes this cradle able to connect to headphones, speakers, computers, or home sound systems so you can play music with more options.
  • Integrated Sync Button Synchronize at the touch of a button.
  • Treo 650 built-in microphone can be enabled for hands free operation.
  • USB Sync and charge: Sync and charge via USB port from any laptop or desktop so you don? need another power outlet.
  • Dual-functional Charger: By attaching Seidio USB car adaptor or USB travel adapter, it becomes a car or wall charger (both sold separately).

Okay, well it does all of that, for various values of “all of that…”

The main unique thing about this cradle is the sync connector. It tilts forward and back, with a spring loaded action that holds it in the forward position. You can push the Treo down on the connector, and let it lean backwards until it hits the vertical support behind.

This way, the Treo actually rests its weight on the back of the cradle instead of the connector, allowing the connector to stick up a little further than it would were it supporting the device. By sticking up further, it will fit through some of the various cases designed to work with the stock cradle-less cable.

Unfortunately, some cases are not all cases, and the sync connector hole on the Vaja T65 iVolution case is just too deep to work on the cradle.

Which is disappointing, but not the end of the world.

Attaching the Treo was a little more difficult than I expected — I ended up with the cradle in one hand and the Treo in the other trying to get everything lined up. This is not a “drop in the cradle and it’s there” product, like an iPod dock, although such a thing probably isn’t terribly feasible given the Treo’s plug configuration.

The cradle itself is small and lightweight; good for travel, but it tends to make removing the device as much of a two-handed effort as installing it, as lifting the Treo lifts the cradle as well.

(Update: After spending a little more time with the INNoDock, getting the Treo on and off the cradle one-handed is certainly possible, but it does take a bit a of practice…)

With the Treo onboard, it does stay suprisingly well balanced, and doesn’t appear to be top-heavy or wanting to fall over.

The unit comes with a 3ft. USB cable, but be forewarned — if you plan on swapping this with a longer cable, this is NOT a typical USB device cable.

A typical USB cable comes with a square-ish end that plugs into the device, and a flat rectangular end that plugs into your USB port or hub.

Not this one — it has the “flat rectangular” connection on both ends. This means that while you could probably use a “USB Extension Cable” to lengthen it, a normal 6ft. or so USB cable isn’t going to cut it.

One further gripe about the USB cable — it’d be real nice if the end that plugs into the cradle had a right-angle connector on it. As it is, you’ve got about two inches of stiff connector out behind the cradle that makes it hard to set it closely against a vertical surface.

The cradle comes with an audio-out jack on the back (next to the USB connector) that extends the audio-out from the Treo sync connector. I haven’t tried this yet, but it looks fairly handy if you want to attach a set of speakers to your device.

In addition to the audio-out, there is a green power LED on the front, and a flush-mounted Sync button. Once again, the light weight of the cradle pretty much means you’ll have to hold it in position while pressing the sync button.

I was able to sync through the cradle with no problems — in fact, it seems a little more reliable than my stock sync cable, which always tries to come loose from the bottom of the Treo when I hit the button.

Please note that the cradle does NOT come with a charger of any kind. You’ll need to hook it to a powered port or hub to charge from USB. If you’re not going to hook it up to your computer, you’ll need to have or purchase a seperate AC/USB charger or Car/USB charger. Fortunately, I’ve got a couple of both lying around.

Purchase and packaging — I bought directly from Seidio. Shipping was quick (it took 3 days, using FedEx ground). Packaging was nothing to write home about (two cradles and two cables in seperate plastic bags in a FedEx box), and no instructions were included, but pretty much any monkey is going to figure out how to hook it up quickly reglardless.

All in all, not bad for $40. I would be happy to pay $10 – $15 more, however, if I could have a unit with some weight in it, and a slightly taller connector to accomodate my Vaja case. On the other hand, I’d still like a lightweight version to throw in my notebook bag with me for travel.

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