Elevation Dock Review; How Some Kickstarter Projects Overdeliver

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Backing a Kickstarter Project is, as Judie and I have discovered, a roll of the dice. There is no guarantee the project will get funded and, if it does, no guarantee it will deliver on time. In fact, just yesterday I received to emails about projects that are “significantly delayed”. Then, even if the project does get funded, created and arrive there is no guarantee it will live up to its promise. Then there are projects like the Elevation Dock. It. Is. Awesome.

The Elevation Dock was a Kickstarter project that sought to deliver what Apple never has — a good, usable, attractive dock for the iPhone. (We wrote about it here.) It launched on Dec. 13, 2011, and they sought $75,000 in backing. It closed on Feb. 11, 2012 and, when all was said and done, had raise just under 1.5 million dollars. It was backed by over 12,000 people.

The promised delivery date was last April. It missed that date but, considering the project ballooned as much as it did, that really wasn’t a surprise. Along the way, the project founders kept us up to date and even altered the design in some positive ways. For example, as rumors of the next iPhone and its new dock connector emerged they altered the design to make it updatable. That’s a good thing considering my personal backing of the dock cost me $85.

The dock finally arrived this week and … it is fantastic.

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The Elevation Dock is carved from a solid block of aluminum. A rubber bumper in the back flips around to support iPhones in both their naked state and when used in a case.

This is the promotional image for the original dock.

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So is this.

Gear Diary Elevation Dock

This is the Elevation Dock I “ordered”. It is the Elevation Dock+ in an anodized Matte Black finish.

Gear Diary Elevation Dock 006

The Dock+ adds a shielded Line Level audio out port and a USB power adapter. While I have plenty of USB power adapters and rarely use a wired audio connection for music I figured it was best to back the “full package”. I’m glad I did since it will provide flexibility and keep the dock useful for some time to come.

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The Elevation Dock looks similar to the Element Case Vapor Dock (above) we reviewed a few months back (read it), but has a few features that stand out.

First, the iPhone docks and undocks from the Elevation Dock a bit more easily. With the Element Case Vapor Dock, you need to be more careful about positioning the dock connector when placing it into the dock.

The Elevation Dock offers an easier time with this thanks to the low friction connector.

The Elevation Dock+ has the line out port while the Vapor Dock does not.

At the same time, the Vapor Dock comes in more colors… if that is your thing.

Finally, the Elevation Dock domes with a sync/charge connector, and I’m quite optimistic with regard to updating it for the new iPhone.

The Element Case Vapor Dock is BYOC (Bring Your Own Cable), and updating it is not a sure thing.

Don’t get me wrong, both are excellent docks. They just have different specific aspects that will make one or the other better for you.

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Here’s a look at Elana’s iPhone and its Speck case in the Elevation Dock. It looks great but, more importantly, it works well. Getting the iPhone in and out is a breeze and, when it is in place, it is stable. That’s key since, after the screen, the dock connection is the most vulnerable part of the iPhone.

Gear Diary Elevation Dock 011

In all, the Elevation Dock is a great accessory for your iPhone. While some backers are still waiting for their backer rewards it isn’t surprising that there have been some delays. After all, if all the docks going to backers were piled one on top of the other it would equal the height of FOUR Empire State Buildings. That’s a lot of dock considering they were only looking for $75,000 in backing or about 1000 docks.

MSRP: Starting at $90 when in retail

What I Like: Solid; Well-made; Upgradable; Low friction dock for easy docking and removal; Shielded line-out port on the Elevation Dock+ model

What Needs Improvement: Pricey; Still not available to non-backers

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.