Belkin was quick from the gate in offering accessories for the iPhone 5. As you know, the iPhone 5 didn’t just get a longer screen, but it also got a new dock connector and a relocated 3.5 mm headphone jack. As a result, accessories designed to work with the dock connector of the iPhone in its earlier iterations no longer functioned unless you added an adapter.
Belkin quickly released a number of cables, and now they have released a dock for the iPhone 5 and the iPod touch. The company was kind enough to send one for review, so let’s take a closer look.
The Belkin Charge + Sync Dock with Audio Port has been designed to use the cable that came with your iPhone5 or iPod touch (5th generation), as this product does not come with a Lightning cable.
We developed the Charge + Sync Dock for people who use their Apple supplied Lightning cable in multiple locations. The dock is intentionally designed for easy cable removal, so you can use it in other places like your Mac or in your car. For this reason, your Lightning to USB cable may come loose when you remove your iPhone. Docking your iPhone with the AUX jack in the upright position will help increase stability.
To use, first remove the magnetically attached base from the dock. Then, take the Lightning cable that came with your iPhone 5 or iPod touch (5th generation) and feed it through the cable channel. Replace the magnetically attached base and you are ready to dock.
If you want to listen to music while your iPhone is docked, connect your headphones to the audio port on the back, or connect to your stereo system with an AUX cable (AUX cable not included). The Audio jack folds down back into the base if you just want to Charge and Sync.
Painted aluminum finish
Uses your existing Lightning cable from Apple
Magnetically attached base provides access to the cable channel
Foldaway AUX jack lets you listen to music while charging
Audio port to connect headphones or external speakers
Lightning cable not included
Compatible with iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th generation)
Not for use with Belkin Lightning cables
When you open the package, you are greeted by the dock and some instructions; that’s all that’s inside. This isn’t a problem, but it is important to realize that if you are going to use this particular iPhone accessory you’ll need to bring your own cable, and that is something that needs to be factored into the price when assessing the value of the dock accessory. The need for a cable isn’t a particular issue for me since I have an iPhone, the new nano, and the iPad mini, plus I purchased two extra cables. But if the only Lightning Cable you have is the one that came with your iPhone, then you might have an issue.
The design of the dock is quite brilliant in its simplicity. There are two pieces – the base and the dock itself. Magnets hold the two together and create a single unit that is certainly solid enough, despite the fact that both parts are made from plastic.
The Belkin name is right on the front of the dock. I would have preferred something on the side or simply their new logo rather than that name advertising the manufacturer, but so be it.
As previously noted, you will have to bring your own cable if you want this to function as a charge/sync dock. The cable fits into the upper portion which is designed to hold it securely, and the stand itself has a path that holds the cable in place.
Once the dock is placed into the base, nothing but the business end of the Apple cable shows.
To the left of the cable is a 3.5 mm jack.
When the iPhone is positioned so that both the dock connector and 3.5 mm port are in use, you are able to pass audio through the phone into the dock and to your audio system.
BUT!!!! Belkin brilliantly designed the dock in such a manner that the 3.5mm plug tucks out of the way if you don’t plan to use the dock for music. That’s great, since it means you only have to position one port when placing the phone on the dock.
Put the cable in, tuck the 3.5mm jack out of the way, place the dock on the base and you have a nice, clean and functional charge/sync dock for your iPhone 5.
Thanks to its design, the dock can be used with a naked iPhone or with your iPhone in most cases. No, it doesn’t work with something like the new Lifeproof case we have in for review, but it does work with pretty much all the other cases I have.
Details from Belkin:
Lightning Connector for Ultra-Fast Speeds: The Belkin Charge + Sync Dock uses your existing the Lightning connector by Apple, so you can charge and sync your iPhone 5 or iPod touch (5th generation) at lightning-fast speeds.
The dock’s removable magnetic base contains a cable channel that holds your connector securely in place for easy cable management.
Listen While Charging Using Headphones or Speakers: The Charge + Sync Dock makes it easy to enjoy music or movies while charging your device. Simply dock your device with the AUX jack in the upright position and plug your headphones into the audio port on the back of the dock. You can also listen using your device’s speakers by folding down the AUX jack.
And because the dock is compatible with most iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th generation) cases, you don’t have to remove your case before charging.
Compatibility Information: The Belkin Charge + Sync Dock is compatible with iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th generation). You must use the Lightning cable that came with your Apple device. Not for use with Belkin Lightning cables.
I did encounter one small issue with the dock during my initial use. The lightning cable and iPhone are a tight fit. When pulling the iPhone out, the cable does have a tendency to pull up a bit before releasing the iPhone. I suspect this might lessen over time as the iPhone port becomes a bit looser, but it is something worth noting. A deal breaker? No. But it does mean you have the extra step of pushing the connector back down much of the time after using the dock. Some sort of mechanism to lock the cable down would prevent this from happening.
I’m impressed by the design the company employed with this particular dock. No, I don’t love having their name splashed on front, but I do like the simplicity of the dock, the ability to use it connected to your audio system, and the fact that it works with an iPhone 5 or current generation iPod touch — both in and out of a case. And while you do need to factor in the cost of an Apple cable when assessing its value, I think it is well worth the price if you want the convenience of a dock next to your bed or on your desk.I know this review sample will be seeing a good bit of use at work.
You can learn more and order yours on the product page.
What I Like: Small footprint; Available now; Can pass audio through OR you can fold the 3.5mm jack out of the way; Works with or without most cases
What Needs Improvement: Belkin name right on the front; BYOC- Bring Your Own Cable; Cable can pull up with the phone when removing it, thereby requiring you to push it back down into place
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample