Satechi’s Aluminum Mobile Dock and Watch Stand: Solid and useful accessories

Satechi keeps rolling out new models in its Metallic Series, all featuring solid aluminum construction that compliments the design of Apple products. Today we’re looking at the two newest members of the aluminum family, the Aluminum Mobile Dock for iPhone and iPad mini (US$24.99) and the Aluminum Watch Stand (US$19.99).

Aluminum Watch Stand

The Aluminum Watch Stand is a nice-looking piece of hardware, made from a solid chunk of aluminum complete with an iPhone-like shiny chamfer on the edge of the rectangular base. As you’d expect, you supply your own Watch Charging Cable, which winds down through a channel in the back and bottom of the stand.

On the bottom of the stand is a silicone base that keeps it from sliding, a feature that cat lovers will find useful. The top of the stand is angled at 45 degrees, and the design allows for both regular and nightstand mode orientations while charging.

Satechi Aluminum Watch Stand (nightstand mode). Photo©2016, Steven Sande

Satechi Aluminum Watch Stand (nightstand mode). Photo©2016, Steven Sande

Compared to my existing Watch stand, I prefer the Satechi design as the Watch is elevated and much easier to see when I laying in bed. The stand comes in silver, gold, and space gray, and works with 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches.

Conclusion

The Satechi Aluminum Watch Stand is perfect for the Apple aficionado who wants a solid and well-designed charging stand but doesn’t want to pay a ridiculously high price. At just $20 through Amazon, it’s almost $30 less expensive than a well-known competitor.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★

Satechi Aluminum Mobile Dock. Photo©2016, Steven Sande

Satechi Aluminum Mobile Dock. Photo©2016, Steven Sande

Aluminum Mobile Dock

I’ve probably tried every dock ever made for iPhone at one point or another. Some feature a good open design that works with a variety of cases, while others must be used with a case-less iPhone. Sometimes they’re chunky, others are surprisingly thin. And some provide back support for the iPhone while others don’t.

The Satechi Aluminum Mobile Dock is a mixture of these design elements. Like the Aluminum Watch Stand reviewed above, it features all-aluminum construction and a silicone base pad that keeps the stand from sliding. The edge of the circular base features the same chamfer found on the Watch Stand.

One difference is that there is a little bit of assembly required. No worries - it just involves using an included Allen wrench to tighten a pair of hex screws.

As with the Watch Stand, you must supply your own charging cable and in this case, it must be the stock Apple Lightning Cable. There’s a trough on the bottom of the base through which the cable is threaded, and the plastic end of the cable fits snugly into a hold at the top. I found it to be a very tight fit that required that some pressure be applied to the cable end to get it into the stand, and the cable also seemed very snug when it was threaded into the bottom trough.

Satechi Aluminum Mobile Dock Closeup. Photo©2016 Steven Sande

Satechi Aluminum Mobile Dock Closeup. Photo©2016 Steven Sande

I do have a bit of a concern that the lack of a “back” to the stand that can prop up the iPhone could cause some extra force on the Lightning connector port. In fact, I noticed at several points that I was getting a momentary connection on the iPhone, as it would be charging, then not charging, then charging again, ad infinitum. Since the iPhone announces each plug-in, it was chiming every few seconds.

Other than that — and please note that my iPhone 6s Plus has the same problem with many charging cables while an iPhone 5s doesn’t — the Aluminum Mobile Dock is stylish and quite functional. Note that you may have to leave part of the Lightning connector plastic cable end out of the channel on the upright section of the stand to account for clearance for a case.

Conclusion

The Satechi Aluminum Mobile Dock is very stylish and reasonably priced. However, longer and heavier iPhones like the “Plus” models and the iPad mini — both of which are recommended for use with this dock — could cause some charging issues due to forces on the Lightning connector and the lack of a back support for the device.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★