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Griffin Simplifi Dock for iPod and iPhone (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- Charge/sync hub for dock connector iPod models and, through its built-in USB ports, iPod shuffle (1G and 2G)
- Reads and writes the most popular digital media cards, including Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD, xD, and CF (CompactFlash)
- Two-port powered USB hub, using included AC adapter
- A simple, versatile way to de-clutter your desktop
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De-clutter the top of your desk and simplify your digital life with Simplifi--one compact unit that handles your iPod, USB connections, and all kinds of media cards. Simplifi charges dock-rechargeable iPod models as they sync with your computer through the included USB mini cable. Use Simplifi's USB ports to plug in keyboards, printers, cameras, flash drives, scanners, and external hard keyboards--anything USB 2.0-compatible. Simplifi ships with an AC adapter for those USB devices that need a powered port.
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Nice metal case and the underside has a wide rubber pad that keeps it from sliding around fairly well.
You may not need the power cord. I was able to charge my iPhone and read an SD card from the device without the power plugged in. I was also able to run a portable USB HDD from it without the power cable. However... To run the HDD and charge my phone, I needed to plug it in.
Card reader slot:
The SD card reader slot is NOT smooth. It works, but it’s a bit of an effort to get the cards in and out.
There is a superfluous blue LED on the front of the device and one over each of the two USB ports on the back. They are not overly bright, but I personally hatted them. So much so that I disassembled it and removed the LEDs. (Pop off the front plate and slide the guts out the back. 10 minute job)
All in all I am VERY happy with this. It lives on my desk and gets used every day to charge my phone and read SD cards. Currently it’s only $5 and at that price you can’t go wrong.
Enter the Simplifi which, while not doing anything earth-shattering, adds a few pluses to the arguably-required dock for your iPod or iPhone: a two-port USB hub and a camera card reader, capable of handling the most common types (Compact Flash, SD (including SDHD), xD, and Memory Stick/Memory Stick Pro).
A warning if you use Memory Stick Pro (the little card); it will read the small cards but you need to use the adapter (that makes it sized to the original cards). You can put that little card all the way in there, and it'll read it, but it's too small to be able to pull back out. (Yeah, I did it. To get the MSP out, I just kind of stuck the adapter on it and pulled it back out. Boneheaded move as I knew it was too small for the port.)
The finish is nice and the build seems good. The unit is a bit heavy, unlike some USB hubs, which always (and, to me, inexplicably) always try to be the lightest object on the market (which aids in their flipping over, leaning, falling off the back of your desk, etc.).
Included is an AC adapter (which gives it some extra juice should you have the unit a little too far down the chain or connected to an unpowered hub) and a very short USB cable. Maybe that's just me; the USB cable is a mini USB to regular USB plug, and about a foot long. I figured this was no problem as I had plenty of longer cables on hand, but whenever I used one of them (and I tried several) my iPhone would eventually bounce off as "unrecognized", scaring the bejeebus out of me. Going back to Griffin's included USB cable solved the problem. (FWIW, a quick response from Griffin tells me that an extension cable, and not a replacement, would be a better solution). I got around the issue by making it the "first stop" off my MacBook Pro's left USB port, and hooking my other hub downstream of it. (FWIW, hooking it up to the hub via the included cable wasn't an option as the hub is pretty far removed from where I wanted the dock to be.)
It's a little on the pricey side; nearly as much as Apple's own Universal Dock. Still, it's go the added card reader, though some may consider that unnecessary fluff. I like it for the weight and the fact it's not a dead end (i.e., it's a hub); the card reader capability is lagniappe. After a few weeks of daily use, I'd recommend it.
- USB2 hub (has two "free" ports when in use)
- Card reader for most popular camera cards (see above)
- iPod/iPhone dock*
- A little pricey [**NOTE - Review is of the original release, which was much higher than Amazon's currently-noted price **]
- Included USB cable is short**
*Note that I confirmed with Griffin that, though their site and literature is not yet updated, the Simplifi works with docking iPods and iPhones (including the 3G; confirmed this with Griffin via email)
**Again, per my review, you have to use the USB cable it came with; trying to use an aftermarket miniUSB to USB male will cause drop-outs. I emailed Griffin about this and they recommended using a USB extension cable with the included cable rather than using an altogether different cable (in fact, they offered to send me one).
Moreover, I'm beginning to realize that using this dock is, in my case, taking up more space and time than life pre-Simplifi. The dock, as mentioned, employs a short, heavy cable--so short that I've found no place where the dock can be positioned without being in the way. The cord is even too short to permit placement alongside the screen; placing it in front of the screen requires that I shove the whole computer back to allow room for the vertical dimensions of the iPod; situating it behind the screen would work fine for an external storage drive but is hardly an option for an iPod dock.
The other hassle, at least for multi-iPod owners, is the assortment of "adapters," a different one required for each iPod. Griffin's ineffective labeling of them makes matters worse, requiring the owner to correlate a minuscule, barely readable number with the appropriate, corresponding iPod. Moreover, the adapters are a nail-breaking hassle to remove. (Griffin, along with manufacturers like JBL, Altec, and Logitech would be well advised to check out the Cyber Acoustics iRhythms dock for an example of clearly labeled adapters with a strong back tab attached to each for easy installation and removal. In fact, there are some docks--e.g. the Athena iVoice--that solve the problem of different adapters by using a single adjustable post that effectively accommodates any iPod made by Apple. Why other manufacturers have not followed suit frankly baffles me.)
In short, if you don't plan to use an assortment of different iPods with the dock, haven't already cluttered your surrounding desktop with various drives, haven't used up all the AC receptacles on your power strip, this could easily be a 4 or 5 star dock for the right person--and the card reader plus two extra USB ports might even clinch the deal. It's hard to complain about the price (though higher since I purchased it several weeks ago), which is only slightly higher than many single-duty hubs. But if you're already running a heavy operation, with everything from musical keyboards to scanners to audio equipment attached to your machine, better stop dreaming about greater freedom through the attachment of yet another device. In fact, it may work best simply to keep two cables permanently attached to your computer's USB ports--one with a "universal" iPod connector at the open end; the other with a mini-USB connector (for the storage cards in digital cameras and audio recorders).