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Review: Mobi Products Cradle and PowerCradle for Treos

I own three cradles -— one for my office desk, one for my entertainment center and finally one near the night-stand. Two are what I’ll call the “basic”, that’d be the Mobi Cradle ($19.95) and the other is the nicer “PowerCradle” for $24.95.

Cradles are great and if you don’t have one (or two, or three), you should seriously consider it. Here’s why: it’s a convenient single place to always place your Treo when you get home—you walk in the door, throw the phone in the cradle—as opposed to say, just tossing it anywhere, inducing a mini-search and recovery mission later. The other great benefit is with the phone cradled, the Treo’s speaker is now completely exposed, allowing you to hear your alarms, incoming calls or even your streaming internet radio. Finally, if on your desk, night-stand or entertainment center, your cradled-phone allows you’re to visually see your caller ID coming in, quickly read your test message or look for new notifications without little effort (score for laziness!). Oh, plus your phone will always have a charged battery and you don’t have to fiddle with cables.

What’s the difference between these two cradle?? Well, we’re talking about simple hardware here but there are two: quality and a wall-jack for power. The Mobi PowerCradle has the higher quality design and the optional wall-jack included, whereas the “basic” version just has a USB charger.

Mobi "Basic" Cradle

Does it matter? It depends. I’ve had these things for a long time now (10 months?) and I’ve never had any problems with them-—they both cradle and charge. But I wont’ beat around the bush: the $19.95 model is made with some pretty flimsy plastic; it’s extremely light and would probably crack if you were to drop it. One of the LEDs is so bright that it could double as a spotlight (a spot of electrical tape fixes it). But they work and I’ve never dropped them, so they serve their purpose.

Mobi PowerCradle

On the other hand, the slightly more expensive Mobi PowerCradle feels completely different. It’s sturdy, has some weight to it, has a more toned down blue LED and you get that nifty, optional wall-plug. Granted, you can’t remove the USB sync cord, so if you’re just using this by your bed, you’ll have to let it dangle or tie it up, but them’s the breaks. Oh did I mention it has a stylus holder? Yes, now you can put your stylus next to your Treo in a specially-made holder. Okay, I see the logic in having a stylus-holder but I’ll be darned if I ever actually used it, but it’s something to consider if you’re into that kind of thing.

Conclusion

I originally bought the PowerCradle to be my main man in cradle-charging and in that regard, I’m quite happy. Likewise, his lesser sibling, though lacking the same build quality, have also worked quite well. And heck, I saved myself $5.

So if you’re a cheap lad, low aesthetic requirements for charging instruments then opt for the Mobi Cradle and enjoy your $5 savings. But, if you’d like a charger that actually looks and feels nice, with a bonus wall charger and a fancy-schmancy stylus holder—then spoil yourself with the PowerCradle. Either way, both products do the job and for a reasonable price, but the PowerCradle is clearly the better value.

Mobi "Basic" Cradle

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Design: 2
  • Function: 5
  • Value: 4

Overall:

Pros

  • Cheap, as in: inexpensive
  • Works as advertised

Cons

  • Cheap, as in: feels a bit flimsy
  • USB charging only
  • LED is overly bright

Mobi PowerCradle

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Design: 4
  • Function: 5
  • Value: 4

Overall:

Pros

  • Included wall charger
  • Good looks
  • Decent build quality
  • Affordable

Cons

  • USB cable can't be removed
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Comments

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This is the best. Treo cradles require additional power. None of the others I saw that hot button simultaneously. With this you do not have to use the existing Treo Hot Sync. I would like to buy another for my bedside (alarm).