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Old 05-24-2006, 04:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hands on review: Seidio 8700 USB Desktop Cradle

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Blackberry 8700 USB Desktop Cradle

Hands on review by lgreenberg

May 24, 2006

Price as reviewed: $24.95 for cradle with USB cable only or $34.95 for cradle with USB cable and Travel charger

** I have been told by Seidio, but can not comfirm since I only have a 8700c in my possession, that this cradle works with all variations of the 8700x series.

Therexxx8217;s nothing like being on the cutting edge. I love when companies see something thatxxx8217;s missing in the market place and fill the hole with a wonderful new product. Seidio has done it again with the release of their Blackberry 8700 Desktop Cradle.

Since the Blackberry 8700xxx8217;s charging port is uniquely located on the side of the device designing a cradle which would not only hold the device upright but charge and sync it as well would be no easy task.

RIM themselves hadnxxx8217;t done it yet. Those of us who liked using a cradle were forced to use the RIM cradle designed for the 72xx series Blackberry.

This sort of worked but it really didnxxx8217;t hold the 8700 securely. The slightest bump and out came the device. Not to mention you needed to plug the OEM cables directly into the Blackberry. This was really nothing more than a stand. Good for keeping the device upright but not really safe.

Well it wasnxxx8217;t long ago that David Chang from Seidio surveyed Blackberry Forums members about what products theyxxx8217;d like to see developed for the 8700. A cradle seemed to be at the top of everyonexxx8217;s list. A few short weeks later, BAM! Seidio releases there own cradle for the 8700. I love it!

The cradle is available in two configurations.

For $24.95 youxxx8217;ll get the cradle and a mini USB to USB cable. This will allow you to sync your Blackberry with your computer as well as charge it but only when your computer is turned on.

Or for $34.95 you get the ultimate set up. Not only do you get the cradle and the mini USB to USB cable but you also get a DC to USB cable and a USB/DC charging adapter. This allows you to both sync your Blackberry with your PC. It also allows you to charge your Blackberry even when your computer is turned off.

For me itxxx8217;s no decision. For the extra $10 Ixxx8217;d go with the full package every time. Personally I turn my computer off every night and thatxxx8217;s the time I plug my Blackberry in to be charged. I mean think about it. When your computerxxx8217;s turned on, youxxx8217;re sitting in front of it. Chances are youxxx8217;re reading your e-mail on your PC. I let my Blackberry charge when Ixxx8217;m not using it.

The cradle is made of hard, durable, black plastic. There is no branding of any kind on the cradle.

The back of the cradle has to ports, one for the mini USB cable and one for the power adapter.

Once everythingxxx8217;s plugged in the cradle emits a blue light on the front letting you know itxxx8217;s drawing power. I was somewhat disappointed to see that the light really doesnxxx8217;t do anything else. It just keeps a constant blue.

I donxxx8217;t use my LED on the Blackberry itself. So it would be great if the blue LED on the cradle was actually a charging indicator. I wished it only lit up when charging was actually occurring instead of lighting up as soon as the cradle itself is plugged in.

To insert the 8700 in to the cradle you simply position it along the grooved area of the cradle.

Because of the special location of the mini USB port on the Blackberry it's important to really push hard on the device to make sure a proper connection is made. It's not as easy as simply dropping the device into the cradle and off you go. It does take a little work to get it done. It can be inserted one handed but for me requires two to remove.

After speaking with Seidio's technical support people it seems that the side convenience key is partially to blame for the difficulty in making the connection between the cradle and the device. Since it's right below the mini USB port it can sometime prevent the connection from being completely made. Rest assured Seidio is aware of this issue and is looking at alternate solutions. It's not that it's a major issue but a fix could simply make things easier.

Edit- I awoke this morning to find my Blackberry only at 80% battery even though it had been in the cradle all night. So it looks like the Blackberry lost it's charging connection sometime during the night. It seems the connection issue might be a bigger problem that I thought. I do have Egrips on the back of my Blackberry so this may be causing the issue. I'll have to test it tonight with the Egrips removed to see if it happens again.

Then you slide it in.

For those of you who use Egrips I found when I had them on my battery door it was much harder to make the proper connection between the device and the cradle. Once I removed the Egrips from the back inserting the device into the cradle became much easier.

I donxxx8217;t plan on removing my Egrips but wanted to make anyone who does use them aware of this. Itxxx8217;s not a problem per se. It doesnxxx8217;t seem to effect the overall usage of the cradle itself. It just makes that initial insertion of device to cradle a little stiffer.

With both cables plugged in the back youxxx8217;ll also be able to sync your device with the cradle.

One thing worth mentioning. If you are an extended battery user take note. Siedio is working on a version of this cradle which will accommodate the extended battery. So if you primarily use the larger battery you may want to wait.

Also, it's impossible to use this cradle while your device is in a case or skin. If you use a form fitting case or skin just be aware, you'll have to remove your device from the case every time you want to charge it on this cradle.

Several people have reported having similar issues to the one I mentioned above where the Blackberry will not stay connected while in this cradle. This seems to be a bigger issue than I initially thought.

I'm also not going to give this item a rating until the above issue is addressed.

Pros: Nothing else like it available, charges and syncs.
Cons: LED doesnxxx8217;t indicate when charging is occurring, won't work with any skins or cases, possible problem with connection.

Last edited by lgreenberg : 05-25-2006 at 08:25 PM.