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Old 05-24-2006, 05:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hands on review: Amzer 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

Please refer to my comments in the review of the Seidio cradle regarding issues with this cradle maintaining a connection to the Blackberry. The Amzer cradle suffers from the same issue.

Seidio Cradle Review

Therexxx8217;s nothing quite like getting the same thing twice. Today waiting at my door there were two packages. One contained the Seidio USB Desktop Cradle I reviewed here. The other came from Moftware and contained the same exact cradle but this one is branded under the Amzer brand name.

Ixxx8217;m a little familiar with Amzer as you might remember, I recently reviewed their Milante Hydrofoam Pouch for the 8700 here.

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.

There was certainly a need for a desktop cradle which both charged and synced the 8700. Well now the need has been filled.

The cradle is available currently from Blackberry Stuff.

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.

The cradle is made of hard, durable, black plastic. The Amzer name has been placed on the front of the device above the blue LED. Ixxx8217;m sorry but it bothers me personally when companies feel the need to place their logos smack in the middle of the front of the device. But to each his/her own.

The back of the cradle has two ports, one for the mini USB cable and one for the power adapter. Since there is no option to purchase the power adapter youxxx8217;ll need to find one separately.

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.

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.

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.

Therexxx8217;s not much else to say. This product simply works. It does everything youxxx8217;d expect a sync cradle to do. My only complaint is the lack of real functionality in the LED.

You might be saying to yourself why are there two products which are exactly the same but made by two different companies? Which one should I purchase? I leave that entirely up to you. They are really the same thing. Sort of like The Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. Same cars but different names.

Amzer should also considering mirroring Seidio and at least offer the option of including the charging cable as well.

Because of the lack of that option and the placement of the logo (you literally have to stare at it each time you look at your device while itxxx8217;s in the cradle) Ixxx8217;m knocking off one Blackberry from the Seidioxxx8217;s review.

I give this product 4 out of 5 Blackberries in concept but and holding back on rendering my 100% judgement until I further test the connection method.

Pros: Holds the device securely while syncing.
Cons: LED doesnxxx8217;t indicate when charging is occurring, no option to purchase charging cable, logo, possible bad connection method.

Last edited by lgreenberg : 05-25-2006 at 08:27 PM.

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