Apple iPhone 4 Dock Review
Ah yes, The dock, the one accessory most everyone feels should be included in the box the day you purchase the phone, like it was with the first generation iPhone and some of the first iPods back in the day, these days it's a separate accessory altogether, and one that seems to continue to shrink more and more with every new generation that rolls out.
The newest generation isn't really any different, it's even smaller than the charge pod I used with my BlackBerry Bold 9700 (which was tiny when compared to the dock for the iPhone 3G/3GS which is still sold today for use with $49 3GS on AT&T).
In use, The dock for the iPhone 4 pretty self-explanatory, Take your (naked) iPhone 4, line it up with the protruding 30 pin connector, and push it down. Voila. Your phone is docked, and looks pretty snazzy sitting on your desk, especially if your lucky enough to be rocking something along the lines of a 27 inch iMac, 30 inch Cinema Display or a 23 inch (new generation) Apple External display. It's worth noting that as was to be expected, the dock is 100% compatible with the Verizon CDMA variant of the iPhone 4, as well as it's traditional GSM counterpart.
As for connectivity, You've got the usual suspects, your standard 30 pin connector which can be connected to your computer of choice, or to one of many Apple or third party wall chargers, and a line out connection, which for the audiophiles, is a good idea to use if you wish to pump audio out of your iPhone to a HiFi system rather than using the 3.5mm connector up top, as the line out provides better audio quality, however the dock lacks an infrared receiver of any kind up front for use with a remote, which some may find to be a let down, and reason enough to pay the additional $30 for the Universal Dock which Apple provide as an option for use with iPhones and most iPods released within the past 3-4 years.
When it comes to price, It may be one you simply can't justify, The dock for the iPhone 4 comes it right at $29 (19), just like all iPhone specific docks before it, however for many that price is between $10 to $15 too high for what the dock offers, especially if your not in it for the aesthetic qualities of it. Your always able to find cheap chinese knock-offs which work equally well in most cases on eBay for rather cheap, but for many going through all the effort and playing the waiting game of international imports is simply not worth it.
In my eyes, The dock is generally worth it, While I've always used cases on my phones, the iPhone 4 has been a phone I've actually been more willing to rock "naked" than others, and with a handmade felted wool pocket in the works from Byrd&Belle, I've decided that I can survive for a few weeks (cautiously) rocking my bumper until my order arrives, and it gives me the ability to use the dock.
In my eyes the price and requirements to use a naked phone with a dock is far less of a deal breaker as is the fact that using your phone while docked is a major pain, while it's not as applicable as it used to be, I've always lived by the idea that I need to leave my phone connected to power until my charge cycle is complete, and therefore I'm left to try and use the phone on the dock, which can at times be a major pain, and sometimes even impossible.
I'm one who lives and breathes modernism, and while there is nothing wrong with charging and synching via the included USB cable, the dock makes a nice addition to my desk and when it does get use, allows me to keep an eye on my phone and have it looks rather nice at the same time, for those who aren't going to care about that, I'd have to suggest you save your $29 and look for an accessory you may get use out of.
As I've mentioned before, I never like rating products on a star basis, but I'll give the dock a 3.5 out of 5 stars, due to the eye pleasing design of it, however I retract 1.5 stars due to the nearly crippling nature of it when using it mid-day when you may be receiving texts, emails or even phone calls, and the somewhat over-inflated price of $29 through most retail channels which offer it.
(Camera Gear: Nikon D40 - 18.55mm Kit Lens, Imported to Aperture and colour balanced in Photoshop CS5 on a 2010 13 inch Unibody MacBook Pro.)