Podi-m Aluminum Lightning Dock Review

Docks are a simple convenience that let your charge your device proudly. They are a stationary charging station designed exclusively for an assortment of gadgetry. And the Podi-m is the type of dock that can do it all. Designed with elegant style in mind, the Podi-m is a Lightning dock when you want it to be, and a 30-pin connector dock if you're still left behind. It comes to us curtsy of Kickstarter, a popular project crowd funding site that helps fund and build the concept dreams of individuals and startups alike into a reality. We've seen some amazing products successfully make their way from unknown concepts into great hits in a short amount of time with the help of curious buyers searching for that unique thing.

Take the Adonit Jot stylus, the incredibly useful olloclip iPhone 3-in-1 lens attachment and the LunaTik watch bands for example. All amazing accessories, made possible because of Kickstarter. The Podi-m is one of those upcoming products that's currently available to pre-order as of today, and we've got an exclusive first look at this versatile Lightning dock in its prototype state designed to sit and look pretty on your desk or night stand. Catch the full review right after the break!

So what is it exactly? The Podi-m has an impressive sturdy build quality which is comprised out of three individual segments that can fully be taken apart, and are made from solid aluminum finished with two types of textures including a glossy white powder-coated middle segment and a brushed/etched top with a matte finish that immediately reminded me of the brushed aluminum trim found on the Bowers & Wilkins P3 and P5 headphones. The combination is interesting and definitely has that visual classiness the Podi-m tries to convey. The Podi-m also carries that chamfered beveled edge as an elegant finishing touch which compliments the new iPhone 5 and iPad mini industrial design. As for convenient docking and charging, I've found the Podi-m to be very enjoyable to use and it has served it purpose for the most part.

Speaking of the iPad mini, the Pod-m is fully compatible with both the iPhone 5, iPad mini and just about every older generation iOS device. While you could dock your large iPad on the Podi-m, I don't think it would be very wise only because of the Podi-m's poise design. The fluid, openness platform design of the Podi-m makes it a very compatible charging dock that has virtually no limitation as to the type of Apple device it can handle.

The Podi-m's plastic dock connector assembly is the only piece in which the iPad or iPhone rests on. And the lack of additional support is noticeable when using a much wider device like the iPad mini which can easily tilt from side to side having no solid base support like rubbery feet on either side of the slightly raised plastic dock connector assembly. We would like to see some form of wide base support added to accommodate Apple tablets.

You might have noticed that long metal pole situated behind the Lightning connector. It's there to support the back side of the iPhone and iPad, and features a soft nylon tip so that when it comes in contact with the device it won't scratch it. In our testing, the end tip did not reach full contact, but did not feature the nylon tip as it's an unfinished product. I'm not very keen on the height of the metal support rod, or the concept of the rod entirely. It sort of gives the dock a vulgar, commercial look.

The Podi-m uses your own Lightning or standard Apple USB cable thru opening the two heavy-duty allen screws around the bottom to gain an easy access for swapping out cables or making any height adjustments to the charging connector should you need to accommodate a protective case. It's all easy and straightforward. The Podi-m comes with two different adapters for use with either Lightning or standard 30-pin connectors. Podi-m has no plans for offerings adapters for other popular devices like the Samsung Galaxy 3, Note 2 or the Nexus 4 sadly. Unfortunately, our prototype Podi-m did not have the height adjustability function for us to put to the test, but it does look like it'll work as advertised. There's a large rubbery bottom surface for anti-slip traction.

The Podi-m's patented pivoting connector adapter moves back and forth so that it takes off the strain on the Lightning or 30-pin connector when docking and undocking your device. It isn't necessarily designed to let you adjust the viewing angle, something that would've been possible if the support rod was positioned further back for more leeway.

We would tell you to consider the more elaborate $89 Elevation Dock, yet another Kickstarter dock that became highly successful. However, the Podi-m's functional and minimalist design actually enables it to accommodate more than just an iPhone with a case on, but Apple's entire fleet of tablets and iPods including the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation iPad. 

Inside, the Podi-m's hollowed aluminum base is neatly stuffed with two machined steel disc weights that give the dock its respective heft as any dock should have. This apparently is also designed to let you conveniently undock your iPhone with just one hand. Our prototype came with a built-in modified Apple Lightning cable connector that allowed for flawless one-handed iPhone ejection. Remarkable, only if you think about it, you're going to be using your own cable which means the connector will without a doubt have a much stronger friction connection that quite frankly, we think the Podi-m's retail 1.87 pounds (30 ounces) of weight isn't going to be enough to counteract all the friction. The Elevation Dock promised the same feature, yet failed to deliver.

It's worth nothing that our Podi-m prototype only weighs 12 ounces so we don't actually have a solid testing ground, hence the reason for the tweaked out Lightning connector. Nonetheless, we would love to see these modified Lightning connectors ship with the Podi-m as a standard feature for an additional as it would make a great low-friction add-on.

As it stands, the finish of the Podi-m isn't quite up to the standards of that of the iPhone 5's smooth and exquisitely refined detailing. But that can all change with the finished product. We never rate non-final prototypes, but the Podi-m's lack of stable iPad support and the prominent metal support rod is a downside at the moment. Otherwise, we like the idea and the concept of course. As an adjustable iPhone charge and sync dock, the Podi-m is looking very promising. The Podi-m is available in various colors and finishes like fancy solid maple/oak wood with polished/matte aluminum starting at $59.