Alldock – Expensive Form, Cheap Function

The Alldock is a very well-designed charger, but its usefulness does not justify the price for most people.

Published: November 5, 2015 9:00 AM /

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Life in 2015 is convenient. Most of us enjoy the comfort and convenience that technology brings. We have little pocket-sized computers with us that put the entire human library of knowledge at our fingertips and tablets that replace the ever inconvenient books with something a bit more manageable. Hell, even our watches have screens nowadays. Having all these gadgets at your fingertips is fantastic. Too bad that QI-charging is still far from omnipresent. If you're like me, you'll have a ton of cables attached to sockets to charge all the portable technology you own. It's a minor inconvenience at best, but it's an inconvenience nonetheless. The Alldock wants to change that. 

After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, the German design company Dittrich Design is making itself ready to release the new version of the Alldock, a device that aims to make charging all your devices a piece of cake, as well as aesthetically pleasing. The Alldock is a little wooden box with a grate that fits most smartphones and tablets, as well as a smartwatch (Apple or otherwise). The box has a 4-slot USB hub installed inside the box, allowing you to charge up to 4 devices at once. They sent me the 2015 version for review, and this version will be available for retail purchase in early December.

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Inside the packaging you'll find 3 different pieces. The grate you put on top of the box is on the left, the box itself is in the middle, and the smartwatch module is on the right.

According to the documents included in the box, the Alldock is handmade with a blend of walnut and bamboo, harvested from sustainable forests in China and New-Zealand. The wood is nicely finished, feels smooth and overall just looks well-designed. Dittrich claims that the Alldock is the "racing car" of docking stations, promising to charge your devices up to 80% in under 60 minutes. After using the Alldock for about 2 days, it seems like there is some truth to this claim, and connecting multiple devices at once does not slow down the charge speed of individual devices. The little wooden box is beautiful to look at and fits well with most interiors due to its warm, natural color. My interior is mostly black and muted colors, so I don't usually have a problem with mixing and matching furniture, but I can't imagine the Alldock looking out of place anywhere, especially since the Alldock is available in a few different colors.

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Wonderfully crafted with smooth corners and a nice, shiny polish.

Like I mentioned earlier, the Alldock has a built in USB hub with 4 slots. There is more than enough room to plug the things in, although I would advise using shorter cables. The longer cables—like the ones you usually get with your smartphone—work just as well, but the box will start to feel cramped and the different pieces will have trouble fitting on top of each other because of it. 

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Using longer cables can become a bit of problem. The case is obviously designed with short cables in mind.

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Assembling the pieces is as easy as one, two, three. There are little magnets in the walls of the box, making sure that all the pieces stay in place. They're not very strong, but that shouldn't matter since you won't be carrying the Alldock around. 

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You can stick the chargers through grooves in the bottom of the grate. The smartwatch module on the right has my smartwatch charger stuck onto it with an adhesive sticker that came with the Alldock.

All in all, it's a nice piece of kit. It looks great on a coffee table (or, if you're me, under your TV) or a desk, and it takes up very little room. The only problem I have with it is that it's ridiculously expensive for what it is; early adopters on their Kickstarter can buy the Alldock for 139 euro ($153) or for 179 euro ($198) if you want to buy it from a shop. Ridiculously expensive for what is, essentially, just a USB hub in a wooden box. It's a nice piece of furniture, but no amount of polish or fair-trade wood can justify the price.
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TechRaptor was given the Alldock for the purposes of review.

Review Summary

The Alldock is a very well-designed charger, but its usefulness does not justify the price for most people. (Review Policy)

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Chris Anderson
| Staff Writer

I've been playing games since I was just barely able to walk so I might as well write about them.