Remember back when PDAs and iPods all came with a charging and syncing dock? These days all you get is a USB charging cable. Yes, I realize that a cable will get the job done, but they certainly lack in the decor department. If you’ve been wishing for a dock that will charge your iPhone in or out of a case, while also looking quite nice, the ElementCase Vapor Dock is an option. They recently sent me one to test and it’s time for me to share my thoughts with you on this product.
Note: Click the images in this review to see a larger view.
Some of you may already be familiar with ElementCase. They offer a range of metal iPhone cases. My guess is that they created the Vapor Dock as an accessory to their cases.
The Vapor Dock is available in Black or Silver CNC Machined aluminum. It has a smooth sanded raw feel instead of a polished feel. I prefer a polished feel… but it’s not like I’m going to be spending all day caressing an iPhone dock, so I’m just being picky and it’s not a huge deal.
I’m not a stranger to 3rd party charging docks. I’ve been using a Zdock for awhile now. It’s pictured above on the right. It’s made of Zinc and weighs in at 12.6 oz. The Vapor Dock weighs 9.0 oz. on my electronic scale.
The Vapor Dock has a chunky but minimalistic style. I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t have a gaudy logo or other flashy branding. There’s just a small stylized E for ElementCase in the lower front corner.
Here’s a side view. You’ll notice the white 30 pin cable in the large slot. The slot is sized to accommodate an uncased iPhone or an iPhone in a case. Using a set of calipers, the size of the slot is approximately 2.74 inches long by .51 inches wide.
You’re probably wondering about the purpose of the suede lined tray in the back. I am too. It’s not really large enough to be useful. It’s almost like they were considering making a double dock.
The Vapor comes with a White cable installed in the dock. If you need / want to remove the cable, you’ll need a special tool as the screws holding the cable in place are star shaped.
The Vapor Dock has a special feature that amplifies the sound from the iPhone’s speakers without requiring batteries. Air chamber cutouts in the bottom of the docking slot capture and then guide the sound from the phone’s speakers through the front of the dock. Although it won’t make your jaw drop, the dock really does amplify the sound.
The Vapor Dock looks nice and I had no problems using it to charge and sync my phone with my computer.
The only issue I had is that the dock is just not heavy enough. If you remember, at the beginning of this review, I mentioned that I’ve been using a 12.6 ounce Zdock. The Vapor is 3.6 ounces lighter. Those extra ounces are really important. With the Vapor, I can easily insert the iPhone with just one hand. But to remove it, I have to hold the base of the dock with one hand, while removing the iPhone with my other hand. If I try to remove the iPhone with just one hand, the dock will lift off my desk. I don’t have this problem with the Zdock.
Although the ElementCase Vapor Dock is a solid dock with a nice look and a sound amplification feature, I wouldn’t care to use it after having used the Zdock with its 1-hand removal. That and the fact that the Vapor costs $120 and the Zdock is only $49 keep me from fully recommending it.