There are a wide variety of docks for iOS devices currently available, but HengeDocks have created a dock which is quite special, the Gravitas, and sent it to us to check out.
The HengeDocks Gravitas is a rather heavy docking station for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod. It features a built-in Lightning connector with removable inserts to fit different devices – including devices with cases. The most prominent and advertised feature of this particular dock, is its ability to facilitate one-handed docking and undocking. Let’s take a look at whether the Gravitas is worth its weight…
Design & Build Quality
“The build quality of the Gravitas is quite spectacular”
The first thing you notice about the Gravitas is how incredibly well made it is. The build quality of the Gravitas is quite spectacular. The Gravitas is made of a zinc alloy, which HengeDocks claim is 265% denser than aluminium. This results in the dock weighing in at 1.2 kg (2.5 pounds) and this heft is certainly noticeable. It also results in an overall very sturdy feel and a smooth metallic finish which looks and feels great.
The Gravitas certainly has incredible build quality. But it also has great design.
Straight off the bat, you can see that the design gives off an Apple-esque vibe which is understandable as HengeDocks specifically produce accessories for Apple devices. The minimal and seamless design certainly looks beautiful and it fits in quite well with the design of Apple’s devices, rather than stand out like a sore thumb.
The Gravitas has an odd shape, sort of like a truncated cylinder. The shape of the dock is thoughtful as it allows the iDevice to have something behind it to support it, but at the front, you can still access the iPhone button thanks to the ‘dip’ at the front of the dock.
“astoundingly well-built and beautifully designed”
The Gravitas also comes with swappable inserts which are black in colour, this gives a nice stripe of black through the middle of the dock and the contrast in colour, to the silver, definitely complements the design of the dock.
Although, on paper, it seems like a rather bulky product, the Gravitas does’t actually seem to take up much space. The actual product measures only 2.5 by 3.3 by 3.0 inches (HWD) and 3.5 inches in diameter. This means you won’t need to sacrifice a lot of desk space for the dock, which is great.
Overall, the Gravitas is astoundingly well-built and beautifully designed – it undoubtedly has the best build quality we have ever seen in a dock.
An important point to discuss is how the dock handles compatibility. As mentioned previously, the Gravitas ships with various inserts that can be used with the dock. These inserts are used to hold different devices. The use of inserts is quite ingenious as they allow any iDevice to be used with the dock – even some with slim cases, which we tested ourselves and were quite happy with the result.
HengeDocks also have a ‘Life After Device’ program which essentially ensures the Gravitas is future proof. The ‘Life After Device’ program means HengeDocks will be creating new inserts for new Lightning-compatible devices that Apple may release in the future – allowing you to continue using the Gravitas.
In short, the compatibility of the Gravitas is great – wholly due to the inserts that can be used with the dock.
An incredibly useful feature, which is not seen in many other docks, is the built-in MFi Lightning connector. The Lightning connector is built-in to the dock and powered through a USB-to-USB cable which is plugged in at the rear. We loved this feature as it meant there was no need to use your own Lightning cable. It also means replacement cables will be cheaper as USB-to-USB cables are considerably cheaper than Lightning cables.
The actual built-in Lightning connector is a good feature in itself. The connector has an incredibly tight and strong grip, which means devices won’t wobble or move when docked, even when pressing the home button. In addition to the USB port on the rear, there’s also an audio port which allows you to connect to a speaker – this is another feature which is rarely seen on iOS docks.
“the one-handed use of the dock is exceptionally useful”
Possibly the most useful feature, is the ability to use the dock one-handed. As mentioned previously, the dock is rather heavy and this is intentional. The heft allows the dock to stay down when docking and undocking devices, even with one hand.
Unlike other docks, the Gravitas doesn’t move, even when undocking. With iPhones, we found undocking to be as expected in that the dock doesn’t lift up. However, when undocking an iPad, the dock does lift slightly. This is most likely due to the weight of the iPad. But overall, the one-handed use of the dock is exceptionally useful.
The Gravitas is, in every sense of the word, premium. Unfortunately, so is the price. In comparison to other docks which, admittedly, may be of lower quality; the Gravitas is quite expensive.
The Gravitas is currently $69 (£49) from HengeDocks themselves, which is a bit much for what is essentially just a dock. However, the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ has never been truer in this case – as with the Gravitas, you certainly get a very premium product for the money.
All in all, the Gravitas is an exceptionally well-built, beautifully designed and functional dock. If you’re willing to pay the price for such a premium product, then we can certainly recommend the Gravitas.
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