After I picked up my Sony Xperia Z from T-Mobile I knew there were a few things I would need right away. One of those was a desktop charging cradle. Especially since I the Xperia Z has those two awesome pinpoints on the left hand side for charging without having to open the USB charging port. Being a long time Samsung owner, this was something new to me that I had never had the luxury of having. So I set off to find an affordable desktop charging cradle. I came across this one through Shop.Brando.com.
It is obviously not the charging cradle designed and logoed up by Sony, but that hardly matters to me personally as long as it works. It designed slightly different, having more rounded edges and looking less like a brick. Size wise, it is pretty close to the one directly from Sony. The one from Brando (this one we are reviewing) measures in at 143mm x 47mm x 43mm and the Sony model comes in at 144mm x 40mm x 30mm. Just means it sits a little bit taller and is a bit wider. I would imagine if I had them side by side I would notice the difference.
This model is designed to work with you device as it is, without the need to open any ports on your phone. Which by its self is pretty nice. Your Xperia Z will slip right in with minimal effort and start to charge immediately. There isn’t any wiggle room for use with a case. Although, the few cases I have looked at don’t leave the charging pins exposed in the first place.
The Charging cradle gives you a slight angle to the device while it is in place. While I would like it to be angled just a little bit more, it does give you easy viewing of your screen for messages, calls, alerts, notifications and viewing media.
Not having to dig your fingernail under the charging cover to plug your device in can only be a good thing. General wear and tear on a USB port can lead to charging issues later down the road and with the Xperia Z’s water-resistant aspect I can only surmise that the cover for the port could eventually lose its protective ability.
(no photo) The bottom of the cradle is covered in a nice rubber finish to prevent slipping and sliding around. Important, but not life altering information.
While there really isn’t much to the cradle, it is a great accessory to have. Obviously the ease at which you can charge your Xperia Z is great. It is fairly small and very lightweight so taking it with you on your travels isn’t difficult at all. The magic of the charging dock is more in the Xperia Z then the dock itself. You see, when you place your XZ on the cradle, you open up a whole world of possibilities. On your device you will find a built-in app called Smart Connect. It is actually available in the Play Store and doesn’t appear to be device specific. When Smart Connect is activated, your device will recognize the type of connection. Be it headphones, headset, charging cable, dock or other connected device. If it is a dock, like in this case, you can add a condition that at a certain time of the night or day while in the dock, it does something for you. Then you can select a “Start Action” like Go to Home Screen, Play tracks, Bluetooth Audio Connect, Volumes, Sounds, Direct Call, post to Facebook and a slew of other things. You can also add an End Action for when you take your device off the dock. You have the same choices as you do for start actions.
So you can laydown and toss your Xperia Z in this dock and have it automatically switch over to your favorite desktop clock app, set it to start playing music at 6 a.m. to wake you up and then have it open your favorite news website when you pull it off the dock in the morning. Pretty damn awesome. I might just have to review that app all by itself.
I did some looking around the web a little and found the Sony branded dock goes for around $30. Which isn’t terrible, but still a bit much for some who just want to charge their phone in a horizontal and viewable position. The OEM one from Shop.Brando.com retails for just $18 with a standard $3 ground shipping fee. When mine went out, it arrived in about a week. They say to allow 7-20 working days for delivery so don’t be to terribly surprised if it takes longer based on your location.
If you are interested in picking one of these up for Sony Xperia Z, or any of their other affordable accessories, direct your browser to Shop.Brando.com.
Small note, since this uses the pin connectors on the side of the device, it also means you cannot use this to transfer data. It just charges, starts and stops actions. You will still need to plug your phone into a PC directly to transfer data.