By January 12, 2009

AccessoryOne HTC Touch Verizon VX6900 USB Charging Cradle Dock Review

I love my HTC Touch (known as the VX6900 on the Verizon network). I use it for all sorts of stuff: check Gmail, send text messages, approve Gibberish comments, listen to Internet Radio awesomeness Pandora.com, use the built-in GPS and Google Maps, and sometimes I even call people on it. Even though the upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.1 improved battery efficiency, I still have to recharge the phone several times a day. I used to get really pissed off about it, especially coming from my fantastic Samsung u740. I could rock that Samsung for three to four days without recharging its extended battery. However, once I thought of the Touch as a small computer instead of a phone I started treating it like a laptop. I wouldn’t expect my Dell Latitude at work to go all day without a recharge, would I?

I used to carry around a mini-USB / USB cable in my work bag that let me charge my phone via my laptop. Every time I plugged it in, though, Windows XP kept trying to setup a relationship with my phone via ActiveSync. I got tired of clicking “cancel” a couple times a day and just tried to hold out as long as possible, hoping the phone would have enough juice to survive the work day. I needed another way to charge my phone, and damn it would be helpful if I had a spare battery, too ….

Then I found this cradle / dock on eBay that claimed to charge the phone and a second battery at the same time. At $22 shipped it was probably a piece of shit, but aren’t dodgy product reviews what Gibberish is all about?

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There are a couple of things I noticed about the dock right off the bat. The cradle has a separate power supply. This may not seem like a big deal, but this means I don’t have to use USB power from my computer to power it. No more prompts from Windows asking to establish an ActiveSync relationship with the phone. Again.

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The dock has two indicators on the back. One is for AC power, the other signifies the dock is connected to a computer via USB. The USB cord is separate and is used to sync the phone with your computer while it is in the cradle. The phone sits firmly on a mini USB connector in the front of the cradle. AC power is supplied via a horizontally-oriented “wall wart” that should only cover one outlet on a power strip or wall plate.

Windows XP Pro SP2 refused to recognize my phone when it was in the dock, but Windows Vista SP1 picks it right up. I don’t know if I had a competing driver somewhere or if I didn’t configure ActiveSync correctly on my XP machine. I didn’t think I’d ever type this, but Vista works pretty damn well with this peripheral. :)

Don’t expect any product support or brand name recognition with this device. “AccessoryOne Cradle” is stamped on the bottom … the only thing I could find on the company are other eBay-type sales or links to import/export companies. It has run without incident (meaning, fire) at my unattended desk at work for several months, but there doesn’t appear to be a UL approval anywhere on the dock.

The AccessoryOne USB cradle turned out to be a great value for my HTC Touch. A Verizon dock will run you $40, does not come with a power supply, and will not sync your phone up to your computer. For half the price and twice the functionality, check out the AccessoryOne cradle.

Highly recommended.

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