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, 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?
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.
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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