[Updated August 24, 2014 - Added paragraph on insert for third-party case compatibility, noted the newly reduced price, and adjusted the rating accordingly.]
It occurs to me that desktop stands for iPhone and iPad have become the new executive desk toy. Gone are the tiny pool tables, gravity defying spinning things, and those perpetually clicking balls, replaced by fancy ways to display your iOS device. And I’m cool with that; I never enjoyed tiny pool. I’m also cool with the Henge Docks Gravitas dock for iPhone and iPad, but maybe not for the right reason.
As its name suggests the main feature of the Gravitas is its weight. Made of a zinc alloy that’s 265% denser than aluminum, the Gravitas weighs in at 2.5 pounds, despite its small footprint. This means your iDevice won’t slide around your desk (assisted by the rubber gripped bottom), and it most certainly won’t tip over if you hit it the wrong way. The main purpose of the extra heft, however, is so you can lift your iPhone or iPad from the Gravitas with one hand. In theory. I found that because of the tight fit of the Lightning connector, I still had to wiggle my iPhone out, and I still needed two hands for the iPad.
And yes, the Gravitas accommodates both…and more to come. This is because the precise fit is determined by plastic inserts that snap into place over the center of the weighted portion. Your purchase comes with inserts for the iPhone 5/5s and 5c, as well as iPad mini / iPad Air and 4th gen iPad.
You likely won’t need all of them, but you will be upgrading eventually, and the Henge Docks Gravitas will allow you to simply buy a new insert for whatever size you may need. They currently don’t have prices listed, but they’ll certainly be less expensive than a new dock.
Even better, Henge Docks has added an insert that accommodates many third-party cases. The inserts for the Gravitas are so precise that if you’ve got even the thinnest of cases on your iDevice, it likely won’t fit in the dock. Henge Docks has addressed this issue by providing a separate insert that’s wide enough to fit many popular iPhone cases (you can see a compatibility list at the Henge Docks website), so you won’t have to remove it to use the Gravitas.
This new insert is now included with the initial purchase, while those who already purchased a Gravitas can order one for $9.00, which is certainly fair.
The Gravitas features some handy functionality, too. The inserts include openings that funnel your iDevice’s audio out the side of the device, which naturally amplifies the sound a bit.
If that’s not enough, an audio out jack allows you to connect the iPhone audio directly with a speaker system or your computer. I also like that there’s a wide cutout in front of the home button so you can somewhat easily use your iPhone or iPad while it’s docked. Perhaps most useful, however, is the included USB cable for charging your iDevice or connecting it with your computer while it’s docked.
The Henge Docks Gravitas weighs in at $69.00, so you certainly have less expensive options out there. But the Gravitas is “future proof,” it’s very well made, and it looks great sitting next to your iMac or MacBook without taking up too much desk space. It’s certainly more useful than Newton’s Cradle, and with the right app running, perhaps equally as mesmerizing.
Buy the Henge Docks Gravitas
Provides: Weighted display and docking for Lightning equipped iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
Developer: Henge Docks