I broke my Just Mobile AluBolt Lightning Dock. Well, technically, the baggage handlers at United Airlines broke it, but I’m an internal locus of control kind of guy, so I take the blame. Just Mobile doesn’t bill the AluBolt as a travel dock, after all, and I probably could’ve packed it better. But here’s the thing…I like the AluBolt so much that I immediately glued it back together and put it to proper use.
The AluBolt Lightning Dock takes its name from the fact that it comes with a built-in Lightning cable. The 1m Lightning to USB cable is permanently attached to the base, making it a handy solution for docking your iPhone or iPad mini at the office if your Apple Lightning cable is kept at home.
It’s also a great way to dock your phone on your bedside table at night, allowing you to use your iPhone as your alarm clock and make sure it’s charged in the morning.
The surface of the AluBolt base is constructed of high grade aluminum that looks natural sitting next to your iMac or MacBook. The rest of the base and the curved backrest are made of a flat black plastic, while a wide band of rubber sits at the bottom of the base to hold the AluBolt in place. It’s a fairly light piece of hardware, so you’ll need to two hands to get your iPhone, iPad mini or iPod touch out of the dock.
The curved backrest is the piece that broke off while in my suitcase. It’s attached to the base with screws hidden under the bottom piece, so you can’t take it off for travel. That’s unfortunate, as the AluBolt would otherwise make for a wonderful bedside dock in a hotel room. Quite honestly, it’s a solidly build unit made from quality materials, so I’m rather surprised I had any trouble. Keep it out of the hands of airline baggage handlers, and maybe you’ll have better luck.
I don’t want to focus on that, anyway, because there’s one fantastic design decision that should make this an instant sell for iDevice users: the Lightning connector.
Two things make this work. First, the Lightning connector pivots, allowing it to move into a position that accommodates third-party cases and potential iPhone redesigns. Second, the connector is on a raised platform, meaning it’ll accommodate open-bottom cases that don’t sit flush with the bottom of the iPhone. Those of us who dock our iPhones each night know how huge this is.
The Just Mobile AluBolt is yet another great product for Apple devices. It’s perhaps a bit pricey at $49.95, which would be easier to justify if there was a way to release the back support or fold it down for travel purposes, making it easier to get additional use out of it. But if you just need a Lightning dock for your desktop or nightstand—one that looks high-end without costing you a C-note—it will serve you well without fear of obsolescence with your next case or iDevice upgrade.
Provides: Display and charging for Lightning compatible iPhone, iPad mini and iPod touch models
Developer: Just Mobile
Minimum Requirements: Apple Lightning device and USB port