Belkin’s new Charge and Sync Dock for the iPhone 5 is a sturdy, well-made unit that can even accept a phone with case attached. At £29.95 from the Apple Store it is very reasonably priced, particularly when you bear in mind you are also getting an extra Lightning cable, hardwired into the base.
I am particularly impressed by the way in which I can mount the phone easily even with my Belkin leather flip-case attached. There is even enough space between the phone and the backrest to accommodate the press-stud. Of course, this works only with a case hinged at the top rather than the bottom. I prefer this configuration in any case and went out of my way to find just the right solution when the iPhone 5 arrived.
Be aware, however, that not all cases will fit. If yours is particularly bulky you could be out of luck. The staff at the Apple Store would not let me open the box to try before buying but helpfully suggested that if it was not suiable I could return it under the normal terms.
The Belkin dock is made from high-quality aluminium with a soft-rubber base. The design is excellent and the unit perfectly complements any Mac desktop or laptop setup.
It sits firmly on the desk with no tendency for the phone to fall over or come loose. The phone can be pushed down easily over the protruding lightning plug and it sits firmly in place with no wiggling.
I have been using the dock for the past four weeks and can thoroughly recommend it. It is a tidy solution which keeps the phone at exactly the right angle for video calls and for making or receiving voice calls.
It also acts as a reminder to charge the phone, sitting expectantly on the desk as it does. You can just grab the phone when going out in full knowledge that the battery is charged. No fiddling with cables.
There is only one snag with the Belkin Charge and Sync Dock and that is that there is no way to attach a headset. The jack socket is on the base of the phone and is therefore covered when the phone is docked. This doesn’t really bother me but it is something to bear in mind when thinking about buying. I suppose it would have been possible to have a jack-socket passthrough but I can understand why Belkin have not done this: As it stands, the dock will probably accommodate future iPhones, even larger units, because the only connection is the now-standard lightning socket.
For £29.95 this is a quality product that is also something of a bargain. Recommended.
A WEEK LATER: I like this dock so much that I have bought another to put on my bedside table. It’s an ideal mount for the iPhone at night and is really good value when you consider that a Lightning cable, which would otherwise cost £15, is included (it is hard-wired to the dock, however). I think the Belkin is hands down the nicest iPhone dock I have seen. Incidentally, it also holds an iPad mini (and probably a full-sized iPad although I do not have one to try). As long as you are aware of the laws of physics it holds up well and is reasonably stable considering the height of the iPad mini.