I recieved my “official” HTC Desktop Cradle for the EVO 3D today which I pre-ordered from HTCpedia (great price on spare EVO 3D batteries there, btw). I have to say this gorgeous gloss-black dock (the stock photo above really doesn’t do it justice!) exceeds my expectations in every way.
The dock ($44.99) comes with a standard HTC USB-microUSB charger/cable which helps explain the price. The build quality of the dock is solid, has a nice weight to it and rubber feet so it won’t slide around your desk. There’s a “Video” button (that’s what that circle is in the picture) and the microUSB port and that’s it.
The first think I noticed was how easily the EVO 3D connects to the cradle; it just drops in with almost no force. It’s a perfect fit, as you would expect being designed by the phone’s manufacturer, and from the front you can see almost the entire phone, like it’s sitting on top of the dock surface rather than being in some deep groove/channel.
The big surprise was once I dropped the phone in the dock it immediately switched to a landscape desktop. I had half expected the phone to switch to the car dock mode since that’s what it does when I put it in my Grip windshield car mount, but apparently the phone knows the difference between the two docks. I hadn’t even noticed there was a “dock app” in the 3D’s app drawer until now (you can play with it without having the dock to see what it looks like).
The dock mode looks great, running continuously the HTC live weather animation as a background and displaying a mini Flip Clock, temperature and your next calendar appointment on the top right-hand side. The weather animation doesn’t stop like it does when used as a live wallpaper.
At the bottom of the screen are icons for Photo Frame, Connected Media, and Calendar. I haven’t found a way to change or add more programs so these seem to be fixed. There are also buttons to exit dock mode and dim the screen in the bottom left and right hand corners respectively.
Photo Frame is what you expect, a slide show of the images on your phone with some motion to it. If you tap the screen (not the menu button) you get a control bar that lets you return to the dock, skip forward or backward, pause the slide show, or enter settings. Settings lets you turn on/off repeat, shuffle, music, control the orientation, select transitions (slide, rotate, pan and zoom, random), set the playback speed, and specify which folders you want pictures displayed from. The only change I made to the default setttings was to turn random on; the pan and zoom transition is great.
If you click Connected Media you can select from Music, Photos or Videos that you can send to a “nearby player”. I’m using this at work in my office, so I can’t really test this functionality, but I assume its the DLNA “projection” you get in the Gallery app. The Calendar icon pulls up the standard HTC Calendar application.
Pressing the Menu button while in dock mode lets you access the dock mode settings. Here you can turn on/off Auto-launch (on by default), Auto-connect which lets you connect to a selected bluetooth device when docked, select the default BT device, Auto-resume (“If user doesn’t operate the device, auto launch the most recently used app), Friend Stream updates, Portable Wi-Fi hotspot, and select how long before the screen is automatically dimmed (1, 10, 30 min, 1, 4, 8 hours, or Never). If the USB cable is connected to a computer you can specify the default connection type (or “ask me”).
If Friend Stream is on you’ll see a single Twitter or Facebook status cycling below the weather information on the dock screen. It really doesn’t show you much other than the picture and name of who just posted, so I turned it off (I have Trillian already bombarding me with updates on my desktop monitor already).
There are no instructions included with the dock, so I’m making some assumptions about that round Video button on that’s on the backside of the dock. The box has a bullet that states “Supports the inline connection of AC M490 MHL HDMI adaptor, so my guess is if you have that adapter and a cable hooking this up to an HDMI display it would change modes for you, which might be handy for some people who buy Watch videos. Without that adapter connected, pressing the Video button just drops me out of dock mode and to the standard main home screen. Pressing it again will toggle me back into dock mode. This actually is handy since in dock mode the 3D’s home button is deactivated.
So there you have it. I originally bought this strictly as a charger base to replace my EVO 4G’s Seidio dock. I really like the functionality of the dock application although I wish there was a way to add a few more widgets to it (if someone figures that out please let me know!) and it looks great sitting on my desk. For me this was definitely worth the money.