28 Comments

Summary:

Google’s Nexus One Desktop Dock will set you back $45, charges the phone and pumps out Bluetooth audio. But is this accessory worth it? And how well does it — or doesn’t it — work? See for yourself in this video.

nexus-one-dock-thumb

UPDATED. Google shipped my Nexus One Dock two days ago and it arrived this morning, even though I picked the free ground shipping. I’ll give them credit for the shopping experience — it was seamless and obviously the delivery was quick; on a Saturday morning, no less! The dock has a very minimal look and feel, which is good and bad. You’ll see why in the video — I’m not convinced the metal interfaces between dock and handset work consistently.

Then there’s the price question — is it worth $45? That’s a personal decision of course, but keep in mind that the dock includes a duplicate phone charger for the phone; so you’re getting both a dock and second charger.

And then there’s that wireless Bluetooth functionality to pipe music from the phone to external speakers that you provide. I initially wondered why Bluetooth would be used, but now I see why — without a USB interface between phone and dock, there’s no other way to get data or music between the two. About that Bluetooth — there’s a limitation that I didn’t expect.  I really like the “night mode” however — although I didn’t show it in the video, the phone displays the time in an old-school, green alarm clock color that’s not too bright.

Update: The dock actually is capable of streaming Bluetooth audio when the phone isn’t in the dock. Thanks to Josesxi for pointing out another review demonstrating it. Perhaps there’s an issue with my phone or dock because it’s a hit or miss type of function for me.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. looks like its using the NFC and SSP profiles of bluetooth 2.1, and thats neat.

    basically, two device that supports this will pair if brought within proximity.

    i am guessing they are using the same NFC system to bring the clock thing to front, and maybe also shut down the music if the NFC (it has a range measured in centimeters) goes out of range.

  2. It’s a nice looking dock and I’d like something that looks like this for my HD2. However, the whole thing seems a little over-engineered (not sure why you need bluetooth to stream audio to a dock???) and Android seems to let the whole thing down (hopefully the bugs will be patched sooner rather than later). Still, it’s a nice looking dock.

  3. You should apologized to Google for such hack job.
    Here is better more honest review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HsG4xCVb2s

    1. Thanks for sharing the other video review. After watching it, I see that the phone can indeed stream music over Bluetooth when out of the dock and I’ll add an update to the post.

      But this also illustrates why I said the dock is working a little inconsistently. Although my phone and dock were paired — they had to be for the music to stream initially — the Dock wasn’t showing under my Bluetooth connections. Why it lost the pairing, I don’t know. Why didn’t it remember my audio output settings, when the box was checked? Again, I don’t know.

      1. I’m not sure how Josesxi can possibly think you did a bad review. You demonstrated each problem you noticed right on video.

        As it turns out after watching the second review, the fact that the audio stops through bluetooth is likely just a design decision as they want you to explicitly set your preferences up to have it stream through the bluetooth when off the dock. However, I think that doesn’t match users expectations very well. It seems if docking the phone makes a bluetooth connection for audio, that connection should persist until you go out of range and stay disconnected until docking again — that would have made it much easier for users to understand.

  4. US$50 for a flaky peace of empty plastic?? C’mon..

  5. I Love my Motorola DROID Dock for $19.00, also came with an extra phone charger. Doesn’t have the BT Music App that the N1 has, but I stream Pandora / Slacker via WiFi and VZW’s 3G Network all day, so it is not an issue. Also has the dimming feature and weather App built in.

    1. 20 bucks is what a dock should cost no matter what! how do you justify a 50 dollar dock. Did you get an “official” droid dock is that why it was 20 bucks or is that what they run?

  6. $45 for a cradle and 2nd charger is definitely worth it in my opinion. I recently had to buy a cradle for an iPaq and was charged $50 – and that was without the required AC adapter! I like to keep my phones in a cradle as well when not in use, it just makes charging and syncing all that easier.

    The audio streaming feature is definitely cool, and it would be huge to see it work with the phone outside of the dock. I would pay for that feature alone.

    1. “The audio streaming feature is definitely cool, and it would be huge to see it work with the phone outside of the dock. “

      I’ve just updated the post as you were leaving this comment. Turns out that it does, but has been hit or miss on my unit. Even when it works, the wireless music stops playing when removing the phone from the dock as shown in the video. You have to manually go into the Bluetooth settings and re-connect and then play your music. Not seamless — at least on my units, that is.

  7. Any plans to make your videos actually viewable on some of the leading mobile devices? You know… iPhone, iPad, … ;)

    1. Yup. We’re looking at the options and kicking around some ideas. YouTube worked well for us in the past and then we tried the WordPress player, which also works well, but of course is pretty useless on a mobile device — even ones that don’t start with the letter i. ;) Hopefully we can get it sorted out in the next few weeks.

      1. Great news, thanks for the quick reply, Kevin!

  8. Sorry for changing the subject, but what desk do you have? I’m looking to buy a new desk and yours look pretty nice Kevin.

  9. It’s a nice looking dock, very nice :)

  10. Kevin,

    Do you not think that an explanation for the metal contacts rather than the USB is that this will enable a spare battery to be charged in the cradle ? (with a small adapter sleeve).

  11. Mine Did work when i took of the dock for about 20ft away, u need to have ur bluetooth on.

  12. I think the flaky-ness has to do with the looseness of the metal connects with the N1. I’ve been playing around with the dock at home a little. I notice that if I’m not careful manipulating the device in the dock and cause the metal connects to separate from the N1, and this makes the N1 to drop bluetooth connection.

    I think this is a design problem. I think Google probably made a design decision that removing the N1 from the dock severs the connection.

    You can restore the bluetooth streaming by putting the device back in the dock or manually connecting in the bluetooth settings.

    Still, I’m disappointed that it’s so easy to accidentally sever the BT connection.

  13. I disagree with the sentiment that the extra charger makes it worth $45. The “charger” is just a cheap usb cable.

    I think what makes it worth $45 is the fact that it competes with products like this Sony BT Adapter. http://tinyurl.com/yg8r29a

    I feel that Mr. Tofel got a little excited and posted this review before fully exploring it. In doing so, I think he downplayed the biggest selling point of the dock, the bluetooth receiver.

    What I was hoping to see in this review were:
    1) How well does it work as a receiver?
    2) What is in the clock’s “Dock Settings” menu item “Audio”. As you need the dock to access that item, I think that should have been mentioned.

    In the case that you don’t read this whole thread, here’s a reviewer who figured out the BT features.

    1. “I disagree with the sentiment that the extra charger makes it worth $45. The “charger” is just a cheap usb cable.”

      Deciding if the whole package is worth $45 is up to each individual, so I can’t disagree with your opinion. But the charger isn’t just a cheap USB cable, as you call it. It is the exact same USB charger that comes with the Nexus One, so it’s more than a “cheap USB cable.” Whether that’s worth it or not is up to you, of course. ;)

      I completely understand your thoughts on the Dock features. Part of the issue is that the streaming audio functionality isn’t well explained by Google’s documentation and the Dock settings weren’t remembered, as shown on the video. When I did the review, the Dock settings only appeared while the phone was in the Dock, making things even more confusing. And it is confusing if there are videos and reviews that had to figure it out. Google already updated the Dock functions as well — the recent OTA update causes the Dock settings to appear by default in Android now and the menu options are a little more intuitive.

  14. I think that’s whorth for $45

  15. Travis Emslander Friday, February 12, 2010

    I’m thinking about getting this dock for docking my phone every night next to my bed. One question though, does the trackball still light up when in docked mode? I actually have to put my phone in that sleeve that it came with every night to prevent getting woken up by the extremely bright (at night) trackball notification thing.

    I don’t want to have to shut off lighting of the trackball as I love that feature during the day.

    1. I manually turn off the trackball notifications each night before docking the phone. It would be nice if the dock had a setting for that, or if it does, I’ve overlooked it.

  16. You can stream through bluetooth even when the n1 is not on the dock. You just have to have the bluetooth on (bluetooth turns off when you take it out of the dock unless you have it on by default. I know most users have it off on default to save battery) and make sure that you connect to the dock under bluetooth settings. So yes, you can surf the web and listen to music on speakers streaming via bluetooth.

  17. Nick Ferreri Friday, March 19, 2010

    I consider this dock to be an amazing deal. I can’t possibly imagine how anyone who actually WANTS the bluetooth streaming can consider this to be a bad deal.

    Look at an alternative device to do the bluetooth streaming:

    I have one of these and use it all the time… that’s $60 bucks! Not a dock, charger or anything, just a bluetooth hub…

    good buy if you ask me on the nexus dock. I <3 mine.

  18. I am planning to get an extra battery, does the dock allow charging of the battery without being inserted into the phone?

    1. This dock doesn’t hold anything but the phone, so unfortunately no. I have heard that a different dock may include a charging port for a second battery, but have no confirmation of that.

  19. I just couldnt leave your website before saying that I really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check on the new stuff you post!

Comments have been disabled for this post