The Palm Cradle charging combo is awesome. It does everything it is meant to do: charge, sync, and store and charge an extra battery, and it does it all with aplomb. Its an accessory I didnt know I needed, and now that I have it, never want to give up. But wait, theres more.
The Palm Cradle kit comes with items you should already have: a sync cable and an AC charging adapter. The included ones can plug directly into your Treo or into the base of the cradle itself. This duplication of items (charging and sync cable) implies that you could have the cradle next to your computer but use the other cables at another location. Also included are several adapter plugs so you can charge in England, Europe, or the U.S. The AC adapter itself is inelegant but functional. I wish Plam would slim it down.
The cradle itself is of the injected plastic type. The black matt finish complements the Treo nicely. My 750 slides right in, clicks into the sync and charge adapter, and seems right at home. One great feature of this cradle is the battery charging compartment. Right behind the Treo is a little swivel out drawer where you can slide in a spare battery. The AC adapter will charge both. If you go to Palms website, they have a cute little animation.
The front of the cradle boasts a sync button, which in the case of Windows Mobile is a quaint reminder of the past. With Windows ActiveSync software, the Treo automatically connects to Outlook and keeps desktop and handheld in sync.
There is a small, but bright LED on the bottom of the cradle red when charging and green when full. If you have a battery in the charging compartment, it wont turn green until that is charged as well. The cables are sufficient in length (six feet) for all practical purposes.
This unit is just about perfect. It holds the Treo at just the right angle if you need to check an appointment, look up a contact, or take a Bluetooth call. The units simple plastic bottom pads keep it from slipping around my slick wood laminate desktop.
What I like most about the unit is the least expected. The charging drawer for the extra battery is just right. From the pictures and descriptions on some product pages, it is neigh impossible to tell where the battery will go or how it will charge. Heres how it works: pulling on a spot just behind where the Treo sits reveals a small cavity for a battery. Slide it in, close the slot, and the battery is hidden from view and charging.
Editor's Note: I have this same cradle kit, and when I had the Seidio 2400 mAh Extended Battery for my former Copper Treo 680, the battery fit and charged just fine in the Palm Cradle Kit.
The red LED on the front of the unit will tell you if the battery or Treo is charging. Just the other day I ran down my Treo, didnt have time for a proper charge. Swapping out batteries did the trick. The spare battery cradle combo is a great one for people who need to be sure of power. What is also great is that both the Treo AND battery charge from the efficient AC adapter. Some units only charge from the slower USB port.
As Ive been working on recent reviews, Ive come to think that the occasional mention of other alternatives is important. I like to take a quick look at other options for hardware Ive reviewed and mention in passing other items.
The direct competitor to this unit is the Mobi combo charging cradle. The downside of the Mobi is that the Treo only charges via the slower USB port. Although it is ten dollars cheaper, I would recommend the Palm unit over that one. A downside of the Palm cradle is that it cannot charge the Treo while in a case. If you have a case that is difficult to remove, then this case is not for you. I might recommend you take a look at the Krusell Orbit or Monoco flip lid cases as these are easy to pop the Treo in and out. The only cradle that allows you to charge the Treo while in many cases is the Seidio INNODock Jr. Cradle. Fortuantely I also have a Smartphone experts skin case on my test bed this month. Many users will want to know if the cradle will work with this case. Alas, it will not.
Lets talk about LEDs. The constant presence of these things can be annoying. Temporarily my workspace is in the bedroom and having a bright red LED is not welcome. Some of you lonely folks may want to have the charging unit and Treo by your bedside for music, work, and even phone calls. But when you turn out the lights, the LEDs are still there. This may not matter to some. It matters to me. Palm did remove one LED from the whole equation. My older AC adapter had a green LED. The one that came with this unit does not and good riddance. One last bit on LEDs the recently reviewed Motorola headset/headphone combo allowed you to turn off the blinking Bluetooth. I hope more manufacturers adopt this feature.
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