One of the most common complaints about the official dock for the HTC EVO 3D is that it only supports a bare (caseless) phone. Since most users keep their EVOs in a protective case that they don't want to remove on a daily basis, it makes sense that many are searching for an alternative to HTC's offering.
If you're one of these people and you don't need the HDMI/MHL compatibility, then Seidio may have what you're looking for in its desktop charging cradle. Not only is it more affordable than the official dock ($29.95 versus $49.99), but it comes with a removable plate to accommodate a variety of cases and extended batteries as well.
Compatiblity is not guaranteed with every EVO 3D case on the market, of course, but there's a good chance that what your phone is wearing now will fit into the dock. So is it worth buying to try out for yourself? Read on to find out.
There are two versions of the dock:
- Desktop cradle kit ($39.95) that includes the dock, microUSB cable, and microUSB-to-AC travel charger [shown above]
- Desktop cradle ($29.95) that includes the dock and microUSB cable
The dock is identical in both versions; the only difference is the addition of the travel charger.
The desktop cradle is built well and fashioned out of good quality matte black plastic accented with two rubber strips on the bottom for grip and glossy plastic on the top for looks. The removable plate (designed for use with a bare EVO 3D) is glossy as well, while the seat itself (designed for use with an encased device) is matte.
It features nothing more than a microUSB plug in the seat for horizontal docking (the box incorrectly states that the product syncs and charges "vertically for easy viewing") and a microUSB port in the back for connecting to a computer or USB wall charger. As noted earlier, this port is not MHL compatible. Both the plug and port are sturdy/stable and do not wobble or wiggle in the dock.
Seidio's dock is longer and thicker than the official HTC dock, but it's more compact and takes up less width/depth on a table. It's also more than an ounce heavier (5.08 oz versus 6.20 oz w/o plate and 6.56 oz w/plate), which makes it feel more substantial and helps it stay put. It still needs to be held down when you're removing the phone, as unplugging a microUSB connection isn't like disconnecting a magnet, but I still see the extra weight as a positive.
When the dock is connected to a power source, a white line glows beneath the Seidio logo on the top. This light does not change colors to indicate charging (you need to rely on the EVO 3D's LED for that); it simply glows to show that the dock is powered.
As with the official dock, Dock Mode is automatically launched when the phone is properly connected.
Without case (with plate)
EVO 3Ds living their lives uninhibited and completely naked must use the glossy plate with the cradle. The plate does not need to be snapped or locked into place; it is simply an easily removable insert.
With it, the fit is strong and stable, and the phone sits perfectly straight and at a nice angle for watching videos or using as a bedside clock. It takes very little fiddling around to get the EVO 3D correctly docked and can be done blindly with relative ease.
With case (without plate)
EVO 3Ds protected in cases must use the dock without the plate inserted into it.
According to Seidio, the dock supports its SURFACE, SURFACE with kickstand, SURFACE Extended, ACTIVE, and ACTIVE Extended cases. The company makes no guarantees about compatiblity with third-party cases, but I can personally confirm that the OtterBox Commuter Series case fits perfectly if you remove the silicone port plug.
As you can see from the photos, the OtterBox gets along very well with Seidio cradle. As with the bare phone, the fit is strong, stable, and straight and docking/undocking is quick and easy.
On the other hand, G&E reader drandroid reports in our forum that the SURFACE with kickstand case does not fit correctly and is "off several degrees from horizontal" because the microUSB plug "stands too high in the base forcing the phone to lean to the right." I don't see these problems with my dock/case combination, but it's definitely something you should know about. If you can confirm these issues with the SURFACE with kickstand case or any other Seidio case that's supposed to be supported, please do so in the comments.
Whether you choose to purchase this HTC EVO 3D dock is up to you and your wallet, but based on my daily usage of it with my OtterBox Commuter case over the past few weeks, I would recommend it . . . while reminding you of drandroid's feedback and reiterating that third-party case compatibility is not guaranteed.
The Seidio cradle doesn't have HDMI/MHL-out like the official dock does, but I don't have an MHL adapter anyway; it's cheaper, built well, and more compact; and it supports the case I've been using with the silicone port plug removed. I'm really happy with it and will continue using it for the foreseeable future, but as with all things in life, your mileage may vary.