Starry Station – Touchscreen WiFi Router by Starry – Review



Starry Station - Touchscreen WiFi Router - Simple Setup and Easy Parental Controls. Fast Gigabit Speed

What we love…

easy to set up router with great parental controlss which allow you to isolate a device with specific settings, super use friendly with touchscreen controls and access via your device, great for family time and device free time with the touch of a screen!

What we’d love to see…

more ethernet ports, potential for a web dashboard and more on the “network health”

Summary

Overall, this is a great router which includes parental controls and allows you to easily turn on and off the internet.  The parental controls differentiate this router from others on the market with the ease of a touchscreen or your device – all in one place and easy to use.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Starry Wi-Fi StationThe Starry Station by Starry is a touchscreen wifi router that includes parental controls and simplifies how you use the internet.  When I recently set it up – I had it out of the box and running in less than 10 minutes and that included adding all of my devices to the new networks.  WiFi is fast – with good streaming and surfing quality much faster than my previous router.  It also works with all types of internet including fiber optic, cable and includes built in WPA2 Encryption.  The Starry Station is a triangle shaped router which stands on a side – the base is 3 inches wide and there is a fan behind it.

One of my favorite things about Starry Station is the ease of setup and the fact that I can have parental controls in the palm of my hand or by using the touch screen on the router.  I loved that I could set one device, my 8 year old’s to be off from a specific period of time or even just block his access entirely if I wanted to either from the router or from the app.  I also found that the speeds on the router were more true to what I paid for with Comcast compared to my previous router.   I have a bit of an unusual house set up – and in the past have had a boost downstairs because for some reason I can’t always get good network signal.  Although I did continue to use my wireless access point, it was easily reconfigured to Starry and gave me better and faster service than I had previously.  We live in a media friendly home, and regularly stream Netflix, cable TV, surf the internet as well as having several smart appliances.  Another bonus of the router was that it had the same name for the 2.4G as well as the 5G network, which meant that you didn’t have to remember as many passwords to login.  Using the touch screen or my iPhone/iPad I was able to walk around the house and easily add new devices quickly!  We had 10 devices online easily at a time and noticed no lags or slowdowns while using the router.  We also had some Apple and Android devices as well to try to see if the device mix would change how the network performed and didn’t notice an appreciable difference.  The router also includes a speaker and mic – for future voice control options which are not yet enabled.  I can’t wait to see those enabled.  It also includes guest access which is easily turned on via your device or touchscreen so you can choose who has access and who does not!
iPhone Screenshot 4A bit about the parental controls – this by far was my favorite feature of the router.  I loved that I could easily filter content, pause the internet (for one device or all) and limit access to specific apps using the app on my iPhone.   This meant I could set screen time rules for specific devices, like my son’s iPad without having to worry about blocking my iPad or my husband’s devices.  I also liked that I could set safe content and turn off access to social media all with the touch of a button.  At our house we usually have #devicefree Friday nights where we try to turn off our devices and spend time together as a family.  I always hated having to go upstairs to unplug the router so no one would try to “sneak” access to the internet – now with Starry it’s a simple tap of a button on my iPhone and the internet is off.  The offline hours are great as well – they help to ensure you don’t stay up too late because it can automatically turn off the internet at a specific time (although you can override as necessary).  I also liked the customer support I got when I needed it – I spoke with someone in the United States who took the time to help me answer my question about the wireless access point and ensured things were configured properly.

In terms of enhancements, I do wish the router had more ports on the back of it.  There are only two ports – one for internet coming in and the other for internet coming out..  I did get a wireless bridge to give me more ports so I could plug in all my Ethernet devices in my office.  I also noticed that the network health changed a lot – even when I was standing in the same place.  It was nice in theory because I could see what devices were on the network easily.  I would like to see a web based dashboard in the future just in case I didn’t always have access to my device and needed to tweak something a bit more than I could do with the touch screen.

Overall, this is a great router which includes parental controls and allows you to easily turn on and off the internet.  The parental controls differentiate this router from others on the market with the ease of a touchscreen or your device – all in one place and easy to use.  Plus, with the app you can turn on and off the internet even when you are not home.  It was easy to set up and use, and I love knowing that my son is safe while online as we work on setting our digital boundaries but give him access to a tablet and computer for homework. RRP $250 USD on Amazon.

Starry Station

Starry Wi-Fi Station
Starry Wi-Fi Station
by Starry, Inc.

Category: Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 56.87 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

Video Demo

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Tech Specs

Power Dual-Band 802.11ac
Touchscreen 3.8″ LCD Touchscreen
Ports 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports: 1-in, 1-out
Security WPA2
Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Review of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router

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Summary…

The X8 offers great performance with 3 Wifi Bands, Quad Stream, Dynamic QoS and Smart Connectivity. This gives it up to 12 data streams that are actively managed to give the best connection for each device. Its active antennae help to improve the connection for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

I have been very impressed with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router and found it to perform even better than the X6. The main areas that we saw improvement in were the performance when multiple devices are connected at once, and a noticeable improvement in the WiFi range.

recommended-by-the-imums

NetGear Ambassaodor

Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

The Nighthawk X8 AC5300 Router is the newest Tri-band router from NETGEAR. It uses 802.11ac WiFi technology with one 2.4GHz and two 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. It has combined wireless speeds up to 5.3Gbps. It has a dual core 1.4GHz processor, 128 MB Flash and 512 MB RAM memory. It has Quad Stream and Implicit & Explicit Beamforming for  both 2.4 & 5GHz bands.

We reviewed the Nighthawk X6 last year, which was NETGEAR’s first Tri-Band router and were impressed with its performance, so I was interested to see how the X8 compares.

Set Up

The Nighthawk X8 is very quick and easy to set up. With the included quick start guide it was up and running in no time. You basically connect the modem, power on the router, connect a computer or device and complete the setup using the free NETGEAR Genie app. The external antennae come already attached, no assembly required.

The X8 comes with a pre-assigned Wi-Fi network name, typically NETGEAR plus a number, and password, which are on a peelable label on the X8. There is an option to change the name and/or password if you wish. The X8 has a WPS button so it is very quick and easy to connect any device with a WPS button, for other devices you just enter the Wi-Fi name and password as usual.

Size and Form Factor

You do need to make sure you have a large space available for it as the X8 is huge! It measures 12.44″ x 10.39″ x 2.40″  (316 x 264 x 61 mm), which is even bigger than the X6. It has 4 external antennae, so it also needs a lot of headroom- with the antennae extended upright it is approximately 19cm/ 7 1/2″ tall. The top surface has a wavy black plastic grille which looks futuristic, but also has the practical effect of preventing you stacking anything on top of it, important to prevent overheating.

Antennae

The X8 has a total of 8 antennae- 4 internal plus 4 external. The external antennae are movable in many directions. NETGEAR recommends setting them up with the 2 central ones upright and the side ones at 45°, but you can change this if you wish. The external antennas are active antennae, which is a new feature. This means that instead of the WiFi amplifiers being on the router’s motherboard (the standard location) they are on top of the antennae so they can amplify the signal in the antenna itself. This is designed to improve connection to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The external antennae have blue LEDs to show when they are active, but you can switch the LEDs off if you find them distracting.

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USB Ports and Secure Storage

The X8 has 2 USB ports- one is USB 2.0, the other 3.0. I like having two USB ports available, but I’m not sure why they didn’t make them both 3.0.

If you attach an external hard drive to a USB port you can use the free NETGEAR ReadyCLOUD mobile app or web portal to access the drive’s content from anywhere. This is a very simple way to create your own personal cloud.

Wired Connections

The X8 has six Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and one WAN. This means you can connect up to six wired devices for maximum performance. There is also the option to combine two of the six to double the connection speed for a Network Attached Storage device to allow 4K HD streaming or multiple fast WiFi backups.

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Wireless Speeds

The X8 has a number of features designed to maximize Wifi speeds and performance for gaming and video streaming.

Like the X6 this is a Tri-band router, it has one 2.4 GHz and two 5GHz Bands. 2.4GHz is an old Wi-Fi standard, it is slow and prone to interference, but is necessary to allow older devices to connect to your network. 5.0 GHz is the newer standard, and gives faster performance with less interference, but if you have a lot of devices on the 5.0 GHz it can slow down the connection and affect performance. Having two 5.0 GHz bands helps to prevent slowdowns from lots of devices using it at once.

The X8 delivers a combined wireless speed of up to 5.3Gbp- 1000Mbps for the 2.4GHz  band, plus 2166 Mbps for each of the two 5.0 GHz bands.

It has Quad Streaming to deliver up to four data streams per WiFi band, making 12 in total. Smart Connect selects the fastest WiFi band for each device and Dynamic QoS prioritizes traffic by application and device.

Performance

When we installed the X6 we saw a big leap in performance compared to our previous router, an Apple Airport Express, and we have seen a further improvement with the X8 vs the X6. We have a challenging home for WiFi – it has an unusual layout over 3 staggered floors and poor incoming signal because we live a long way from the DSL hub. With the X6 we found it optimized our signal near the router but for the far flung parts of the house we still needed to use a booster such as the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi Range Extender Model EX7000 to get a useable signal.

With the X8 we have a slightly stronger signal near the router- but the improvement is marginal. Where we have seen most gains is further from the router – we now get a useable signal throughout the entire house without having to use a WiFi booster- which is a huge improvement! In the master bedroom (unless I used a signal booster) we barely had a signal at all and couldn’t even read email reliably, with the X8 I can surf the web, download apps, do email and even watch Youtube videos. The X8 has done a great job of #eliminating deadspots.

We cut the cable almost two years ago and only have TV via DVD and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, so good quality video streaming is very important to us. Unfortunately we have a weak incoming internet connection  which can cause hangups in our streaming. The performance with the X6 was much better than with the Airport Express and has improved again with the X8. Our family has a lot of connected devices including multiple iPads, Smartphones, tablets, Smart TV and Xbox. In the past when the Smart TV is streaming video and multiple family members are streaming to different devices at the same time we have had some connectivity issues, but I have not seen this happen with X8.

Security.

Both the X6 and X8 have the option to set up a guest network to allow visiting family and friends to access Wi-Fi  without sharing your main network password.

Like the X6, the X8 has the option to enable parental controls. This lets you choose from different levels of protection against things such as phishing scams, pornography, illegal activity, adult-related sites and even video sharing sites and social media. You can customize different setting for different times of the day.

The X8 has WiFi Protected Access® (WPA/WPA2—PSK), Double firewall protection (SPI and NAT) and Denial-of-service (DoS) attack prevention.

 

Summary

The X8 offers great performance with 3 Wifi Bands, Quad Stream, Dynamic QoS and Smart Connectivity. This gives it up to 12 data streams that are actively managed to give the best connection for each device. Its active antennae help to improve the connection for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

I have been very impressed with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router and found it to perform even better than the X6. The main areas that we saw improvement in were the performance when multiple devices are connected at once, and a noticeable improvement in the WiFi range.

The X6 and X8 are both great routers, for many homes the X6 is a great choice. However if you have a large or challenging home, heavy demand for high speed internet for gaming or video streaming or large numbers of connected devices the X8 may be a better choice.

Price and Availability

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router has an RRP of $399.99 and is available from Amazon and other retailers.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Commuting Mom Travel Tech by iMum Alison

I regularly commute into the city with my “travel tech” and I thought I would share some of my favorite tech accessories that are always in my backpack other than my laptop and iOS devices.  Being a mom means that I have to have my travel tech packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  Some of the products below were provided by companies and if you purchase them our site may earn a small amount.  I picked all of these products based on my personal experience and usage of them over time.

LL Bean Quad Pack

quadI’ve had my LL Bean Quad Pack for several years and it’s stood up very well to the test of time and can hold pretty much anything I need since it includes an integrated laptop sleeve, designated spot for my iPhone, waterbottle and more!  There are a ton of pockets and places to store things – and using my clear bags from Mia Tui makes finding things a snap! RRP $79.99 for the Quad Pack from LL Bean.

Quad Backpack

Griffin Survivor for iPad Mini

Griffin Apple IPad Mini/iPad Mini Retina Griffin Survivor Case, Pink, Black (GB35920-2)I really love the durability that this case provides for my iPad Mini which I frequently slip into my bag to take places with me since it is small and portable.  I don’t have to worry about the screen getting scratched since the case features a protective covering.  I also loved all the color choices (including my favorite pink!) as well as the nice form factor for the case.  My iPad Mini has survived drops, falls, drool and more all while staying protected and no cracks!  For me, this is one piece of “insurance” that is totally worth it!   You can read my full review of the Griffin Survivor for iPad Mini.  Available from Griffin and Amazon for approximately $40 USD.

 

Mp2301 Performance Mouse by Kensington

MP230L Performance Mouse — Black

My next favorite accessory is my MP2301L Performance Mouse by Kensington.  This wireless mouse feels great in my hand, is small and portable and has great battery life.  One of the best features about it is the ability to track on almost anything – and that it takes standard batteries which are easy to find if they need replacing.  No cables, no cords no fuss! That means I can find a place to sit in the office or at a conference table and still have my mouse no matter where I am!  The reciever fits nicely inside the mouse so you don’t lose it when not in use!  $39 USD RRP. Available from Kensington or Amazon.

LogiTech Wireless Presenter

I also like to bring my Logitech Wireless Presenter as I have spoken at a few meetings recently and it’s so much easier to use a wireless presenter than having to walk over and click on the slide each time I need to move it forward.  One of my favorite things about this presenter is that it has a built in timer which allows me to know if I am spending too little or too much time on a specific slide.  It also has great range which means I can walk around the room while speaker rather than being pinned at a podium or in the front of the room. RRP $55 – 80 USD.  Available from Logitech or Amazon.

Griffin PowerJolt Dual Charger for the car

Griffin PowerJolt Dual Car Charger with Lightning Connector 12 WattSince many of my commutes involve travel time in the car, I also use my Griffin PowerJolt Dual frequently.  This charger includes a lightening connection as well as a second port where you can plug in an micro-usb or any other USB accessible cable.  That means I can charge my phone and tablet at the same time or two smartphones.  RRP $20.00 from Griffin or Amazon.

 

Mobile Hotspot for Wireless on the Go

JetpackA mobile hot spot is another must have, especially when you are not sure how good your internet access will be.  I sometimes use my iPhone as a hot spot, but really like this Netgear Verizon hotspot as a better alternative and it has great battery life.  I enjoy using my Netgear Hotspot from Verizon since I added it to my wireless plan. Easy to use hot spot that works both inside and outside of the United States, provides great battery life and connectivity for your devices.  You can either pay for the device and add the service on the go or put it on contract   Check out my review of the Verizon Jetpack by Netgear.  RRP without contract is $199 USD and with contract it’s $49.99.  Available from Netgear and Verizon.

Cord Storage and Organization

mia tuiOrganizing all of my cords is a snap with my Mia Tui clear plastic bag/PVC bag.  These bags have a zipper top and make it easy to see everything inside so I don’t lose any small pieces.  They are far more durable than the Ziploc bags I was using, but are not totally waterproof.   I like that I can pull the medium size one out of my backpack and have my laptop cord, cables/plugs and chargers all in one spot.  RRP is $12.50 USD and they are available from Mia Tui.

cableCables!  Griffin Premium Braided Lightening Cable

This cable lives in my tech backpack and it has stood up to being plugged, unplugged, used abused and re-used!  Griffin’s cable is so much stronger than my traditional lightening cables for my iPhone due to the braiding on the cable which means that you won’t need to treat it as delicately! I love that you don’t need to fuss when plugging it in as it resists kinking and is stable so the connectors don’t break. They offer a wide variety of braided cables for iOS and Android. RRP $35 USD. Available from Griffin and Amazon

 

Pocket Size Bluetooth Keyboard

1byone pocket size mini folding keyboard

If I am attending meetings and I decide not to bring my laptop – this pocket size Bluetooth Keyboard is perfect!  It’s a tri-fold and folds up to about the size of my hand meaning I can easily slip it into my bag and use the keyboard to take notes instead of having to bring along my laptop all the time.  I have it paired to both my iPad and my iPhone 6 and finding keys on it is so much easier than having to use the on screen keyboard.  It lasts a long time too – I’ve used it multiple times and have not had to charge it yet!  The keys are a little bit smaller than a traditional keyboard, but honestly after using it for about ten minutes I didn’t notice it at all!  RRP $36.99 and it’s available at 1by1 and on Amazon.

Tech Armor Portable Power Bank

tech armour

With all of these devices, I’d be lost without a portable power bank to ensure that they had power.  I’ve recently starting using this power bank from Tech Armor and really like how fast it charges my devices with a small size!  I can charge my iPhone (if it dies unexpectedly) or give my iPad a boost so that I can watch a movie on the train.  This works with all devices that use USB chargers, and I’ve passed it around a few times to coworkers and friends whose cell has died. Avoid the dreaded “low power mode” that your iPhone goes into just before shutting off! RRP from Tech Armor and Amazon is  RRP of  $40 USD.

 

JayBird BlueBuds Headphones

jaybirdOn the train, these headphones are a must since others don’t want to hear my music, my apps or my movies!  JayBird BlueBuds X Premium Bluetooth Headphones simply put ROCK!  These Bluetooth earbuds pair to a variety of devices without the need for a cord to tether you to your device.  They include a filtering system which allows you to hear the music more clearly and feature playtime up to eight hours which means you can use them all week without having to worry about charging them.  These earbuds charge using a standard micro-USB connector and for those using Apple devices include a icon on screen telling you how much battery is left so you are not left without your earbuds at the wrong moment.  The earbuds fit either in the traditional under-ear which allows you to listen and take calls as well as the over ear which means it doesn’t even feel like you are wearing earbuds.  The package includes three pairs of ear tips as well as ear cushions, a micro-USB cable and a carry case to hold your earbuds and the cords.  Jaybird has introduced an updated version since my original review, but I still use these a lot and they stand up great!  Sold by JayBird and Amazon for RRP of $150 USD.

Apex Fine Point Stylus by Lynktec

apexWhen attending meetings, I love to use my Lynktec Apex stylus, as I can use my iPad Mini and the stylus to take notes instead of having to pull out a pen and paper! I can draw and handwrite my notes which is perfect in a meeting, plus everything is stored in one spot so I don’t have to worry about having the right notebook with me.  You can use it with or without Bluetooth – without it’s mostly for sketching or note taking within specific apps but if you want to jot down notes it’s best to link it to your device.  I loved the fine point and how it learned what I wrote using Notes+.  RRP $50 USD available from Lynktec and Amazon.

Wireless Storage – by Seagate Wireless Plus

seagate

Do you have memory woe’s on your devices?  SeaGate Wireless Plus is there to help!  This small drive which is about the size of your hand holds a whopping 1 terabyte of data and works with a variety of devices and smartphones including iOS, Kindle Fire and Android.  It includes the ability to pass through Wi-Fi and you only need to connect your devices to the drive rather than having to connect to Wi-Fi which is especially handy if you are out and about or in a conference room at the office  and don’t want to connect multiple iPads, iPhones or other devices to the drive.  That means you can use your hotspot and not worry about if you are using your laptop, phone or tablet!  Read my full review about this “must have” accessory.  RRP $140 USD for 1TB (other sizes available) Available from Seagate and Amazon

Leitz Mini Bluetooth Speaker

leitz speakerHave you ever tried to do a presentation in a conference room only to find the tinny speakers on your laptop are not loud enough for others to hear?  I stash this small Leitz  Mini Bluetooth Speaker in my backpack for those moments!  You can connect it to your smartphone, tablet or laptop via Bluetooth and people won’t have to strain their ears to hear sound any longer.  It charges using micro USB and will last up to six hours of complete use.  You can even use it when you are using your smartphone as a speaker without sounding far away! I like it better for work rather than music! Compact design fits into your bag for on the go use!  RRP $35 USD.  Available from Amazon.

 

These are some of my travel “must-haves”, what are yours? I’d love to hear what products you use when you go to work or on the train.

Note: Some of the products included in this article were supplied by the companies for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received. Some of the posts may include affiliate links Their inclusion was the decision of the author, all opinions stated in the article are those of the author and have been offered honestly.  This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small amount if you purchase the products.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Review of the ALLDOCK 2015 Universal Charging Station by Dittrich Design

alldock

What we love…

Elegant design, hides cable clutter, well made,  one handed docking option, fast charging of 4 devices

Summary

I really like the design of the walnut ALLDOCK 2015, it is a much more elegant design than most charging stations and and looks good enough to have on display in my living room or on my office desk. It is powerful enough to charge even 4 iPads at once and versatile enough to use with a variety of different devices. The one-handed docking works very well and like how the one-handed docking adapter and Apple Watch mount via hidden magnets

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

German Design Studio Dittrich Design launched the original ALLDOCK Charging Station via a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, and have recently launched a new and improved version the ALLDOCK 2015 on Kickstarter. I had the opportunity to test out the medium sized ALLDOCK 2015 in walnut and the optional one-handed docking adapter, ALLDOCK micro-USB cables and Apple Watch Mount.

The number of products that charge via USB in my household seems to multiply almost daily so we are constantly charging devices and accessories. Between iPhones, iPads, Kindles, digital cameras and a huge assortment of accessories we are constantly juggling charging stations and wires and often end up with a tangled mess! The ALLDOCK 2015 from aims to change all that with a sleek, elegant design that hides all the cables.

Design

It is in essence a wooden box with a wooden grid on top, and a 4-port charging station hidden beneath the grid. The walnut has a nice grain to it and it is finished well, smooth to the touch with nicely rounded corners and hidden joints. The wooden grid rests on an interior shelf so the top of the grid is flush with the top of the box. The grid simply lifts off to access the charging station underneath if you need to change the cables in use. There are 4 slots in the grid with three cutouts in each slot. Charging cables can be threaded out through any of the slots, additionally the centre slots are designed to fit the “one-handed docking adapters” and the right side slots can fit their Apple Watch Mount ( and appears to be designed so they can add extra mount options in future.)

I tested out the one-handed docking adapter, ALLDOCK micro-USB cables and Apple Watch Mount with the ALLDOCK. Both the one-handed docking adapter and the Apple Watch Mount attach to the charging station via hidden magnets- which keeps them in place without detracting from the sleek look of the charging station. I really love the one- handed docking- it is much easier than fiddling with inserting a cable in a charging port. Having the capability to add the Apple Watch Mount to the charger is a nice feature. The ALLDOCK micro-USB cables are much shorter than regular charging cables so you don’t have any excess wires curled up inside the box. You can use regular cables too but may need to use some type of tie to keep the excess cable tidy.

The 3 front slots are all the same width- approximately 15mm and worked well with my iPhone and Android phones in cases and without, it also fit my iPad Air 2 and iPad mini in fairly slim cases. The rear slot is wider- approximately 19mm and is wide enough to fit my iPad 2 or 3 in a protective case such as the Trident Kracken, the iPad 3 in a Gumdrop case was a snugger fit but did still work and felt stable in the slot. You can also bring charging cables out to the side for items such as headphones or digital cameras that don’t fit in the slots.

Charging:

The ALLDOCK 2015 has had an upgrade to the charging unit as well compared to the previous model, so that it is more energy efficient. It has 4 charging outlets each capable of delivering up to 5v/2.4A, and the total output is 5v/10A, this means that you can charge 4 high demand devices such as 4 iPads at the same time at full charging speed.

 

Summary

Overall, I really like the design of the walnut ALLDOCK 2015, it is a much more elegant design than most charging stations and and looks good enough to have on display in my living room or on my office desk. It is powerful enough to charge even 4 iPads at once and versatile enough to use with a variety of different devices. The one-handed docking works very well and like how the one-handed docking adapter and Apple Watch mount via hidden magnets. The wood of the case is beautifully finished with a smooth finish, rounded edges and hidden joints. The front slots work well for smartphones or newer tablets such as the iPad Air or mini and will work with the tablet in a case if it isn’t too bulky, the rear slot will fit an iPad 2/3/4 even in a protective case.

  • The ALLDOCK 2015 is available now on Kickstarter and it is a great time to get it at a discount. I would recommend the ALLDOCK 2015 for anyone looking for an elegant, versatile, powerful charging solution for multiple devices, I would also recommend adding on the one-handed docking adapters. The Apple Watch Mount is a nice add on if you have an Apple Watch. You can use your own cables, but getting the short micro USB or lightning cables will make it easier to organize.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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