Above is the cradle itself – it’s from easydevices.co.uk. It’s made in China and, although probably not “official HTC merchandise” looks the business. In the box you get a UK mains charger with a small round plug at the other end, a small manual and a USB sync cable with miniUSB at one end. I decided to just grab the USB cable for now and hook it into my PC…
A small blue LED shines up showing that there’s power to the cradle part at the front. This cradle won’t charge the second “extra battery charger” unless you use the mains charger, however I don’t need it yet so this is fine for most people. The HTC Hero I tested actually turns the screen off whilst charging, although there’s a free app in the Android Market called “Keep Screen” which blocks the screen timeout when predefined applications are active. With Windows handsets you should be able to set this in the power settings.
You can see the see-through plastic holster here. It’s made of soft plastic and doesn’t scratch or mark your phone in any way. When I slid the phone in it popped onto the miniUSB port easily and without too much force. You do have to put your hand on the base when pulling the phone back out again, but it’s snug and very stable in there.
Around the back there’s two ports. The one on the left is for the mains charger and will charge your extra battery AND the phone, whilst the USB on the right will charge your phone AND sync your phone.
Here’s me charging that extra battery. It slots in neatly. The entire base is sturdy and well made. The mains charger puts out 5V. You can see that both the red LED and blue LED are on to indicate that power is going to both places.
For a snip under £15 this is a bargain. It does exactly what it says on the site and I’ve had no reason to complain. For those who do a lot of work away from their desks the extra battery charger should prove pretty invaluable, but for me I’m quite happy being able to see my personal email come in on a “second screen” as it sits next to my monitor, charging and acting as USB storage all at once. Top stuff.
Unit tested – HTC Hero Cradle from easydevices.co.uk (currently £14.67)