Griffin AirCurve Dock for iPhone and iPhone 3G Review w/Pics & Video

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by dieburnbot, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. dieburnbot macrumors 6502a

    dieburnbot

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    CA
    #1
    I posted this over at modmyi.com, but I thought I would share with you guys as well. :)

    I recently just bought this product (for $19.99 from Griffin's website) and I thought I would share a review as it is difficult to find a review on this product at the time of this writing. Most of the articles out there are announcement type articles.

    You can see pictures of this dock over at Griffin's website: Griffin Technology: AirCurve

    It looks like it is made out of flimsy cheap plastic, but it actually feels really high quality and has some heft to it. The only thing that I wasn't too fond of was the dock adapters that are included with it (it comes with one for iPhone and one for iPhone 3G). They are made out of this semi-soft plastic that bends and flexes. I would have rather had them made out of hard plastic like the dock adapters that you can buy from the Apple store. However, I'm just speculating, but this could have possibly been done by design in order to prevent it from rattling when you are playing loud music or something through the dock.

    The base has a pass through so that you can put your charging cable through it. It works pretty good with the iPhone 3G charging cable that came with the phone, however it seems to sit recessed into it so it is difficult to plug the phone in as you can see here (sorry about the quality of the pics):

    [​IMG]

    I think this is because the plastic portion of the Apple cable is short and Griffin designed this dock to work with their iPhone cables which have a longer plastic portion as you can see from this pic:

    [​IMG]

    I have the Griffin car charger packed up because I plan on trading it in for a white one as I changed my mind on the color. The white one matches the dock better and I would like to use the charging cable that comes with it with the dock. Anyway, you can see from the pic that the plastic portion of the Apple charging cable is a lot smaller than the Griffin's causing it to sit deeper in the dock's cavity. I will update this review once I trade in the car charger and try out Griffin's cable and let you all know if the Griffin cable works better. I think it will.

    Now that I have the build quality out of the way lets look at the performance. This is probably the biggest selling point of this dock, it is supposed to make your audio louder because of the audio channeling that is built into the dock. I can happily say that this feature actually works (see my YouTube video below to see it in action). However, don't expect it to enhance your audio and turn your iPhone into a mini stereo. It takes what is fed to it and amplifies it, and the iPhone doesn't have much bass so the audio that comes out is somewhat treble heavy. It seems to get more distorted the higher the volume is set on the iPhone. The audio sounds pretty good at around the 3/4th mark on the volume slider. The bottom line is that it serves it's purpose, however as is with most audio equipment, feed it crap and get crap out, and the iPhone speaker isn't exactly audiophile quality. The dock should work great to amplify your audio if you are using it as an alarm clock etc. I have a Logitech Pure-Fi Elite if I want to turn my iPhone 3G into a stereo. I'm going to use this dock to amplify the alarm clock and to make calls using speakerphone as it allows you to hear the other person loudly.

    If you want to hear the sound difference this dock makes I have made a YouTube video that you can view here:

    YouTube: Griffin AirCurve Dock Sound Comparison

    I hope this review helps someone make a decision. I really like the dock and I plan on keeping it. It actually has a function other than charging your phone and is 10 dollars cheaper than the Apple branded iPhone 3G dock. :)

    Pros:
    + High quality construction
    + Audio amplification actually works, great for speakerphone
    + Cheaper than the Apple branded dock
    + Looks good, makes the iPhone look like it is sitting on a glass block​

    Cons:
    - Doesn't work well enough with the stock Apple cable, have to mod the locking buttons on Griffin's cable (see update below)
    - Audio amplification can sound distorted at loud volumes depending on the type of audio you are listening to​


    [UPDATE]I tried it with the Griffin cable and it works 9000x better. You don't have to pull the cable out to put the phone on it because it's plastic piece is long enough and it fits perfectly. You can take the phone on and off the dock with ease. So I would recommend getting the Griffin cable if you plan on using this dock to charge your iPhone. Griffin really should have provided a spacer that extends the plastic portion for the Apple branded cable. However, Griffin made a retarded design choice when they made their USB to Dock cable, they made it with the locking buttons on the side. The locking buttons don't allow you to pull the cable out without pressing the two side buttons, which needless to say is a bad feature to have in a dock situation. The way I worked around this was by very tightly wrapping electrical tape around the locking buttons so that they stay pressed in and now I can take the phone on and off without having to press the buttons. Just an idea.

    -dbb
     
  2. Rayfire macrumors 68020

    Rayfire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Location:
    PNW
    #2
    Wow. Thanks for the nice review you've got there, as well as pictures and the video - which really did featured how it amplified the sound.

    Now the sad part is this won't work with Neo, even with a universal dock adapter on it (cause it won't fit dang) :(
     
  3. doubled50 macrumors newbie

    doubled50

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    #3
    Great review. I have been wanting one of these for awhile now. Not sure if it is exactly my cup of tea yet after reading the review. Just seems like a lot to spend just to amplify the built in speaker. I wanted a mini stereo out of it, but very ingenius design. If I see one cheap on clearance or online retailer I may pick one up.
     
  4. 0B1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #4
    i got one of these.
    bit of a no brainer as its the same price as an apple dock here in the uk.
    as long as you're not expecting miracles it's not a bad bit of kit.
    the box contained a leaflet mentioning the cable size issue and said that they had included a spacer to over come this - however neither of the docks in store actually contained the spacer.

    anyone bought one which includes the spacer?
     
  5. mksql macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    #5
    Nice review!

    Would this thing work when the iPhone has a silicone case on? I am using a Marware Sport Grip, and would not want to take it off all the time.
     
  6. jacobgaul macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    #6
    i seen this at walmart the other day, does it popup a accessory not made for iphone message or no?
     
  7. dieburnbot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    dieburnbot

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    CA
    #7
    It probably won't work if you leave the adapter in, but if you take it out it should fit. I have a Griffin Clarifi case and it doesn't fit when I have the iPhone 3G adapter clipped into it (the white portion in the pics). If I take it out it goes in, but then the phone doesn't have much rear support, but it still works out fairly well. I still prefer to take the bottom portion of my case off though when I dock it and leave the adapter in for rear support.

    It won't pop that up because it doesn't actually have any electronics in it. It has a hole on the bottom that you just feed the charging cable through. It amplifies the sound with the design of the tunnel.
     

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