Review: CableJive dockXtender

by on December 6, 2010

Every so often, we review an item that is so mind-numbingly simple, we’re surprised that we haven’t seen something like it earlier. CableJive’s dockXtender is one of those products—a $26 (2 foot) or $32 (6 foot) extension cable that features a Dock Connector cable on both ends, allowing you to use your favorite Apple device with any Dock Connector-capable accessory, regardless of if it is in a case, incompatible with the actual dock cutout, or you need the area around the Dock Connector free on a “attach on”-style device.

DockXtender DockXtender DockXtender

Perhaps you have an excellent case for an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, but it isn’t friendly with dockable items. You can either sacrifice the functions that are provided with a Dock Connector (video/audio out, charging etc.) temporarily, or remove the case. Obviously, in most cases (pardon the pun), this isn’t too hard, but it’s certainly annoying. Many people have either had to forgo using speaker docks or other accessories, or risk damage to their iDevice or case from taking the case off too many times.

This is where the dockXtender comes in. One end plugs into the device and the other plugs into your dock. This is similar in idea to the similarly-named SendStation Dock Extender, but rather than requiring the device to sit in the “docked position”, you have the flexibility of a Dock Connector cable. This also allows devices like iPhones or iPads to be used with things they were not specifically designed for, such as iPod nano accessories. All the actual wires in the cable itself are shielded in groups, keeping the audio/video signals as separate from the data and power signals as possible. We cannot actually confirm if this affects performance negatively or positively, but it certainly sounds good. The dockXtender can also be used to (obviously) extend any Dock Connector cable.

The only downside is that the dockXtender does not work with all cases. According to CableJive, the cable was developed during the time of the iPhone 3GS, and some of the cases that are designed with very tiny Dock Connector openings won’t work. These currently include the Apple Bumper Case, GroveMade Bamboo Case, Vapor – ElementCASE, Speck CandyShell, and Ballistic HC. We cannot fault CableJive for this, since they were forthcoming about this issue and many accessories do not work with these cases.

Furthermore, some devices can still physically connect to each other using the dockXtender (such as an iPad and an Altec Lansing iM5), but electrically, they’re incompatible. Some of these are related to accessories charging via the FireWire pins, which newer iDevices can’t use, or certain features (video-out) different on each device. This is always something to check out first, especially with CableJive’s frequently asked questions.

The price may seem a little steep, but if it allows you to keep using your favorite $100+ speaker dock or other unique accessory, it serves a niche well. The dockXtender is simple, works as advertised, and is a creative take on an annoying problem.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

CableJive’s dockXtender is a great product both if you have a specific need or just want one on-hand for a “what if” moment.

Pros: Well-made, solves an annoying problem, different lengths available

Cons: Does not ensure compatibility with every device and product (iPads may not work with iPod-only speakers, for example)

The Facts

5/5Product: dockXtender
Company: CableJive
Platform: All iPods, iPhones, and iPads
Price: $25.95 (2 foot), $31.95 (6 foot)

This post has been filed in Docks, iDevices and Reviews