Review: SendStation PocketDock AV
SendStation’s PocketDocks were great for tapping into various capabilities of the iPod’s 30-pin Dock Connector port, but with the Fifth Generation iPod, video output was thrown into play. Because of that, SendStation created something new to give users the capabilities to hook up their iPod to a TV without needing Apple’s cables.
While at $30, the PocketDock AV is a bit more expensive than its siblings, it works about the same way—plug the 1 inch-by-1 1/2 inch adapter into the iPod’s Dock Connector and then use whatever cable you’d like with your iPod. The PocketDock provides you with a standard USB “B” connector (commonly found on most regular-sized USB cables), allowing you to charge/synchronize with whatever you have lying around. It also provides a 3.5mm audio line out and a S-Video output.
If you want composite video (found on most TVs), you’ll need your own adapter cable or the provided multi-cable. The multi-cable plugs into all three connectors on the PocketDock and gives you an array of options including a standard USB connector, RCA audio (left and right), RCA video (composite), and S-Video. This cable can also be used to convert one or the other on most laptops. We found the multi-cable to be rather handy, but, like the previous cables included with the PocketDock family, on the thinner and flimsier side.
A few things to note is that the PocketDock AV does work with many cases, as long as Apple’s Dock Connector cable can be used. This is advantageous when some sort of iPod dock cannot be used.
As for compatibility, Apple’s iPod lineup is going through a bit of a transition period. Because of this the PocketDock AV works in different ways with different iPods. With the iPod photo and iPod with video (5th Generation), the iPods can output everything, synchronize, and charge. The iPod classic, nanos, 4th Generation, mini, and touch all can output audio only, synchronize, and charge. Finally, the iPhone is only reported to synchronize and charge via USB.
In summary, the PocketDock AV is a good product, as long as you have the right iPod. As soon as Apple gets a standard set of features for the iPod family, we may see products like this for current models.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
If you want some way to get video out of your iPod without docks or specific cables, this may just be the right product for you.
Pros: Small, allows standard cables to be used with an iPod, eliminate the need to carry around a ton of cables, included cable is handy
Cons: Not fully compatible with current iPod models (and iPhone)