An Apple Watch charging dock should try to avoid classic problems with cable management, mobility, Apple Watch attachment, viewing angle and stability. The Just Mobile Lounge Dock brilliantly sidesteps or solves all the problems seen in other charging docks reviewed to date.
Just Mobile Lounge Dock
As I have reviewed these Apple Watch charding docks, I've developed a list of desirable attributes. Any such device should be:
- Very stable and hard to tip over.
- Easy to pack up for travel—if that doesn't conflict with #1.
- Able to hide the charging cable elegantly. Or not at all.
- Able to present the Apple Watch at adjustable angles.
- Able to hold the watch whether the band is fastened or not.
- Designed so that the magnetic disk and cable are easy to remove for travel.
- Able to handle both versions of Apple's charger disk without a spacer or adjustments.
The Lounge dock meets all these criteria. Because the soft black cuff can fold down, this stand meets both criteria #1 and #2. Because it doesn't try to hide the cable, there is no unsightly gutter.
I should elaborate on that. If the designer tries to hide or tuck away the cable in a tower or brick-like a design, that can create cosmetic problems if not implemented perfectly. Some docks try to use a gutter down the side, and it can look terrible. The Griffin TimeStand coils it up inside, which is cosmetically pleasing but a pain to undo for travel.
By not trying to hide the cable at all, the Lounge Dock grants the customer more flexibility. And removal for travel is easier.
Next, The Lounge Dock is ready for watchOS 2.0 which will allow for "Nightstand mode" where adjustable angles may be needed depending on the height of the nightstand, etc.
The charger disk for the Apple Watch Sport model is thicker (8 mm) than for the Stainless Steel Apple Watch (7 mm). The Lounge Dock has a circular aperture in the cuff that accepts both thicknesses and allows the disk to be easily pushed through and removed for travel. Unlike the Griffin WatchStand, there's no need to uncoil the hidden part of the cable.
Finally, because the cuff is adjustable vertically, there's never any worry about the magnet holding sufficiently and the need to drape the fastened band over the top. You can leave the Apple Watch band unfastened—or not.
In other words, the designers of this seemingly simple device have thought of everything.
Previously, I reviewed the Just Mobile TImeStand, and because this new product (now shipping) is so different in concept, I asked Just Mobile about its strategy in releasing these two very different designs. Here's the interesting response.
After reviewing hundreds of design proposals from Tools design, we could not decide between TimeStand and Lounge Dock. Because each of them has its own characteristics and applies a to different situation, we decided to put both of them into the market. The design of TimeStand has the DNA of Just Mobile, since it’s made of aluminum, and it’s beautiful, useful and recyclable. While for the Lounge Dock, the round base, aluminum arms and adjustable cuff echoes the design of our existing products such as AluBolt and Encore.
Regarding the timing of releasing these products is the result of their manufacturing process. The manufacturing process of TimeStand is less complicated than the Lounge Dock. From molding the melting aluminum into a cylinder mold to CNC machining, the process didn't give us many surprises. While for the manufacturing of Lounge Dock, it took our project team lots of time to fine-tune each small part: making the adjustable arm not too tight or loose. Inside the bottom part of the soft-touch cuff are a few plastic o-ring. Our team tried for several days to figure out the right spec of the rings, and decide all the corresponding parts around it. The hidden detail of the Lounge Dock is beyond imagination, according to the project team leader.
The black plastic cuff rotates fully in both directions, farther than shown below, until the end of the cuff touches the aluminum base. The attachment of the arm to the base feels strong enough to withstand travel in, say, a backpack. Fully extended, the maximum height of the cuff is just about 10 cm (4 inches). The weight is 120 grams. That's not a lot compared to the Griffin TimeStand's 427g rams, but the circular base is 90 mm (3.5 inches) in diameter, and the Apple Watch remains low, and so the assembly is still very stable.
The cuff rotates both ways until it touches the baseplate.
A very sturdy Phillips head screw attaches the arm to the baseplate. On the bottom of the baseplate is a broad, circular padded ring to protect the desk surface.
The product page has a helpful FAQ that answers typical questions.
Packaging and Warranty
For such a small amount of product, the Loung Dock is beautifully packaged and well protected. A diagram in the inside of the box sows how to attach the arm if there are any doubts. Just Mobile's standard one year warranty is explained in good detail. However, because the product is so new, it's not yet listed on the product registration page. [UPDATE: Just Mobile clarified after this review was published: "Our warranty policy for Lounge Dock and TimeStand will be different. We won’t have a registration page for Lounge Dock because it doesn’t contain any electronic components. Customers can return their product within 7 days for exchange/refund if they receive a defective product.]
Packaging is good looking, informative and sturdy
The Lounge Dock is now my favorite Apple Watch charging dock. It does everything a device like this should do and does it with style and thoughtfulness. This is the best yet.