I was so looking forward to the combo battery charger/cradle from Mobi. It was high time I had a cradle for my beloved 750. I had recently reviewed a spare battery and knew I had a perfect spot for it. For those of you who didn't read the spare battery review, you should do so. It's a worthwhile read because before you plunk down money on a spare battery, you should consider your needs as you examine charging, case and cradle options. It's not as simple a decision as you might think and the wrong decision can cost you a lot of money. For starters, with a cradle like this you must factor in the cost of a spare battery.
I was surprised to discover how this charger worked. The unit has two charging ports: one for the included AC adapter, the other for a USB cable. I plugged the AC adapter in, dropped the Treo in the cradle and nothing happened. Well, something happened. The green LED on the side of the cradle lit up but the charging light on the Treo did not. I jiggled, twisted, put the Treo in and out. It took me several frustrating minutes to discover that the AC adapter DOES NOT CHARGE THE TREO. The AC adapter only provides power to the battery slot. Dropping the spare battery in to the charging well, the LED turns to red and it begins to charge. You need to plug the USB cable in to get the cool blue LED on the right side of the cradle to illuminate and therefore the red charging light on the top of the Treo.
I was shocked. I assumed that the Treo would charge rapidly and efficiently through the AC adapter, not the more inefficient USB charger.
The Unit itself is a simple affair. The Treo clicks into the base held upright at nearly 90 degrees. Behind is a charging well for the battery. The use of the cradle sent me off in a bout of research. Youll have to be able to compare the various cradle options to make the right choice. Most of the cradles are within ten or fifteen dollars of one another. This is a small differential and I just want to take a look at the other options to help you decide if this cradle battery charger might be the best choice for you.
The Palm cradle at fifteen dollars more is worth serious consideration. It charges off the AC adapter, comes with international adapters, and does handle both Treo and spare battery. Read my review of the Palm cradle.
For ten dollars less than Palms offering, Seidio offers a cradle only which allows you to charge most Treos in the case. This is a great feature but again is USB only.
For the same amount as the combo unit, Mobi offers a cradle only version of the product which charges from your computer's USB port or the bundled AC adapter, so you can use the cradle away from a computer. This cradle will not accept cases. There are many other options, both cradle and non-cradle alike, that youll want to wade through.
I was in the middle of charging the Treo when I shut my laptop down. Since there was no power to the USB port, there was no power to charge the Treo. As most of you know, USB charging is much slower than an AC adapter. The battery, because it charges off of the AC adapter, charges efficiently. I could use this unit to sync and charge a spare battery, but would prefer to charge using the regular Treo wall adapter.
One odd thing I discovered is that in a dark room, the LEDs are like a homing beacon from some science fiction movie. If you sleep in a small room and happen to have your charging unit there, then youll be treated to a little laser light show.
This is one of the first cradles Ive used since my Visor Deluxe days and now Im trying to remember why a cradle was so important in the first place. It seems simpler and cleaner just to plug the Treo directly into an AC adapter or use a sync cable. I guess Ive come around to Palms way of thinking.
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