Today, I received another package from Brando Workshop, just a little over a week since it was ordered. Inside the brown bubble-lined package were three things:
• Main Package
• AC adapter (UK version is standard, but if you live in the US, a US cable is also included)
• Brando Workshop key chain (hmm, never received one of those before…)
The main box contains the cradle and the cable box. Inside that are the cables (A mini USB, as well as a male to male headphone cable) and the UK power adapter (which strangely doesn’t fit in my US outlet?). The power cable is standard length, I think it’s a little over a meter. The sync and audio cables are just about 1 meter long.
When you plug in this cradle, the first thing you will notice (unless you are blind, of course) is the small blue LED in the middle of the cradle behind that piece of plastic. It is a nice aesthetic touch to a great cradle. Visible in the pictures is the small sync button on the front. Also on top are the speakers. I have verified with TCPMP that it is indeed stereo, though the size of the unit makes the speakers hard to distinguish individually. On the back of the cradle are 3 ports, and a volume adjustment dial. The three ports are for power, line-in, and USB. The line in feature is especially interesting, because it allows you to plug devices besides your Palm, like your MP3 player, into the cradle and play music. You can also just plug your Palm in this way if you don’t mind missing the charging feature. Note that you cannot have a cable plugged into the audio in port when playing audio through the handheld’s connector.
Onto something that bothered me just a little. When I put my TX into the cradle the first time, I felt I was going to have to remove the plastic insert (on the cradle) to get it to fit. This is not actually the case, but it is very tight. When you put your PDA into the cradle, it is going to have to be inserted firmly. A loose connection with the cradle made some interesting buzzing noises. One nice thing is that you do not need to remove your screen cover to use the cradle.
While writing this review, I have had my TX playing music through the cradle, and I have to say, it is very loud. When you first pick the device up, you would probably think it was a cheap little piece of plastic. Well, if it was cheap, then someone got a good deal; I can hear it well clear across the room I am writing in (with the AC on). That said, it is not high-end audio. It loses some low lows, and high highs, but plays most things great.
No cradle review would be complete without a test of the syncing ability of the cradle, so here you go. Something you may notice when you plug it into your computer is that it doesn’t need the power cable to sync, just for music. In fact, it draws enough power to sync, charge, and even power the little blue light, right from the USB cable!
Why you want this!
You have a new Palm, and realize it doesn’t come with a cradle. Crazy right? Well, wait until you realize that the only cradles available on Palm’s website retail for $50. Their TX cradle comes with a universal power kit (who really uses that?), and an audio out connector (I thought that’s what the headphone jack was for). For $18 less (that’s $32), you get a perfectly good cradle that does all of the normal functions, and also plays music.
Any comments or questions about the cradle?