Thought Out Ped2
As I mentioned when I reviewed Thought Out's original iPed (now called Ped, thanks to Apple's legal department), a dock base is useful not just for charging and syncing your iPod, but also for storing it when not in use -- less sliding around your desk means fewer scratches. Unfortunately, Apple no longer includes a dock base with new iPods; you have to purchase it separately (either an official model from Apple or a similar accessory from a third-party vendor).
If you're looking for a convenient place to stick your iPod on your desk, and don't need the additional features of Apple's Universal dock (such as audio output or remote control capability), Thought Out's Ped2 is an attractive option that holds your iPod in a sturdy metal cradle with an opening on the bottom to connect Apple's dock connector cable; you thread the cable through a rubber ring on the Ped2's stand to reduce cable clutter (and to keep the cable from falling behind your desk when your iPod is out and about). The base of the iPed has a rubber sole to protect your desk.
Like the original Ped, Ped2 is made of forged alloy steel with a powder hardcoat finish that gives the Ped2 a high-quality look. But whereas the original worked only with 3G, 4G, and photo iPods, the Ped2 fits all dockable iPods except for the nano. (It also fits 1G and 2G iPods.) Available in black or white, the Ped2 achieves this compatibility via 8 pairs of plastic spacers. The two sides of the "cradle" -- each of which is lined with rubber so it doesn't scratch your iPod -- are mounted on a thin metal axle that is threaded through the top of the Ped2's base. By using spacers of different thicknesses, you determine how wide the cradle is (and, thus, which iPods it accommodates -- even iPods in cases). There are, however, two downsides to this design. The first is that the spacers don't match the white or black design of the Ped2; they're instead a sort of translucent off-white. (Granted, you don't see them when your iPod is in the Ped2, but they're noticeable when the Ped2 is empty.) The other is that the procedure for removing the cradle and spacers from the axle requires an included tool; I would have preferred a design that used a standard screwdriver or wrench.
One other advantage the Ped2 has over the original Ped is that, thanks to its axle design, its cradle can be rotated up or down to the desired angle. (The Ped's cradle was fixed.)
Like the original Ped, the Ped2 isn't cheap; at $40, it costs as much as Apple's Universal dock, which includes remote control capability and an audio output jack. However, as a way to hold your iPod while syncing and charging on your desk, it is the most solid and adaptable stand we've seen -- one of the few that works even with many iPod cases -- and is quite attractive.--Dan Frakes
Thought Out Ped2
Metal stand for full-size iPods.