capsule review

SendStation PocketDock AV

At a Glance
  • SendStation PocketDock AV

SendStation's various PocketDocks have long been among our favorite accessories for dock-connector iPods. These diminutive gadgets connect to an iPod's dock-connector port and provide (depending on the PocketDock model) FireWire and line-level audio-output ports; USB and audio-output ports; or FireWire and USB ports. The benefit is that you can then sync your iPod using any FireWire or USB cable, rather than needing a special dock-connector cable. The audio models also give you access to the dock-connector port's line-level audio signal, which is preferable to the headphone jack for connecting your iPod to a home stereo, care stereo, or headphone amplifier. I personally always keep a PocketDock in my travel bag.

SendStation recently released the PocketDock AV, which provides even more connection options. Designed to be used with fifth-generation (5G) iPods, the bottom of the AV provides a USB port, a stereo audio output, and an S-Video output. Included with the AV is a handy four-foot cable with USB, audio, and S-Video plugs on one end for plugging into the AV's three ports. The other end provides a standard USB connector, left and right RCA audio plugs, a composite RCA video plug, and an S-Video plug. In other words, the PocketDock AV and its included cable let you connect your 5G iPod with your computer for syncing, to a stereo for music playback, or to a TV or home entertainment system for watching videos or viewing photos.

(Note that if you want to connect your iPod to a speaker system that has a 1/8-inch minijack input, you'll need an RCA-to-miniplug adapter. You can also use the PocketDock AV with iPods that don't support video output; you just won't benefit from the video features of the AV.)

The main drawback to the PocketDock AV is that it's substantially wider and thicker than the other PocketDock models, which means that you may need to remove your iPod from a protective case in order to connect the AV -- the dock-connector holes in many cases simply aren't large enough to accommodate the PocketDock AV. (The AV's dock connector is extended a bit more than that of the other PocketDock models, so it does work with many thin cases, but thicker cases still don't work.) The AV, at $37, is also quite a bit more expensive than the other PocketDocks, and I would have liked a carrying pouch to keep the dock adapter and cables tidy.

Still, for less than the price of Apple's AV Cable ($19) and an extra dock-connector cable ($19) together, the PocketDock AV provides more connection options (Apple's AV Cable doesn't offer S-Video) and higher-quality audio output (line-level rather than headphone-level) in a package that adds less clutter to your bag. It's a handy travel accessory.
--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • Dock-connector adapter that provides USB port, line-level audio output, and S-video output.

Related:
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon