At a Glance
Art-Deco-inspired iPod shuffle dock
Although the idea of a dock for the iPod shuffle is sound — it’s nice not to have to reach behind your computer to plug in and unplug your shuffle, and some computers (such as Apple’s eMac) can’t accomodate the shuffle via their USB ports — the $29 Apple charges for its official shuffle dock is rather steep. You can get many of the same benefits for a few bucks via a USB extension cable. For this reason, we generally recommend either buying such a cable or considering Belkin’s $30 iPod shuffle-targeted 4-port USB hub instead; both offer much better value.
However, I’ve recently found a $30 iPod shuffle dock that’s worth recommending — at least if you’re an art lover. Pressure Drop’s DecoDock provides the same functionality as Apple’s iPod shuffe dock, but does so via an Art-Deco-inspired design. A curved metal base, available in a variety of colors, hosts an upward-facing USB port. On each side of the USB port are tiered, translucent plastic pieces that, together with a docked iPod shuffle, indeed emulate the Art-Deco style.
You connect the DecoDock to your computer via an included USB cable, which lets you charge and sync your iPod shuffle. The cable also provides power to two lights in the base that light up the translucent plastic pieces. The lights are nifty, but unfortunately they don’t turn off when you remove your shuffle from the DecoDock — they’re on whenever the DecoDock is connected to your computer. The back edge of the DecoDock provides a small, plastic “nub” to hold your iPod shuffle’s USB cap when docked. Overall, the construction of the DecoDock is solid.
Like Apple’s shuffle dock, the DecoDock is pricey for what is basically a USB extension cable. But the DecoDock has something Apple’s dock doesn’t: style.–Dan Frakes