Accessory Review: Charging Pod for BlackBerry Curve

By Kevin Michaluk on 22 Feb 2008 04:20 pm EST
0
loading...
0
loading...
1
loading...

BlackBerry Charging Pod

Must Have BlackBerry Accessory for Curve and Pearl Users! 

This will be one of the most positive accessory reviews you ever read here at CrackBerry.com or anywhere else for that matter. Why? Because you really cannot say anything bad about the BlackBerry Charging Pod. It looks awesome, works as intended and is useful! The charging pod hooks up to the mini USB connector on your existing power supply, be it wall/travel charger or usb cable connected to the computer, and recharges your BlackBerry in style. In addition to charging, it serves double duty as a simple cradle/holder for your device, keeping your BlackBerry upright and minimizing used desktop space during syncing or when just sitting there not in use.

The BlackBerry Charging Pod is available for the both the BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry Pearl series of smartphones and makes for a much smaller alternative to the extremely popular and powerful BlackBerry Power Station (which can also recharge a spare battery and BlackBerry headset at the same time). The BlackBerry Charging Pod retails for $39.99 at ShopBlackBerry.com (they're only stocking the Pearl right now), but you can pick it up from the ShopCrackBerry.com store for $24.95. Read on for more info and lots of pics!

BlackBerry Charging Pod

Here's the official verbage from the manufacturer's site:

Display, sync, and recharge your BlackBerry smartphone in the office or at home with the help of the BlackBerry desktop Charging Pod. Conveniently position your handheld for speakerphone calls, watching movies, or listening to music - while winding a charger behind the Charging Pod to re-power and/or a data cable to your handheld's USB port for syncing. The charger includes two LED 2-colour indicators - through the BlackBerry logo on the front of the Pod and on its interior - so you can easily determine whether your smartphone is charging or fully-charged that power is being supplied to the charger. Ultimate convenience is complemented by the Charging Pod's chrome design, which skilfully emphasizes the accents on your BlackBerry smartphone.

Features:

    • Combine Charging Pod with any travel or data cable charger to charge and/or sync your BlackBerry smartphone
    • Display BlackBerry smartphone while recharging, taking phone calls, watching movies, or listening to music
    • Two LED 2-colour indicators identify whether handheld is charging or fully-charged power is being supplied to the charger

As for compatibility, the Curve charging pod is compatible with all of the modesl - 8300, 8310, 8320 and I'm sure the 8330 when that hits the market. On the Pearl side, the Pearl version is compatible with all of the BlackBerry Pearl 8100, 8110, 8120, and 8130 devices. 

Charging Pod Initial Impressions

The charging pod ships in simple packaging and comes with a single page diagram illustrating how to insert the BlackBerry and micro usb connector into the unit (diagram really not needed - save a tree!). It does not ship with a power connector, so you will have to use your existing travel charger to power the charging unit or USB cable connected to the computer. Some could see that is as a downside, but I don't. I have enough chargers and cables lying around as is, so would rather not pay more to include something I already have.

BlackBerry Charging Pod
Handy Instructions are Included Wink

If you want to charge and sync at the same time, then both cables will be required - the travel charger connected to the charging pod, and the usb cable connected between your computer and the standard synching port mounted on the side of your device.

Peeling Off the Protective Wrap
Peeling off the Protective Wrap

The charging pod looks cool. It's chromed finish stands out and will compliment your device nomatter what color of BlackBerry you are sporting. I could see RIM offering the charging pod in more colors down the road, but the chrome works well. The charging pod doesn't take up a lot of space - very minimalistic and chique.

Charging Pod Light The front of the device features the BlackBerry logo as an LED that lights up in white when connected to the power supply. You'll notice in the official verbage above that it says the LED indicator will let you know when your BlackBerry is done charging. This is not the case (and hence why I corrected it) - the LED indicator lights, both viewable from the front and within the interior of the holder, simply indicate that power is coming to the charger. Once you place your BlackBerry into the charging pod, you'll see on your BlackBerry's display that it is now connected and charging. Your BlackBerry's display will also show when your device is fully charged. The LED indicators will always remain white as long as power is supplied to it (whether or not your Berry is inserted, fully charged or dead). I don't believe this is a mistake on RIM's part with the design of the charging pod - just some miswritten verbage. On this type of accessory I wouldn't want the LED to change color once fully charged. The charging pod is where I keep my BlackBerry for the entire day while I'm sitting at the computer - so after an hour of my device sitting in the charging pod, if the LED were to switch colors to a charged state it would make me think I have to remove it from the charging pod, which isn't the case. It's designed to charge your BlackBerry when it needs to be charged, and then act as simply a "holder" after that. It's a good design and works.

Charging Pod - Front Unplugged
BlackBerry Charging Pod - Front View

There's nothing too exciting about the backside of the charging pod - just a well placed port to insert the power connector. The centralized location is smart - it makes for easy/hidden routing of the cable away from the unit.

Charging Pod - Back
BlackBerry Charging Pod - Back

My Experiences With The Charging Pod

There's not much to say here - the BlackBerry charging pod works great. I've used it with both a USB cable connected to my computer and the travel charger as the power source, and with either my BlackBerry Curve charges up quickly. The BlackBerry fits relatively loosely in the charging pod, which is ok - it makes it easy to insert and withdraw. If you want to hook up your BlackBerry to your computer via USB and your BlackBerry is already in the charging pod, I'd recommend pulling the BlackBerry out for a moment, inserting your cable into the USB port on the BlackBerry, then placing it back into the cradle.

I've been using the cradle for a few weeks now, but it only took me a few hours to realize this is a Must Have BlackBerry Accessory. It's too bad BlackBerry 8800 series users can't take advantage of this style of charging pod. On the BlackBerry Curve and Pearl, the charging leads (little gold colored tabs) are on the bottom device so it works with a bottom mounted charging leads like the charging pod features. On the 8800 Series, those leads are located on the side of the device, so you'll have to make do with the BlackBerry Power Station for the 8800 series (it's not really making do, the Power Station is an awesome accessory as well!).

Power Station Comparison

As mentioned, Research in Motion's other OEM charging solution is the BlackBerry Power Station, which you can read an indepth review on here. Like the charing pod, the BlackBerry Powerstation is available for the Curve and Pearl, but in this case also for the 8800 series. Prior to receiving the BlackBerry charging pod, I used the BlackBerry Power Station for the Curve which I absolutely love as an accessory.

 BlackBerry Power Station vs. Charging Pod
BlackBerry Power Station and Charging Pod side by side

Looking at the pictures, you can easily see where the two charging solutions differ. In addition to charging just your BlackBerry, the Power Station can also charge an extra battery and the Plantronics/BlackBerry HS-655 Bluetooth headset. This added functionality means the unit is bigger and costs more, but the price difference is justified. Another major difference to the device is support - the BlackBerry Powerstation really encompasses the BlackBerry - with backing behind the device and rails up the side. This holds the BlackBerry very secure. As a desktop companion, it does a superb job - you can actually use your BlackBerry while its in the charger - there is enough to support to and the unit is sturdy enough that you can tap away at the keys, etc. while the unit is charging. In comparison, the charging pod lacks that stability by the nature of its design - you'll always want to remove the BlackBerry from the pod to use it. The Power Station also holds the BlackBerry at slightly shallower (less vertical) angle, which I find makes the BlackBerry's display a bit easier to view while it sits in the cradle.

BlackBerry Charging Pod vs Power Station
This view shows just how much less desk space the Charging Pod uses

In the end, I think both the BlackBerry Power Station and BlackBerry Charging Pod are great accessories - which one you choose will be up to your needs and preferences. 

Conclusion

The BlackBerry Charging Pod is a must have BlackBerry accessory - Period. The only negative I can really think of is that they don't sell it in packs of two. I'd like to have one by my desk, and another in my bedroom on my nightstand.

BlackBerry Charging Pod Review Summary:
BlackBerry Charging Pod
Ratings

Pros:

  • Looks Great
  • Functions Great
  • Useful!

Cons:

  • You'll want to own two - one for your office and one for your nightstand
  • More colors could be really cool - but the chrome is awesome
Buy Now:

Reader comments

Accessory Review: Charging Pod for BlackBerry Curve

38 Comments

I purchased one of these approximately a week ago. I have been loving it ever since. I look forward to charging my phone. First of all, it looks really cool. Second, it means I no longer have to search for the cord to charge my phone. I just drop it in, and go. You can't go wrong with this one!!

I use a hard plastic cover case. It does make the blackberry a bit bigger. Not by much but definetely a bit more. How does the cradle work with cases? My case, BTW is made by Seido and has an opening for charging.

By having an "opening for charging", are you referring to the usb port on the side or the contacts at the bottom of the battery cover? What needs to be accessible through this case are the two little gold colored tabs at the bottom of your blackberry (beside the button that pops off the batter door). So those need to be able to make contact when you insert the BlackBerry in the charger.

So for skins and hard cases that cover those charging contacts, this won't work (at least while the skin/cover is on). That's not really a fault of this accessory though - the Power Station charges by the same means. RIM designed the BlackBerry device to be charged that way with these accessories. If the skin/case has access for those charging contacts at the bottom, then it may work, but I don't have anything handy that fits the description to test with. There is some wiggly room - maybe enough for a thin skin - but don't think it would be enough for a hard case.

If you're a skin user, it's probably not a big deal to remove the skin when putting your Berry into the charging pod - a couple extra seconds. If you rely on a slim hard case, you'll maybe want to stick to charging through the standard usb port on the side of the device until you know with certainty if your case will work with this accessory (watch the forums and comments here - I'm sure there are many out there trying!)

With much respect to shopcrackberry.com, I bought my charging pod at my T-Mobile store.... for just an extra $5.00. But that's beyond the case...

I FULLY agree to the last 5 posts and especially Mr. Michaluk's review for this accessory. In my opinion, this is an unbelievable purchase because of its sleek/sexy (yes I said "sexy") look. Whether you place this in your office, night-stand, or even the bathroom, this charging pod looks nice in ANY location. The lit Blackberry logo and chrome design looks especially nice with the Titanium curve. Also, long gone are the countless minutes wasted untangling the power cord for your Curve.

I truly do believe that any serious Blackberry addict should invest $30 in purchasing this product.... AWESOME REVIEW!

This is the greatest accessoy. I completely agree that it is a must have. My wife bought one for each of us and we keep them on our nightstands. This review is 100% dead on. The only inconvenience is that I have to spend 2 seconds to remove the skin cover to place the BB on the pod and 2 seconds to put it back on when I take the BB off the pod in the morning, if you want to call that an inconvenience. Everyone must buy one.

I have this too, and it is beautiful!!! It is a great price too. My only complaint is that the light is SOO BRIGHT on it! I have it on my bedside table, and at night when I'm sleeping I have to cover it with something to keep the light from shining in my face. Besides that, its excellent.

Both accomplish the same basic thing. Which you go with will depend on your preferences. Right not the BerryBuddy is just out for the Pearl 8100 (and uses an adapter for the 8110/20/30) but will be available for the Curve soon.

BerryBuddy takes up more desktop space, but holds the BlackBerry more firmly (so you can tap keys and use it while in the holder). Drawback to BerryBuddy is that you can't charge extended batteries, which you can with the cradle. BerryBuddy costs more, but also comes with cables.

I kinda think either way you're a winner compared to not having one...but which is better is up to the end user's preferences.

Thank you for the info. Since I have a 8130 and a Plantronics 665 the Power Station would probably be best.

Am I right in understanding that it only charges and does not sync when using a USB cable? Seems like it should do both.

I don't know if there is a program out there but I think it would be really neat to have a program that displays the time in big digits across the screen of the curve so that it could function as a bedside alarm clock when charging in this pod.

My current alarm clock is big and bulky and I could do away with it if my curve could replace it. It would be nice to be able to glance at the curve from my bed when I need the time and have it wake me up in the morning. Once you are out of bed and you take the curve off the charger, there really is no need for the alarm clock anymore so you can get rid of it.

YOu have to connect the USB cable to the side of the handset. The BerryBUDDY Curve allows you to charge and sync the handset on a single USB data cable connected to a PC or Mac.

Would you think the mini USB on a car charger would work with this? If so, I can come up with some way of mounting this in my vehicle and gain an extra cup holder. I love the looks of this thing.

I purchased one about a week ago for my office. I absolutely love it. It doesn't take up much space and keeps you from constantly having to plug and unplug the charger from your device. I will purchase another for home in the near future.

I don't know about the article but the ones in Canada come with a travel charger and retail for $39.95.

Where exactly in Canada? If in Toronto, Ontario, let me know, I would like to check it out. Unfortunately, shipping from ShopCrackBerry.com to Canada is way too much.

I bought one for my curve...and my g/f got jealous so she went out and bought one for her pearl! lol this thing just adds to the sexiness!

I have been a BB user for years. I recently purchased the charging pod (actually two of them!) and am thrilled with them! They are made very well, work very well and take up very little room. Why didn't they come out with this earlier? Great job on the review!

I'm relatively new to BB and CB use. Had my Pearl 8130 for almost two months and love it. Just the other night I purchased one of these charging stands through Crackberry- glad I did after reading this review- and can't wait for it to arrive!

Just picked one up at a local T-Mobile store for
$6.99. That is $23.00 off the old pricing.

This was not a sales price, it is according to the
store manager the new permanent pricing.

I love mine and even got some of my co workers to get them for their phones. I have to say at $7 a piece I have three of these. One for my desk, one for the house and I even use one in my car with the mobile charger sits right in my center console and looks great with the wood grain.

just got a charger pod for bb 8310 i have it connected to the computer, an when bb sat in it, the light on pod remains white but i cant get blackberry desktop manager to recognise the bb and sync. =(

Yes you still would have to plug into the mini usb on the side of your curve to sync with your computer. It is called a "charging pod". But it would have been nice to if it could sync through the two contacts in the back. As to the wife breaking the mini usb on her 8300 curve. so I have no way of syncing till this is repaired

When I sit my blackberry on the charging pod I get an error message "USB charging current is not sufficient. Verify that your handheld is connected to a powered UB charging source and that the proper USB driver is installed."

I do not know what that means. Can someone please help?

Ok my blackberry has been dead for like a week and i bought the charging pod because the usb port on the side is broke how do i know if my phone is charging or not....?!?!