From docking to Bluetooth, these gadgets offer convenience

April 17, 2014 

Without knowing what was in a box that I recently received in the mail, it could have been a brick.

Actually, it was the 3-plus pound solid steel Grove Dock for iPhone, which works with the iPhone 4 up to the new iPhone 5/5s lightning cables.

Built into the base is a cable management system to run your cable up to the device. Once it's there, it wedges in place (and stays there) to let you dock your phone for charging.

The steel base comes in black or plated silver. But what actually makes this an attractive piece is the wood covering available in bamboo (my review unit), walnut or maple.

All your phone functions are accessible when docked and there are rubber bumpers on the bottom to prevent any surface scratching.

The dock costs more than the average, but it's a great item and even works with most iPhone cases.

It's also 100 percent made in Portland, Ore., and personalized engrav

ing is available with orders of 10 or more. $79 for Bamboo, $99, maple or walnut

Innergie's Lifehub USB charging hub has something many similar devices do not have: a cord to reach more than 9 feet from its power source.

When you add in the reach of the included AC power adapter, you get another 4.9 feet, giving you a total of more than 14 feet of extended power. This enables those needing a power boost to avoid being confined to sitting next to an AC plug.

A cable management system is built into the hub for easy tangle-free storage.

You get three high-powered (2.1 amp) USB ports to charge any variety of portable electronic gadgets simultaneously.

Innergie has built this with smart technology for high performance and energy efficiency. Your device will charge without worries about a short circuit or overheating, and will work with more than 10,000 current USB charging gadgets. $54.99

Mobile Home is a small but useful device for keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

The 3-inch device clips onto your sun visor and connects Siri from your iPhone to your car's sound system via Bluetooth.

Once your connection is made you have a simple way to make calls, get directions or even have a text or email read to you.

With the device positioned in a convenient and reachable position, just hit the home button, which activates Siri on your iPhone.

The home button is the only control on the gadget, which is display-less. The internal lithium button cell battery should last about six month before a replacement is needed.

There is no microphone on the Mobile Home so you'll have to use the one built into your car or on the iPhone. Cars without a handsfree Bluetooth system already built into the cars won't be able to use Mobile Home. $79

Gregg Ellman, Gadgets columnist, can be reached at greggellman@grggellman.

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