The Good: The Gravitas’ weight stops it from moving around and allows you to undock single handedly. Interchangeable inserts also make it compatible with various versions of iPhones & iPads.
The Bad: Price. At $89/£79.99, it’s a bit much for what’s essentially just a dock.
The Bottom Line: Top-notch build quality and small footprint make the Gravitas one of the best docks I’ve used. The price may be a bitter pill to swallow, but Henge Docks’ “Life After Device” program softens the blow.
Leaving aside the design that differentiates them, smartphone & tablet docks generally tend to perform one or two simple functions: propping up the device for a better view and charging it.
The trouble is that most docks aren’t necessarily stable because of their light weight, and for most of them the undocking process tends to require one hand to hold down the dock, while the other safely removes the device. Not exactly a grab’n’go experience!
Those are problems that Henge Docks — a company best known for their vertical MacBook dock — intends to solve with the Gravitas, a $89/£79.99 dock made for all of your iDevices.
What’s their secret? Making the dock extremely heavy.
Design & Build Quality
The Gravitas’ good looking all-metal construction.
This has to be by far the best built dock I’ve ever come across. Its all-metal construction gives the Gravitas 265x more density than aluminium — a more commonly used material in Apple accessories — and the end result is a heavyweight 1.17 kg dock for your iDevices.
Fortunately that means that once you place it down, this dock is going nowhere. Of course the other key benefit of the Gravitas’ incredible density is that you can comfortably undock your device with a single hand without pulling the dock away with you every time you leave your desk. Whether it’s an iPhone or iPad, the Gravitas will stay rooted to your desk as if it’s engrained in it.
Despite its density, what’s truly impressive is the way the Gravitas maintains a small footprint. At 3 inches long and 3.3 inches wide, it’s going to remain fairly discrete and out of the way.
Compatibility with iDevices
In the box: Interchangeable inserts & a Henge Docks USB cable.
If you’re using an older iPhone or iPad, don’t worry, you haven’t been left in the dark. Henge Docks was thoughtful enough to create a version of the Gravitas that uses a 30-pin connector as well as a Lightning version.
Backward compatibility is nice and all, but the four interchangeable inserts for compatibility with your different devices was a great addition to this dock. There’s no “one size fits all” here — you get separate inserts for iPhone 5/5S, iPhone 5C, iPad 4, Mini & Air. The inserts themselves have a nice contour that leave enough room to comfortably press the device’s home button, although using the fingerprint scanner on an iPhone 5S may be tricky to use.
Snug fit for the iPad Mini on the Gravitas dock.
The icing on the Gravitas cake is their “Life After Device” program, which essentially means they’ll continue to create inserts for future generations of Lightning devices to ensure a future proof product. When you’re spending $89 on a dock — it’s certainly a nice value-added feature, and one that makes the price slightly more tolerable.
iPhone’s insert removed from the dock.
In actual usage, switching between devices is quick and easy too. A little tug pulls the plastic insert pull away from the base, and you then just push in the other one you need to use.
A small problem is that by making the inserts a perfect fit to each of the devices, you’ll struggle to fit in an iPhone or iPad using bumpers or cases — a common issue with docks like this. You can use the dock without the inserts if you really want to keep your case on, but that isn’t advised.
The Gravitas is powered via the USB port round back, and using the nicely branded cable Henge Docks provides, you’ll be able to charge and sync your device (when connected to your computer) with no problems.
Above the USB port there’s also an audio port for connectivity to an external speaker. Unsurprisnigly you don’t get a 3.5mm cable to use so you’ll need to have your own — not a big deal.
Audio port on the Gravitas can be used to connect to a speaker.
Unfortunately the speaker output has a preset, unchangeable volume which, in my mind, defeats the purpose of having audio connectivity. Particularly when playing bass-heavy songs on lower-end speakers, you really do need the volume adjustment. However, nitpicking aside, the audio connection is a nice added bonus, even if it is just for very basic uses.
It’s also worth noting that iTunes sync gets disabled while you’re connected to a speaker.
Despite those final shortcomings in audio connectivity, the Gravitas is an incredibly well made dock and a recommended purchase — assuming you can actually afford it.
It delivers in both form, with a good looking exterior design, and function, with it’s 1.17 kg weight. Throw in the “Life After Device” program and it’s set it up to be a long-term ‘investment’, however the $89/£79.99 price tag inevitably makes it inaccessible for many.
Still, for those willing to pay premium prices for premium quality & design, the Henge Docks Gravitas won’t disappoint.