RIM's elegant BlackBerry desktop Charging Pod for Curve 83xx series and Pearl 81xx devices is great for making speaker phone calls, watching video clips or listening to music.
Countless gadgets and gizmos available today can replace the boring, utilitarian power packs and USB charging cables that come with Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphones. They all serve the same simple purpose: to revive your mobile device's battery when it's dead. We've found one that's truly compelling.
Some manufacturers try to differentiate their products by offering additional or unique functionality. For instance, some chargers secure devices in place during travel and plug into multiple power outlets - car, USB or your wall. Some can juice up a spare battery while powering up your handheld. And others still come with a plethora of adaptors, or "nibs", so they can be used to charge any mobile device under the sun.
What sets RIM's BlackBerry desktop Charging Pod for Curve 83xx series and Pearl 81xx devices apart is its simple and elegant form factor. Your device sits upright while charging in the pod, and the positioning is great for making speaker phone calls, watching video clips or listening to music.
This charger also is a fraction of the price and size of similar charging cradles - at least if you go through the right retail channels. And that never hurts.
The Charging Pod's not exactly sturdy, however, and if you use any other BlackBerry than a Pearl or Curve, it's not available for your device. You also have to use your own cord to connect it to a power source because it doesn't come with its own.
What we like
The BlackBerry desktop Charging Pod is beautifully designed. Its shiny faux-chrome finish looks great on any desktop or shelf and the port on its rear side fits any standard BlackBerry charging cable, so you can use the USB cord that came with your device, the original wall charger or any other power gizmo with a standard fitting.
The inside of the pod has two metal prongs that rest against the two gold pieces of metal just below Pearl and Curve Battery doors to transfer power. It also has a cool backlit BlackBerry logo on its face that glows when attached to an electrical source.
The compact Charging Pod measures just 89mm long, one and three quarter inches wide and less than an inch high. It's also lightweight - just about the same heaviness as a wall charger pack - so you can easily throw it into a laptop bag or even a pocket.
And it features a thin rubber mat on its base to keep it from sliding across slippery surfaces so your precious BlackBerry stays put.
Even though RIM will sell the charging unit for £24 through its official sales channel, ShopBlackBerry.com, you can find it through external online retailers such as Amazon.com for less than half of that price.