Lightning Review: Griffin Simplifi iPod-iPhone Dock/Card Reader/USB Hub

Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Griffin Simplifi iPod-iPhone Dock/Card Reader/USB Hub

The Gadget: Griffin's Simplifi dock for iPod or iPhone, which aims to de-clutter your desk by tossing in a reader for CF, SD, XD and Memory Stick Pro cards and a two-port powered USB 2.0 hub. The right kind of convergence.

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Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Griffin Simplifi iPod-iPhone Dock/Card Reader/USB Hub
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Griffin Simplifi iPod-iPhone Dock/Card Reader/USB Hub
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Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Griffin Simplifi iPod-iPhone Dock/Card Reader/USB Hub
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Griffin Simplifi iPod-iPhone Dock/Card Reader/USB Hub
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Griffin Simplifi iPod-iPhone Dock/Card Reader/USB Hub
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Griffin Simplifi iPod-iPhone Dock/Card Reader/USB Hub
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The Price: $70 list, $40 on Amazon

The Verdict: It does exactly what it sets out to do-combine three common USB devices into one gadget. I never use the dock that came with my iPhone EDGE-since my laptop is my primary machine, it always felt like a waste to plug the cable into the dock and the USB to my computer only for a quick charge or sync when I could just attach the cable itself. But with the Simplifi, there is obviously more of a reason to use a dock, because it knocks out the flimsy individual SD and CF card readers I was previously using, and frees up two additional USB ports. A rubberized bottom and just enough bulk ensures it stays put on the desktop, and its Apple TV/Mac Mini design cues make it not too much of an eye-sore, unlike most USB hubs and readers.

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It comes with docking trays that mate with the whole of the current iPod/iPhone line plus the 2nd and 3rd-gen Nanos, the color-screen video iPod classics and all of the Shuffles, and a DC power adapter for hook-ups that need more than just bus power, which also works fine for smaller USB gadgets. Its card reader functions are great-fast speeds, and support for the only cards I ever use: CF and SDHC/SD and its associated mini version via adapters.

One drawback is that it does not include the audio line-out found in Apple's $30 dock (which no longer comes bundled with any iPods/iPhones), so if you use that, Simplifi may not be for you. A third USB port also would have been nice (there's room on the back), and at a list price of $70 it's a little steep, but $40 at Amazon is a sweet deal, considering it's just a $10 premium over Apple's dock. It's available now. [Griffin]

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DISCUSSION

brokenmachine
Broken Machine

Small, lightweight card readers are a waste unless they reside in your take-along laptop case. Why? They are two-handed operation; one to hold device, one to put card in.

My desktops usually get internal card readers, but lately Ive found the ones on the front of my network printer more than capable. One-handed operation is key. Howabout a card reader that clamps/bolts/glues onto a desk?