Earlier in 2014, I reviewed the Arq Dock, a kickstarter project from 2040 Studio for a well made, modular dock for basically any Lightning or MicroUSB-connected phone or tablet. That includes those wearing cases. Based on feedback received from the first model, they designed an improved model called the Arq Dock 2.0. Let’s take a look.
Arq Dock 1.0 vs. 2.0
The Arq Dock shares a lot of similarities with its predecessor. It features the machined main block, removable pins, and an adjustable cable connector slot that allows you a lot of latitude based on your device and cable. The red finish is rock solid, and won’t easily scratch. It also features the sticky pads that took the finish off my previous desk. The curved design allows you to nest Arq Docks front to back to allow for multiple docks for multiple devices in a small area. If you’re wondering, you can nest both versions of Arq Dock Together. Everything that is good about the first Arq Dock is present in the Arq Dock 2.0. But there are some additions.
Compared to the first Arq Dock, the 2.0 is a bit taller. That is due to a second, larger cable channel. The other main difference is the cable slot at the top. The first Arq Dock was compatible with two types of cables: standard Apple Lightning and a custom Micro USB that features the same connector shroud size as Apple Lightning. This is no longer the case. The new connector whole is designed around the larger legacy 30-pin connector. This offers a lot of flexibility. For Lightning and Lightning USB cables, there are a pair of spaces included. One is for the lightning size connector. It once again comes with the custom MicroUSB cable. However, it also comes with spacer with a larger opening. This is for using First and Third Party cables from other manufacturers. You can even run it without a spacer if your cable is really fat. This will also keep the Arq Dock usable when USB Type-C replaces the MicroUSB connector in the not too distant future. Arq Dock can also fit larger Micro USB 3.0 cables like those found in the newest Samsung Galaxy phones. The V2.0 also features 4 screw holes instead of 2. 2 up and down like the original and two to the side for the 30-pin. They are tighted with the same small allen wrench.
How it works real world
For the most part, the Arq Dock 2.0 lives up to claims. From reviewing devices, my army of various Micro USB cables is far larger than any man should see in a lifetime. Through the roughly dozen or so I tried, only one of them was too fat to fit in the hole. The rest generally worked. The ones that worked best were the ones worked the best are ones that fit inside the third party cable spacer. Connectors too large for that work, but may be prone to some lateral movement if not properly tightened. However, you have to be very careful not to tighten to the point of damaging the cable. The rubber spacers also have a secondary benefit. In the first Arq Dock, the tightening screws tended to leave an indentation on the plastic of the cable connector. the millimeter or two of rubber softens the blow.
USB 3.0 and 30-pin I didn’t get to test. Ironically, I tossed my last 30-pin cable as part of a winter cleaning just a couple weeks ago. Micro USB3.0 can be pretty picky. The cables I tried were too wide for the Arq Dock. I personally would stick to Samsung cables for USB 3.0.
Pricing and Availability
The Arq Dock 2.0 was $25 on Kickstarter. Here’s the bad news: as of this moment, there aren’t any plans to sell the Arq Dock 2.0 beyond the concluded Kickstarter project. It is my hope they reverse that decision and open up the Arq Dock 2.0 to additional orders. Not only because I think our viewership would benefit from this product, I selfishly want to be able to buy more for myself down the line.
Arq Dock 2.0 simply makes an already fantastic design already better. It takes everything that was good about the Arq Dock and adds the flexibility to use different connectors and third party cables. It looks phenomenal to boot. The Arq Dock 2.0 is my dock of choice. Hopefully they’ll reopen orders so it can be yours as well.
- Well Made
- Adjustable for the device
- Works with almost any iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, etc Phone or Tablet
- Can use virtually any cable
- Compatible with Lightning, Micro USB, Micro USB 3.0, and Apple 30-pin.
- Rubber spacers for lightning-size and third party cables have added benefit of protecting the connector
- Stackable back to front
- Can be use along side original Arq Dock
- Some lateral movement on third party cases too thick for the third party spacer
- Over-tightening May Still damage connector if too thick or large for spacer
- Not Currently Available for Order