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Hands-On

First look: ElevationDock 4 is first MFi-certified Lightning dock to work one-handed

Accessory maker ElevationLab is back at it with their fourth-generation iPhone and iPad charging dock, using an integrated Lightning connector, adjustable plug and back, and micro suction cups to allow for sturdy one-handed undocking.




The ElevationDock 4 for iPhone is priced at $59 and ships free direct from ElevationLab. The company also sells through Amazon for $59.95 with free two-day shipping via Prime.

With a compact, minimal design, the Apple-certified accessory stays in place through the micro suction cups on the bottom. This is different from previous ElevationLab docks, which relied on a heavy metal base to stay in place.


Left: ElevationDock 4. Right: First ElevationDock.


By default, an outer sticker that is removed to use offers the standard suction level. Users can remove an inner sticker to provide an even sturdier grip on a flat surface —just make sure to wipe your tabletop clean first before sticking the dock in place.

The dock boasts two prominent thumb screws on the back —one to adjust the depth of the back to support connected devices, and one to adjust the height of the male Lightning plug. These quick adjustments should ensure that any device with most any case should fit.




Accordingly, we texted the ElevationLab ElevationDock 4 with our iPhone X, with and without Apple's leather case, and found it to be a nice fit. The device also works with an iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, and AirPods case that we tested.

The dock is, however, not quite big or sturdy enough for Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro. But ElevationLab says it should work fine with your smaller 9.7-, 10.5- and 7.9-inch iPad variants.




The integrated Lightning cable is a braided cord to cut down on tangles. And the dock comes in shades of black and white (ElevationLab provided AppleInsider with a black version).

Our initial tests with an iPhone X found that the micro suction cups were very steady on our nightstand. We were able to dock and undock the handset with ease, despite the fact that a fair amount of friction was required to get the snug Lightning plug to slide out.




We used the previous, first-generation ElevationDock that required users to bring their own 30-pin cable, and then later a Lightning cable with an adapter. While well crafted, that dock couldn't handle the friction of Lightning plugs well, and no longer served as a one-handed dock. In addition, its restrictive design meant larger handsets, like the iPhone X, do not fit in it any longer.

As an update for current handsets and future redesigns, the ElevationDock 4 seems like a good one-size-fits (almost) all models option. And being Apple MFi certified means it should continue to work with future hardware and software updates.


Left: ElevationDock 4. Right: First ElevationDock.


The main drawback of the device is that the integrated Lightning cable is limited to USB 2.0 speeds. Users who want to take advantage of quick charging capabilities with the iPhone X and iPhone 8 series will need to look elsewhere.

Still, a wired USB 2.0 power draw can charge noticeably faster than Qi wireless charging, if users have a 12-watt iPad charging power brick. And if you use it as a bedside charger where it will get 8 hours per night, that's more than enough to top off your device.




The ElevationLabs ElevationDock 4 is now shipping.