Review: ElevationDock 4 Offers Excellent Stability and Angle With Tiny Footprint

by

Elevation Lab first made a name for itself with the original Elevation Dock, which was one of the most popular docks on the market when it came out in 2012. Since then, the company has continued making docks and stands for iPhone and Apple Watch.


The fourth iteration of the original Elevation dock, the ElevationDock 4, was introduced this September, just in time for the debut of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. These devices no longer require docks at all thanks to wireless charging functionality, but they still charge faster over Lightning, so docks continue to be accessories worth considering.


ElevationDock 4 is one of the smallest iPhone docks that I've used. It's smaller than the palm of my hand, with a base that measures in at about two inches on one side and two and a half inches on the other side, which tapers back down to the two-inch size.


With a footprint that small, it can fit just about anywhere and it takes up a lot less desk/table space than a standard dock. It's less wide than my iPhone, in fact, so it can go anywhere my iPhone will fit.


The dock is made from a medical grade silicone that comes in black or white to match your iPhone. I tested the white version, which is a soft white shade that matches well with everything else on my night stand. This is a lightweight silicone and it's an interesting choice for a dock -- most are made from a much heavier material for stabilization purposes.

At the base, the silicone material is smooth, but the part that rests against the iPhone is textured, I assume for a better grip against a bare device. The silicone looks fine and I have no complaints about it, but I don't think it looks as quite nice or as high quality as some of the aluminum docks that I own.


From a distance, though, it's not easy to tell what the ElevationDock 4 made of, and since it's so small, it's unobtrusive and largely unnoticeable. This isn't a dock that's meant to stand out -- it's meant to be simple, out of the way, and useful. While silicone doesn't look as nice as aluminum, there is a benefit, because silicone isn't going to result in any accidental scratches or dings.

With no weight to secure the dock in place, Elevation Lab uses a grippy pad at the bottom to secure it tightly to a flat surface. Elevation Lab calls this a NanoPad that uses "micro air-suction," and it works well. Whatever's on the bottom of the dock doesn't feel sticky, but when placed on a hard surface, it sticks like it's glued in place.


There's enough sticking power that once placed, the dock isn't going anywhere. It's secure enough for the iPhone to be placed and removed with one hand, and it can also support an iPad. I tested it with a 10.5-inch iPad, and it was able to successfully support the weight of the device to allow it to charge, which is impressive because it's a lot smaller than an iPad.

My iPhone always feels secure in the dock, with no tilting, wobbling, or other problems that can be common with some docks, and one-handed removal worked for all of my devices, iPad included. If you have AirPods, the design of the dock also supports charging the AirPods case.

The NanoPad at the bottom of the dock stuck well to most surfaces where I tested it, including wood, metal, and granite, but it doesn't adhere well to brushed aluminum. It should work with most surfaces, though, as long as they're smooth. When moving it, all you need to do is press down a little to make sure it's secure. And while it feels like it might damage some surfaces because of the strong suction, I didn't run into any problems.


Elevation Lab says the dock works with the iPhone 5 and later and all Lightning equipped iPads with the exception of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which is just too big for such a small dock. I use the dock with one of Apple's standard silicone cases, and as long as a case isn't too thick, it should work well with the dock. It's not compatible with thicker cases like the ultra rugged options from OtterBox.

At the base of the dock, there's a built-in Lightning connector, and at the back, there's a flexible braided fabric cord that's durable, attractive, and tangle-free. I appreciate that Elevation Lab didn't just go with some cheap cord -- the cable has a nice look and feel and I'm certain it's going to hold up well over time.


I also appreciate the attention to detail in this dock. Elevation Lab even included a velcro cable wrap with the Elevation Lab logo so extra cord can be wound up and tucked away.

At the back of the dock, there are two stainless steel knobs, and when I first saw the ElevationDock 4, these were what I disliked the most about it. The top knob is designed to allow the angle of the textured back plate to be adjusted by +/-4°, so the iPhone can be positioned straighter or angled slightly backwards depending on your preference. I'm using this dock on my nightstand, so I have it angled back to let me better see the screen in the middle of the night.


The bottom knob lets you adjust the height of the Lightning connector so it can work with thicker cases. Elevation Labs says it supports cases up to 3mm thick.

The knobs definitely stick out, but in person, they're not as obtrusive as they look in photographs because the dock is so small and because they're hidden behind it. It's a clever way to allow for adjustments in such a small dock, though I do wish they stuck out just a bit less. The knobs are the limiting factor that prevent the dock from being placed right up against a wall.


Elevation Lab has also made the Lightning connector built into the dock just a bit flexible, allowing it to have some give to keep the iPhone stable while also preventing possible damage from being knocked around.


ElevationDock 4 doesn't come with a power adapter, so you'll need to supply the one that shipped with your iPhone or another power source. It's just a standard USB-A cable, so it can also work with Macs that have USB-A ports.

Bottom Line

ElevationDock 4 is not cheap at $59, but that price point is on par with other premium docks on the market, and design wise, given the thought that went into the construction of the dock, I'd consider it a premium dock.

It has a tiny footprint, a built-in sturdy Lightning cable, a stable base, and an adjustable angle, which are essentially all of the features that I look for in a dock. I do wish it were constructed from aluminum or another nicer material than plastic, but the simple, no frills design and clean lines make it work.

If you're looking for a dock that's not going to take up much more room than the iPhone itself, ElevationDock 4 is worth considering.

How to Buy

ElevationDock 4 can be purchased from the Elevation Lab website for $59.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
34 months ago
Bought one as soon as it was announced here, and have had it for a couple weeks.

Best iPhone/iPad dock money can buy. The one-handed removal (of an iPad!) really is amazing and worth the price by itself imo.

The adjustable lighting connector is a really nice feature, as is the angle adjustment. I have it on my desk and want the iPad to be nice and upright; while those like Juli who want it on their nightstand can angle it back.

I agree it doesn't look the best, but I accidentally bought the black one even though I have a white-front iPhone (too excited and ordered it too quick without realizing there was two colours), and in a shadowy corner of my desk the stand really fades into the background. pretty much just looks like my iPhone is standing up on my desk next to my iMac.

They chose function over form this time, and did a fantastic job (this is why it costs $60 as opposed to $100+ for previous aluminium ones). Highly recommended.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
34 months ago
This thing is ugly as sin and costs more than the Apple branded weighted aluminum dock that is used with the display models in stores... why not just get one of those? at least then you'll have 3.5mm audio out.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
34 months ago
Medical grade silicone.

You'd have to be a boob to not want this dock. I bet they rack up a lot of sales.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker Shares Details on 'iPhone 13' Camera [Updated]

Wednesday May 27, 2020 4:27 pm PDT by
The next-generation iPhone 12 lineup coming in fall 2020 isn't out yet, but Fudge (@choco_bit), a leaker who sometimes shares information on upcoming Apple devices, today offered up details on what Apple has in store for the 2021 iPhone 13's camera setup. A simple design drawing depicts a device with a four camera array, which Fudge claims will have the following features: 64-megapixel...

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished iPhone XR Models

Thursday May 28, 2020 9:50 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling certified refurbished iPhone XR models in select colors and capacities for the first time in the United States. Refurbished iPhone XR models are priced at a roughly 16 percent discount compared to current pricing on brand-new units, knocking $100–120 off of the regular price. In addition to the 64GB and 128GB capacities matching current brand-new iPhone XR models, ...

Powerbeats Pro Debut in Four New Colors: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue

Friday May 29, 2020 10:00 am PDT by
Following a couple of leaks in recent weeks, Beats today is officially announcing four new colors for its Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue. The new earphones will go on sale June 9 and sell for the same $249.95 price as the existing color options. Aside from the colors, the new Powerbeats Pro models are otherwise identical to the...

Apple Making It Harder to Avoid Nagging macOS Update Notifications

Thursday May 28, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
With the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and related security updates for macOS Mojave and High Sierra earlier this week, Apple is making it more difficult for users to ignore available software updates and remain on their current operating system versions. Included in the release notes for macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is the following:- Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when...

8 Mac Tips and Tricks You Might Not Know

Friday May 29, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
There are tons of hidden features and shortcuts for Macs that Apple has built into macOS over the years, ranging from shortcuts to keyboard commands to other little hacks to make Mac usage just a bit simpler. In our latest YouTube video, we highlighted several of these tips and tricks, and some of them might just be new to you. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Tr...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 With Battery Health Management Features, Fix for Finder Freezing

Tuesday May 26, 2020 1:59 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 comes two months after the launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which introduced Screen Time Communication Limits. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the...

Top Stories: macOS 10.15.5, New Powerbeats Pro Colors, iPhone 12 and 13 Rumors, and More

Saturday May 30, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting mix of news and rumors on the Apple front, led by the release of macOS 10.15.5, which brings a new battery health feature to newer Mac notebooks, while we also saw the official announcement of new colors for the Powerbeats Pro earphones. On the rumor front, we heard a few tidbits about not just this year's iPhone 12 but also next year's iPhone, while we saw...

More Photos and Video of Apple's Redesigned Leather Loop Watch Band Surface

Thursday May 28, 2020 10:50 am PDT by
Images of a new version of the Leather Loop that Apple appears to have in development surfaced yesterday, and today, Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn has shared additional photos and videos that give us a clearer picture of what to expect from the new band. The bands come in colors that include red, hot pink, blue, black, and brown, with some of the bands featuring different colored accents at the...

Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box Gains HDR10+ and Dolby Vision Support, Plus Siri Voice Control

Thursday May 28, 2020 12:00 am PDT by
The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is receiving a major update today, introducing much-desired features like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support. Designed by Signify as part of the Philip Hue line of lights and accessories, the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is designed to let Hue users sync their lights to their home entertainment systems. One of the major complaints about the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box ...

APFS Bug in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina Impacts the Creation of Bootable Backups

Thursday May 28, 2020 3:47 am PDT by
An Apple File System bug has been discovered in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina that can prevent users from making a bootable clone of their system drive, according to the creator of Carbon Copy Cloner. In a blog post on Wednesday, software developer Mike Bombich explained that the CCC team had uncovered the issue in the Apple File System, or APFS, when attempting to create a bootable backup in a...