MIKRADLE EVOLUTION [Review]
MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series You may have seen our reviews in the past of the MIKRADLE Classic and the ezeStand. The ezeStand was well-received due to its stylish design, flexibility for multiple phone orientations, and inexpensive price. The MIKRADLE Classic, designed by DroidForums’ very own Cuskit, received great acclaim as well from the Droid community because of its versatility and wondrous aesthetic appeal. Due to their design restrictions, however, both the ezeStand and the MIKRADLE Classic were limited to the Motorola Droid. Obviously, the smartphone world hardly can take a breath before the next and greatest phone is released. And such was the case with Android, as the Droid Incredible hit Verizon stores in May. Of course, people began to wonder whether Cuskit would be developing a new dock for the Incredible. Cuskit heard the cries; instead of designing a new dock to only fit the Droid Incredible, Cuskit ventured into creating a universal cradle, where all present and future smartphones could be docked. As such, the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series was born.
Today I will be reviewing the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION. Specifically designed with the Droid line in mind, the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION fits both the Motorola Droid and the HTC Droid Incredible, but should fit other phones on the market as well. So, how does the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION stack up to its predecessor? And for $27.99 is the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION really worth it?
The main difference between the MIKRADLE Classic and the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION is the way the docks handle the charging ports. The MIKRADLE Classic had a solid bar on the bottom, where the phone rested. To accommodate for the charging port, there was a cutout at the correct position for the Motorola Droid. However, the Droid Incredible has its charging port at a different position. Therefore, the bottom bar of MIKRADLE EVOLUTION had to be re-designed. Replacing the solid bottom bar are 5 metal rods, with approx. 1 inch of space separating each rod. This was an incredibly intuitive solution to an awkward problem, and gives the EVOLUTION Series an entirely new look. The steel rods, in combination with the dock’s black base, provide great contrast, and lend to the EVOLUTION Series’ modernistic style.
Aside from the steel rods, the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION is hand-crafted and composed entirely of wood. From an untrained eye, it appears that the dock is comprised of three cut pieces of wood that are glued and nailed together. The finalized design has minimal imperfections, and is professionally done. The curves and angles are perfectly smooth and uniform. The dock is entirely symmetrical. I must commend Cuskit for as close to a perfect execution of his design as possible. The dock is raised off the surface by four feet, which adds a bit of elegance and prominence to the accessory. You will not find a better-crafted cradle anywhere.
When compared to the Classic line, the EVOLUTION Series has yet a few more design tweaks. First off, the front of the dock is overlayed with industrial felt, to prevent the backside of the phone from scratching. But would the felt interact, and possibly scratch, the Incredible’s camera lens? No. The new design accommodates for the Incredible’s protruding camera lens by cutting out a section of the felt, thus providing a recess where the lens will fit. As a result, the Incredible rests flush on the dock. The recess is covered by a thin metallic strip (brushed aluminum), which adds to the modernistic design, and complements wonderfully the steel rods.
Customization? You bet.
Simply stated, this type of dock screams customizability. The MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series is available in multiple wood varieties and colors. You will be able to choose from Black, White, Cherry, Oak, Walnut and Mahogany. I opted for the standard Black and the Mahogany models for my review. The steel rods, black felt, and aluminum strip look fantastic with the black dock. However, the same cannot be said about the Mahogany dock; the blacks and silvers simply look out of place. Cuskit explained that the standard dock includes steel rods, but there is a custom option for brass rods. So, for the Mahogany, Oak, Cherry, and Walnut varieties I would probably opt for the brass rods. If you’re looking for rods in colors other than silver or brass, then only solution would be to paint them. I was told by Cuskit that painting the rods will not be an option in the near-future because the paint will eventually rub off, thus deterring from the dock’s perfection. Even though stainless steel and brass should cover most of your custom needs, I do hope in the future, the EVOLUTION Series will have an option for black rods. And considering they’re removable, maybe in the future, I wouldn’t mind a second set of rods (of a different color) with my MIKRADLEs.
So the rods can be customized to an extent. What about the rest of the cradle? The standard models are equipped with black felt and a brushed aluminum strip. Again, I find these to be the optimal colors if you’re looking to purchase the Black or White Dock. However, as I stated previously, the blacks and silvers clash with the Mahogany MIKRADLE. If you’re like me, and would be interested in customizing your docks even further, you’re in luck. There is a custom option for either red or dark brown felt, which may go better with the wood-flavored docks, in my opinion. You can also choose to go with a different color for the metal inlay, including brass, stainless steel, and polished aluminum. There is now also an option for Carbon Fiber Vinyl Inlay, for those of you looking for that sleek black look!
The customizations for MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series are not limited to what I have described here. If you’re looking for a truly customized experience, ask Cuskit, and he shall deliver! Some completed EVOLUTION custom projects include:
- A country western band ordered a set of Oak Evolutions with brass pegs and blue denim inlay strips (real denim material).
- Other inlays including cork, bamboo, carbon fiber vinyl, Corian (a solid surface material well known for countertop construction) in several colors, as well as dozens of varying color vinyl inlays.
- The owner of a Corvette had a black and white checkerboard inlay.
- A real estate company ordered a set of Mahogany Evolutions with brass inlays engraved with their company logo (for the work desks of all their employees).
- A client - who owns and races thoroughbred horses ordered custom color cherry Evolutions (a very dark cherry color as opposed to the lighter cherry stock color) with real cowhide LEATHER inlays with brass pegs, with his ranch name "branded" into the leather!
- A quartz inlay - a stone/epoxy combination that resembles granite.
- And… the most unique inlay to date? black Evolutions with yellow ruler inlays with brass pegs. These for a flooring carpet distributor.
As you can see, the customization opportunities are endless. Just need to use your imagination!
Differences between models?
Now, I have noticed subtle variations between the black and mahogany versions of the EVOLUTION Series. First off, the rods on the Mahogany model were held in place by a small amount of glue (adhesive). The black model, on the other hand, had no adhesive whatsoever, resulting in 2 of the 5 rods being loose. Also, the Mahogany model has a few imperfections not found on the Black model. Specifically, on each side of the dock there are 4 brown dots. Also, the underside of the dock has 4 tiny holes. I’m not sure these flaws are found on all the wood-flavored docks, or if this is unique with mine. Simply, they may just be markers for the crafter, since the docks are hand-made after all. Notice the abnormalities in the photos below:
I brought these issues up with Cuskit, to see whether or not they were unique with my Mahogany dock. Apparently, the dots on the side result from holes created by the nails securing the side panels. These holes are “filled with a wood epoxy, and when the clear finish is applied, you will see them contrasting to the wood grain; these filled holes are more or less apparent depending on the mahogany grain. The other wood models have a stain applied which masks the wood epoxy quite well.” He further explains as to why this isn’t an issue with the black and white models: “they are a solid color, so on these, the epoxy is completely painted over.”
Furthermore, as to the four holes on the bottom, they “were also from the steel pins used to hold the bottom ‘peg piece’ to the backrest bracket. They were not filled on your model, (but) all models sold since June 12th have these 4 holes filled.” There you have it. The dots will be more or less visible on the wood-flavored MIKRADLE EVOLUTIONs, but honestly, they are not obvious to any degree, unless you are closely examining the dock.
As to the glue found on my Mahogany’s rods, this is simply “removable” glue that is applied to keep the rods in place during shipping. Expect the rods to have a bit of this glue when you receive your own MIKRADLE EVOLUTION.
Multiple Orientations? What about Multimedia Mode?
Cuskit stated that the phones can be positioned either vertically or horizontally, but after trying this with both the Motorola Droid and the Droid Incredible, I found that the phones are very unstable in the vertical position. Avoid this! The dock isn’t tall enough to support the phone vertically.
I also found that the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series does not include a magnet to trigger Multimedia Mode on the Motorola Droid. This was presumably left out because the Droid Incredible does not have that feature. However, Motorola Droid owners, fear not! If you note in your order that you own the Motorola Droid, it is Cuskit’s routine procedure for a magnet to be installed for you.
The Droid X and the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION
And what about the Motorola Droid X that is coming out on July 15th? I just got word that the Droid X will fit perfectly in the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series docks! I guess it truly is universal!
Value & Summary
Simply stated, Cuskit has outdone himself with the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series. The beautiful and intuitive design really gives the MIKRADLE a refined modernistic look. Although the retail price of $27.99 may seem steep for a dock, remember that the Motorola Multimedia Dock is $29.99 retail, and the design/quality of the two don’t even compare. Considering the dock is hand-crafted in the USA with quality wood and metal materials, it is worth every penny. The limitless customization opportunities are wonderful as well, and the dock will never become outdated because of its universal nature. My only suggestion, and a minor one at that, would be to offer the rods in more colors. Lastly, if you have any issues with your MIKRADLE, Cuskit is very active on DroidForums.net, and is always around to help. I urge you, if you’re in the market for a dock, do check out the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series before you decide to purchase a plastic “Made in China” dock from Verizon. I promise, you won't be disappointed. All in all, the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION is a surefire winner that will cradle my smartphones for generations to come.
I’m pleased to announce that MIKRADLE .com will be unveiled on July 13th, exactly seven months from the date that the MIKRADLE CLASSIC debuted! On there, you will find photos of some of the amazing custom docks that I outlined in my review. Stay tuned! But obviously, there is no need to wait for the site to be unveiled for you to order your very own MIKRADLE EVOLUTION. Here’s how to order NOW:
List price is $32.99, however
, I am offering the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION
Series to all registered forum members for only $27.99
(add another $3.00
if you'd like to include a 6' MicroUSB Cable). Payments should be PayPal to my account name: email@example.com
Be sure to include your forum user name, color choice and WHICH PHONE YOU OWN
. Those who have the Motorola Droid need to advise me if they want a magnet installed as I only do this by request!
Also include a shipping address, especially if your PayPal account has not been updated with current shipping addresses. Classic Series are still part of our current lineup, and will continue to sell at their current prices.
Manufacturer’s Press Release here:
Full library of MIKRADLE EVOLUTION photos here
"MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series
MIKRADLE has introduced the latest concept in an Ultimate Docking Experience - The MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series. Gone is the word “proprietary” from the MIKRADLE vocabulary. We’ve taken the steps necessary to move into a new realm of possibilities - our goal was to provide a product that could evolve with your smartphone experiences. It is designed to move with you as you continue to take advantage of newer phones and updated systems. It has no restrictions, and can hold a phone in both horizontal or vertical positions.
The totally open design allows for unlimited possibilities with cable port locations. Whether your cables exit top, bottom, left or right - MIKRADLE EVOLUTION provides for the ease of a connection that has no limitations. Obviously, the sides and top of the MIKRADLE EVOLUTION are open, and the bold steel rods that support your phone are removable - should you find one or more may impede your connecting cable.
Color choices are offered in a wide variety of choices - black, white, cherry, mahogany, oak and walnut. Custom colors are also available. A commercial grade felt backing is installed to ensure no scratches or damages may incur.
As delivered, we have included a featured inlay strip, a wide plate of solid brushed aluminum. Options include other metals, such as brass, stainless steel, polished aluminum, etc. Other colors and materials such as fabrics, wood veneers, bamboo, etc. will be offered, as well as personal engraving.
MIKRADLE EVOLUTION Series. A contemporary appearance, a functional purpose and a solid winner!"
Press shots can be found here
MIKRADLE .com coming soon!