OCDesk OCDock iPhone 5 iMac Lightning Dock Review


Charging docks this innovative are one in a million. The OCDock is one of the many incredible things to have originated due to the crowed-funding platform Kickstarter. It is also a part of a rather small group of truly innovative accessories that has gathered a great deal of iPhone and iMac-using followers. The problem with docks these days is that while they may be minimalist to the utmost degree, they still take up desk space and look like a wired mouse with an exposed cable running from behind. We love to cut the cord on just about everything don't we? That is what OCDesk set out do achieve with their OCDock dock for the iPhone 4/S and iPhone 5. It was designed to seamlessly flow with the iMac or Thunderbolt Display whilst cleverly concealing its cable to form super clean desk setup any Apple enthusiast will fall in love with.

If you've got an iMac or a Thunderbolt Display, this aluminum-machined dock was made for you and your iPhone. Our full review awaits!


The first minimalist iMac sync & charge dock you would think was designed by Apple in California

OCDesk have made something special, something that to iMac users serves an attractive purpose. The dock itself is rather well made, and why wouldn't it be when it's basically just a block of curved aluminum with no moving parts. Well it's a little more than it to be fair. The bead-blasted surface finish is excellent and as refined as the aluminum on the iMac and Thunderbolt Display. It also fits the pedestal precisely, and thanks to the adhesive backing, it also stays in its place firmly. So firm in fact that you can pull your iPhone on-handed, hoorah! Due to the adhesive which replaces weight and bulk - the OCDock is very compact, lightweight and functions like an adapter for your iMac/Thunderbolt Display rather than a hefty aluminum-made charging dock leaving your desk just a little bit cleaner than before.


Available in two different models - a case-compatible model plainly called the OCDock, as well as the model we are reviewing. An even slimmer version of the standard OCDock for those who prefer to use their iPhone naked, and keep it that way. Both are extremely minimalist in design and will set you back $80. Though we're not sure why the OCDock Mini even exists when the company created a very similar designed model that is clearly superior in functionality only to price both equally.

Other than having a slightly wider docking base to accommodate a case-friendly mechanism, the OCDock takes no more of your desk space than the OCDock Mini does, which is insignificant to boot. The one thing the OCDock Mini can do that its more capable and semi-identical twin cannot is fit an iPad due to its unconfined design. But that's just an absurd thing to even consider as even the iPad mini will block your display. Speaking of compatibility, you'll also be able to dock a 5th generation iPod touch or iPod nano with no issues at all.


The OCDock sure looks the part and I don't think there is any other iPhone dock around that integrates itself into your iMac as beautifully and as seamlessly as this does. If Apple had sold such an adaptive docking solution as an optional accessory, I doubt that it would have looked better than this. The OCDock sits dead center where your iPhone covers up the Apple logo of your display, and it'll remain there adhered firmly as an extension of your iMac or Apple Display until you decide to remove it. And as you can tell, the iPhone 5 barely reaches the outer black bezel of a 27-inch iMac (likewise on the 21-inch model), and conversely it will overlap the bezel of a Thunderbolt Display reaching the very beginning of the screen yet will not obscure your view.

Aside from looking stellar, the OCDock puts your iPhone, perhaps the first or second most important Apple gadget you own, right in front of you when working or playing at your desk in a highly inconspicuous way. You'll be able to notice important notifications coming from your iPhone while you sit at your desk using your Mac in the most convenient and unobtrusive way possible. That is what makes the OCDock most appealing and an iconic original amongst the plethora of alternatives.


The OCDock is literally the only dock in existence that hides any trace of cabling with no effort at all, and that excludes built-in desk dock of course. And the trick behind its clean way of ridding its charge and sync cable is rather ingenious. Like all docks, the OCDock still uses a USB cable hookup, only that instead of using a conventional cable, the OCDock features an extremely thin ribbon cable which is hidden underneath the base of the iMac or Apple Display as it is discreetly routed back into one of the USB ports behind the display. The ribbon cable is delicate, can't bend very easily like a normal cable can and has a level of stiffness to it requiring more care when handled and installed underneath the base of the aluminum pedestal. 

Inside the Apple-esque packaging you will find an extra set of adhesive pads in case you would like to reposition or place the OCDock onto another iMac or Apple Display. The adhesive does not leave behind residue when removing the dock which does require use of force because of the strong bond making it non-reusable - which is why extras are included in the packaging.


The OCDock is a thing of minimalist beauty, but there's one tragic flaw you could have sworn you saw from a mile away. Yet somehow you've convinced yourself it'll all work out. Right? I mean the guys behind this surly worked it out. The OCDock might work better with older generation iMacs, also known as the fatty iMacs, but when used with the current generation of slim iMacs there is a problem so big that essentially renders the OCDock useless for most people and that is the fact that it restricts the iMac's movement in a huge way.


Because your iPhone is placed right in front of the display, you will not be able to tilt it up beyond a complete 90 degree upright angle, and if you try doing so you will damage the dock connection as the iPhone bends forwards by being pushed behind by the display. It's a terrible design flaw to say the least. The only workable way around this limitation when using the OCDock would mean that you would have to settle for a viewing angle that begins at a totally upright position only to adjust backwards. There's literally no leg room for the iPhone to not get in your iMac's way because of how the iMac meets its pedestal evenly an its end nearing a 95 degree angle, which is exactly where the OCDock and OCDock Mini place themselves at leaving no more room for you to tilt the display beyond a 95 degree angle. The gap is so close that the two devices will touch each other at a 96 degree angle. Unacceptable to say the least. It should be noted that this issue isn't as severe when used with older generations of iMacs and Apple Displays, however we cannot verify how well exactly.

And we're left asking ourselves, did the people at OCDesk even test the OCDock with current iMacs? We think there's a disappointing negligence on OCDesk's part which is the fact that their product is basically obsolete due to a design change that has occurred right before the OCDock went up on Kickstarter. With that being said, the OCDock is being sold as compatible with all iMacs, and that's clearly false and our final rating certainly reflects this unfortunate outcome. If I'm honest, I now regret having raved about the OCDock as a must-have item for iMac users at the time of its Kickstarting career. 


And if that wasn't enough, the OCDock Mini uses no rubber back support or any sort of padding leaving only a bare aluminum surface to potentially scuff your iPhone up when it is inserted into the dock. The fit when docking is snug too which can cause more cosmetic damage. Unfortunately little if anything was done to ensure the iPhone and iPod touch will not get damaged when docking and undocking into the OCDock Mini.

Because the Lightning connector does not spring backwards and forwards, there's a lot of stress being put on it when docking and undocking the iPhone 5. Furthermore, should you tilt your display upwards, it'll hit your iPhone and ruin the connector. We've experienced this happen, and our OCDock is no longer functional. Furthermore, when docked the iPhone will tip slightly from side to side due to the poor Lightning connector design which does not have a proper even bottom support as a dock should have.


innovative thinking hindered by design

OCDesk's OCDock is one of the best minimalist space-saving dock ideas that we've come across, alas we have found it to be an epic and total failure at what it was intended for. I think the idea is great and the dock itself is brilliantly designed to be as minimalist as possible, but the OCDock simply does not bode well enough with the current iMacs. A dock that will restrict the way your iMac functions, has a weak Lightning connector assembly that is prone to stress and the omission of friction padding to prevent cosmetic damage to your devices make the OCDock Mini a bad product. For that reason the OCDock Mini is for the most part now an obsolete accessory that was never really designed well enough the way a proper dock should be.