I’ve recently had the opportunity to reduce my material possessions to no more than can be carried in eight suitcases. This was quite a liberating experience. Particularly when you take into account that those eight suitcases were for my entire family – only two contained my stuff.
One of the fun parts of going through this experience is that we get to buy some essentials. Once all the boring stuff (like furniture) is out of the way I got to concentrate on replacing a few tech items. The idea being to create an area at home from which I can work remotely whilst remaining highly productive. First on the list was a more powerful, yet highly portable laptop, and a keyboard and cheap wide screen monitor to go with it.
This gave me the essentials but there were two minor flaws in the setup.
- The laptop only had three USB ports (not uncommon for laptops). Obviously this isn’t going to be enough even at this early stage – keyboard, mouse, phone, external hard drive. (Luckily the printer is on the network).
- My aging Sony Cybershot DSC-V1 uses the standard sized (old) memory stick format which doesn’t fit in the card reader on the Z-Series laptop. This means yet another device to connect via USB.
Enter the Desk Genie the perfect accessory for my HTC Touch Diamond2. This little gadget is designed to meet three simple objectives.
- Act as a multi-format card reader
- Act as a USB hub and power charger
- Provide a platform on which to mount portable devices so they are easily visible when sat at a desk.
What’s in the box? Comes with plenty of charger connections – the only two of interest for me were the mini and micro-USB.
I’ve had this item for almost a week now, and I’ve tried it out both at work and at home. Here’s my thoughts.
- It works well as phone holder. The “sticky” surface does exactly what it says – hold the phone firmly in place without having pesky catches, clips, Velcro etc. The viewing angle worked well for the desk and chair heights that I use both at home and work.
- Charger worked fine for charging my HTC Touch Diamond, though had trouble with the Blackberry (see below).
- As a USB hub it works flawlessly (as you’d hope). I’ve had my 1.5 Tb external drives connected through this and copied large volumes of data without any issues.
- Has a very muted blue “glow” indicator to let you know its connected.
- An extra USB outlet would have been nice.
- The memory stick reader isn’t a perfect fit. I had to insert the memory stick on a slight angle – was a bit of a knack getting the hang of it but once you worked it out wasn’t a big deal. I’ve had the same problem with other multi-card readers (like the one in my Zalman HD160 HTPC case).
- When connecting my Blackberry via the power charger (with the included micro-USB adapter) it didn’t work. Not sure what the problem was – maybe not enough “juice”? Connected via one of the USB ports and everything was fine – connectivity and charging.
My favourite configuration for this device was to provide both charging and connectivity for my phone by using one of the USB ports rather than using the charging cable. Whilst this does mean I lose one of the two USB ports I like having the device connected for ActiveSync and for copying across podcasts.
The number one feature of this gadget for me though is that it holds the phone at a perfect viewing angle whilst connected. I would have loved one of these at my previous work desk where I would continuously have to pick the phone up to look at whether I’d missed a phone call, email or text whilst away from my desk. If that’s what you really care about then
I’m pretty happy with this gadget – it does what it says and for me it happened to come along at a time when I needed the USB and memory card features. Now all I have to do is figure out whether I keep it on the desk at home, or the one at work?
Thanks to Natalie from mobilefun.co.uk who was kind enough to send me a Desk Genie to review.