Seidio Thunderbolt Desktop Charging Cradle front viewWaiting for that multimedia dock that was supposed to launch for the HTC Thunderbolt? So was I. But with no release date in sight I cancelled my order and grabbed the Seidio Thunderbolt Charging Dock cradle instead.

This charging dock fits my HTC Thunderbolt with Seidio ACTIVE Extended Case like … well like it was made for it! It fits the Active and Surface cases, but not the Convert cases for the Thunderbolt. I don’t know why more mobile accessory manufacturers don’t do this — pairing a case with a charging dock makes perfect sense. The customer doesn’t have to worry about whether the phone and case will fit in the charging dock because they were made to work together.

From the manufacturer’s site:

Sync and charge your HTC ThunderBolt without the hassle of removing your SURFACE™, SURFACE™ Extended, ACTIVE™, or ACTIVE™ Extended case with our included cable.

The charging dock comes with a plastic insert that holds the Thunderbolt securely in place when the case is off, whether the stock battery or the extended battery is in use. Remove the plastic insert from the charging dock and the Thunderbolt fits snugly in the cradle with its Seidio ACTIVE case on, again whether the stock or extended battery is in use. Four case/battery configurations, one charging cradle. Very smart.

Seidio Thunderbolt Desktop Charging Cradle alternate views

Aesthetically, this charging dock is functional but not sexy. It’s your basic rectangle with rounded corners and an indentation to hold your phone in landscape mode. The OEM charging dock I had for my BlackBerry Storm 2 was sexy: smooth and sculpted metallic pewter and black. That said, it’s a charging dock and both perform their core charging functions equally well despite the aesthetic differences. The only design plus for this charger is that the surface of the Seidio Thunderbolt Desktop Charging Cradle is silky smooth like the exoskeleton on the ACTIVE case, a subtle reminder that they belong together.

The Seidio Thunderbolt Desktop Charging Cradle doesn’t have any ports for audio or video on the rear, just a micro USB connection to connect to the power source. The USB connector is a bit wiggly side to side, but I haven’t had any connection issues. Since the cradle just sits by my bedside the micro USB in connector doesn’t need to stand up to any frequent plugging/unplugging or strenuous portable use. The charging dock comes in two flavors: with micro USB cable included for $30 or with a full power supply for $40. It’s nice to have the choice.

Strangely, there’s a green LED that lights when the unit is plugged in, on the rear next to the USB connector. I suppose this was meant to reassure you that power is flowing, though the fact that my screen turns on and the phone’s orange charging LED lights up is really all the confirmation I need. It’s not a big deal, just seems wasteful.

If you’re looking for a quick shipping multimedia dock, this isn’t it. But if you want a sturdy dock to charge your HTC Thunderbolt with or without its case and extended battery, the Seidio Thunderbolt Desktop Charging Cradle will meet your needs nicely.

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