Griffin Simplifi Charge/Sync Dock for iPhone/iPod Review
By: Michael Phrakaysone


Any company that is creating accessories for the highly intense iPod market, in my opinion, is a smart company.  Thus, Griffin is one of those smart companies.  However, not all companies out there make the same quality product; some are obviously better than others. 

Today I am going to review one of those useful accessories that not only allows your iPod Touch/iPhone to be docked on the computer, but also manages to squeeze in a media card reader and a USB hub to make things a little more simplified and de-cluttered.  We'll take a look at our first Griffin product and advise you if it's worth your hard earned money.

About Griffin Technology

"Griffin Technology began designing and manufacturing technical solutions with an innovative flair in 1992. We’ve since grown to become one of the largest providers of accessories for personal computing and digital media.

We ask ourselves: What would you like to do with your computer, your TV, your stereo system, your MP3 players, your musical instruments... the technology that enhances your life?
Our approach has given birth to some of the best known accessories in the digital entertainment and personal computer markets, including the iTrip family of FM transmitters and the groundbreaking Evolve Wireless Sound System.

Today, Griffin designs, manufactures and delivers useful and fun solutions for digital entertainment and personal computing to people in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, through major retailers and online."

Griffin Simplifi Product Overview

De-clutter the top of your desk and simplify your digital life with Simplifi ... one compact unit that handles your iPhone, iPod, USB connections, and all kinds of media cards.

Simplifi charges USB-rechargeable iPod models as they sync with your computer through the included USB mini cable. Use Simplifi's USB ports to plug in keyboards, printers, cameras, flash drives, scanners, external hard drives, anything USB 2.0-compatible. Simplifi ships with an AC adapter for those USB devices that need a powered port.

Griffin Simplifi Product Features

  • Charge/sync dock for iPhone and iPod
  • Anodized aluminum
  • Reads and writes the most popular digital media cards, including Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD, SDHC, xD and CF (CompactFlash).
  • 2-port powered USB hub, using included AC adapter
  • A simple, versatile way to de-clutter your desktop
  • Product compatibility: iPhone 3G/3GS, Original iPhone, 2nd gen. iPod Touch, 1st gen. iPod Touch, 5th gen. iPod Nano, 4th gen. iPod Nano, iPod Classic (2007), iPod Classic, iPod with video, 3rd gen. iPod Nano, 2nd gen. iPod Nano, 2nd gen. iPod shuffle, 1st gen. iPod shuffle

First Impressions

The Griffin Simplifi comes in an elegant looking corrugated packaging with an image of the product up front and product features and information all around the box. 

Griffin Technology

Purchasing the $69.99 Simplifi, you will be presented with the following items...

  • Simplifi Dock/Hub/Reader
  • USB mini-B cable
  • 6 Dock inserts for different iPod & iPhone types
  • AC Power Supply
  • User Guide

Griffin includes a simple, easy to read and decipher User Guide and honestly I cannot say anything negative about it.  I love that the people who wrote the guide provide many pictures and go through every single little thing about the device.

The first time you glance at the Griffin Simplifi, you immediately notice the anodized aluminum exterior; it looks so pleasant and makes the product look and feel expensive.  The anodized aluminum exterior really allows the Simplifi to unify with existing Mac products such as the Macbook Pro, which too has an aluminum unibody.

Let us look at the Simplifi for a minute.  The front fascia is made out of white colored plastic and from the left to right we have the media card reader which, allows you to input a wide variety of cards including Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD, SDHC, xD and CompactFlash.  So basically with this docking station, it'll replace whatever existing card reader you are using and make things streamlined.

Coming to the rear of the Simplifi, we can see two USB2.0 ports on the left and the 5v DC power connector and mini-B USB connection that you'll connect to your computer for use of the card reader and USB hub functions.

Looking at the top, we see the standardized iPod connector and the ability to swap out dock inserts for six different iPod line offerings making the Simplifi pretty much the only docking station you'll ever need.

Lastly we come to the bottom of the unit in which features a thick padded rubber.  This rubber does a great job at preventing slippage of the device on any type of surface.  I have the Simplifi on top my speaker setup and it is very sticky.

How well does it perform?

Overall, I find the Griffin Simplifi to do a wonderful job at everything I've thrown at it.  I love the fact that when I need to transfer photos using the media card reader, I can do it through the Simplifi and not have to bring out and connect my separate card reader device to do so.  The Griffin Simplifi really does help streamline everything and prevents clutter.  I don't need to connect my Touch separate from my card reader, nor do I have to bend down and connect my USB drive to the back of my computer anymore because the Simplifi allows me to do all of this in one device; at the top of my computer speaker.

Performance of the card reader and USB hub is virtually identical to what you would expect with any other USB2.0 device.  I've found it to perform as fast as any other USB2.0 card reader, my USB drive performance stays the same, everything is great and limited to USB2.0 specifications in terms of speed.  I have no problems filling up the USB hub at the back, nor does it complain that I've used up too much juice from the USB ports.

But the Simplifi isn't without issues.  The only gripe I have with the Simplifi is that I cannot dock my iPod Touch on the device with the OtterBox Defender case on the iPod.  The docking station just doesn't provide enough room to do so.  However, if you have a slim silicone case or vinyl case for your iPod that fits snugly, it'll mount to the dock with no problems.

I've used and abused the Griffin Simplifi for about 7 months now and I can vouch for the strength and durability of the unit.  Sure it may have some minor scuffs on the aluminum body, but it still works without a hitch and the aluminum body still is holding up very well.


I very much like the Griffin Simplifi and can wholeheartedly recommend it to any iPod owners looking for a functional docking station that offers a USB hub and card reader functionality.  About the only problem with the Simplifi isn't with the device itself, but some thicker iPod cases cannot mount to it.  That and the included USB cable is a little too short for my liking.  That's not really a big problem though.

For $69.99US from Griffin's own website, I would say that is a little pricey (considering it does not have other abilities like audio/video out) but if it were to go on sale, I recommend that you at least pick one up or consider picking it up.  It has served me well and I'm sure it'll do the same for you.

Pros and Cons

  • + Anodized aluminum body looks fantastic
  • + Design philosophy is in unison with other Mac products
  • + Media card reader is useful and functional with even SDHC cards
  • + 2 USB ports is also useful
  • + Six different dock inserts make it compatible with many different iPod lines
  • + Rubber insert on the bottom is sticky
  • - Pricey
  • - Can't mount some thicker iPod cases to the dock
  • - Doesn't have any audio/video features



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