What’s inside the $40 Nexus 7 dock? Apparently not much!

January 22, 2013

    Nexus-7-docking-station

    YouTube user PsychoRadler is one of the lucky ones who have managed to get their hands on the recently released Asus Nexus 7 dock, and in the interest of scientific curiosity he has uploaded a video of himself taking a peek at the inner workings of the docking station.

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that a $40 docking station, which allows you to play music and charge your device through just a mini-USB connection, would require some impressive electronics. But as it turns out, there’s probably only about $3 worth of passive components inside the whole thing.

    Although it’s pretty tough to make out exactly what’s on the PCB, the electronically savvy viewers will probably notice that all the dock does is split the audio and power signals from the tablet USB connection. There are no digital to analogue conversion chips or buffering circuits required. In fact the only real work done by the Asus engineers, that I can see, has been to add some filtering to the audio output and to make sure the whole circuit loads correctly, not exactly a lot of work for an experienced electronics engineer.

    Whilst those in the know wouldn’t expect much in the way of circuitry when the dock’s only features are a 3.5mm stereo jack and a mini-USB port for charging, the same might not be true for the general consumer. It’s interesting to see how much of a mark-up companies can get away with charging by selling relatively simplistic products to consumers who probably aren’t all that knowledgeable about, or even interested in circuitry.

    Of course it’s not all about circuits, there’s also the design and manufacturing materials to take into consideration when judging the dock’s value. As well as the obvious convenience of not having to build one yourself.

    Are you shocked? Appalled? Or do you think that $40 is still a fair price?

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    Comments

    • http://www.androidradar.de/ Leif

      Normal business I would say. Make the main product a few bucks cheaper and get it back with accessoires. Same with stuff for cameras, lens hoods, car extras and so on.

    • SolsticemanPA

      I’m not shocked at the price, but it is an unfair one.. when you can purchase the Nexus 7 at that price we have and then pay that price for a piece of plastic and simple electronic parts with a couple of bucks.

    • http://twitter.com/danmcsw danmcsw

      Are you sure that has a mini USB connector? When he held it up to the camera, I thought it looked more like a micro USB.

      • http://www.facebook.com/clem.kadiddlehopper.77 Clem Kadiddlehopper

        it’s micro

        • http://twitter.com/danmcsw danmcsw

          Yeah, I thought that would make more sense as the original charger cable is micro.

    • http://pallensplace.blogspot.com/ Paul Allen

      OK, we know the thing is mostly an empty box.
      BUT what if one you electronically savvy engineers was to think of it as a nicely shaped project box. What would it take to add a small amplifier an a couple speakers?

      • martmann

        OOOOOOOOO a couple of small FORWARD pointing speakers would be cool!

    • http://www.facebook.com/bhairavpardiwala Bhairav Pardiwala

      I think its fairly ok!

      I mean how many of us are DIY modders? (for hardware)

      i did try to fashion an aluminium lightweight stand for my nexus7 out of a window shutter track but the the thing just did not go well

      At times like these i feel like quoting stuff from ratatouille

      “The average piece of junk is probably more useful then the criticism designating it so”

      • Apple_Nexus

        +1 for quoting from Ratatouille!

    • okanagan

      It’s clearly well-made. Just count the number of screws!

    • http://yellowrex.com YellowRex

      It’s ridiculous, but they’re probably trying to make back the cost of the steel molds for the plastic and the designers’ and engineers’ time. All the up-front capital investment in producing a high-quality dock, you know? And this is for what’s supposed to be one of the more popular Android devices. Sigh.

    • http://twitter.com/puddnhead2 David Wilson

      I’m not so much shocked, as baffled. When I first heard there would be a dock I was mildly interested. I don’t see much point of a dock — and wondered how anyone would use it if they have a case, which is almost a necessity given the fragile glass on the N7 — but I kept an open mind. Then I saw it, and heard the price, egads. Even before seeing this article I thought to myself “who would buy a $40 do-almost-nothing dock for a $200 tablet?” This just reinforces that impression. You’d be a fool to buy this at this price. I suspect after all the fools have been parted from their money, the price will come down, quickly, and precipitously.

      • martmann

        I use my N7 dock to charge while I use the USB port for a Logitech unifying receiver (previously paired on a PC) with Logitech K360 & MX Anywhere mouse.
        It is an amazing setup for how I use it, so far I’m pretty happy with it.

    • http://pallensplace.blogspot.com/ Paul Allen

      One beef I have is that it would require me regularly remove my Nexus from its case to prop it on this charge/view stand. I know my case already has a prop stand feature but… a charge stand that is already hooked up to an amp speaker does sound nice. Cant have it all I guess.

      • http://www.facebook.com/clem.kadiddlehopper.77 Clem Kadiddlehopper

        A few cases ( the Noreve and the Bluerex Slim that I know of ) expose the bottom half of the Nexus when in “easel” mode. It looks very easy to drop it into the dock when in the case.

    • Henry Watts

      Guys, guys. Just be thankful Apple didn’t make this.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Piggly-Winks/100001191324174 Piggly Winks

        they already charged $30 for a simple cable for the new Thunderbolt cables.

    • dpm7

      You can buy an A2DP receiver for less, buy a packet of smokes with the change and make a stand by cutting a wedge out of the box…..beautiful

    • Bob

      Since when did the cost of anything have anything to do with the value of anything? Mona lisa probably cost about £3 to make, is that its value?

    • Kodak

      I have had my dock for a week now and it is permanently connected to the Nexus charger and my HI-Fi. I ordered it from Asus UK and it was shipped from Holland in 4 days at a total cost of £30.99. I agree that it is expensive for what it does, but it is so convenient to be able to just place the Nexus in the dock and it charges while I listen to internet radio through the Hi-Fi. Other docks are available on ebay at about half the price, but they only connect to the charger via the micro USB port, which is a bit fiddly and give no audio out without having to plug in a jack into the headphone socket, Half the price of the Nexus dock, but only half as good.
      I love the Nexus dock and wouldn’t be without it.

    • Kodak

      I have had my dock for a week now and it is permanently connected to the Nexus charger and my HI-Fi. I ordered it from Asus UK and it was shipped from Holland in 4 days at a total cost of £30.99. I agree that it is expensive for what it does, but it is so convenient to be able to just place the Nexus in the dock and it charges while I listen to internet radio through the Hi-Fi. Other docks are available on ebay at about half the price, but they only connect to the charger via the micro USB port which is a bit fiddly and no audio out without plugging in a jack plug into the headphone socket, Half the price of the Nexus dock, but only half as good. I love the Nexus dock and wouldn’t be without it.

    • jim ryan

      Actually, I have made a stand for mine from wood. But, I would like to add the electronics to my next one. Do you know if they can be found separately?

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