Arguably, there are more iPod accessories on the market today than just about anything else -- possibly even more than iPods themselves. That's certainly the case with docking solutions, which run the gamut from models that work with specific manufacturer's speakers, through Apple's own universal dock and even encompassing slightly more off-the-wall solutions like the iPort. Well, except that the iPort is an in-the-wall solution, but you know what we mean. Gear4's ProControl dock takes the line of mimicking the Apple Universal Dock fairly closely -- it's a charging/synching/AV dock for use with all iPod models.
The dock part of the ProControl is decked out in white, proving either that there's little imagination in the eyes of most iPod product designers or that people like things that already look like iPods. Given the sales reach of the iPod, probably the latter. The top of the ProControl houses the docking mechanism, and like the Gear4 HouseParty II, adaptors are provided to more snugly fit your iPod into the dock itself. A light on the front indicates charging activity, while ports on the rear of the unit let you connect up to power via the provided AC adaptor, as well as out to AV and USB connections for listening/viewing and synchronisation respectively.
The ProControl ships with a credit-card sized remote control, although it's significantly thicker, and almost the same size as the top of the ProControl dock itself. The remote allows you to power up the ProControl and manage playback controls, including the use of playlists without touching the iPod itself.
The AV cable that ships with the ProControl terminates in two stereo RCA plugs and a single composite RCA connector for hooking up your iPod to your home theatre, or any other compatible audio output solution for that matter.
There's not much that a dock can do wrong, aside from simply not working, and in our tests the ProControl worked well as a bridge between the iPod and multiple home audio solutions, as well as charging and synchronising the iPod as needed. The only caveat here is that the USB connector on the rear of the ProControl is of the larger "B" type -- that's the square USB plug common in things like printers, but critically, it's not the type of plug connector used with iPod cables. If you're looking for a synchronising solution for your iPod as well, you'll need to factor in a few more dollars for a compatible cable.
There's certainly no shortage of docks on the market, and while the ProControl isn't truly exceptional, it does outdo the official Apple dock at least in the fact that pretty much all the required cables and connectors are in the box at an asking price that works well when you consider everything on offer.