Satechi’s US$99.99 Aluminum Stand & Hub for iPad is a fantastic accessory for Apple’s tablet when you’re using it like a desktop computer. It’s less convenient if you, like me, use it as a laptop alternative.
Features of the Aluminum Stand & Hub
Admittedly, the Aluminum Stand & Hub is portable and foldable. It measures 5.1 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches and weighs just 10 ounces. The stand/hub features USB-C PD charging (up to 60W), 4K HDMI (60Hz), USB-A data, SD card readers, and an audio jack. (Note that the USB-A data port doesn’t support charging or CD readers, including the Apple SuperDrive). Additionally, the Aluminum Stand & Hub elevates your iPad Pro to a comfortable viewing angle.
There are several features you should be aware of. The USB-C port on the stand/hub only supports passthrough charging (@60W). This means it won’t support video, data transfer, or charging another peripheral. You should use the USB-A port on the hub/stand (5V-0.7A) for data transfer. You may also need to use a compatible Type-C to Type-A data cable or adapter.
Conveniently, you’ll still be able to utilize all ports on the stand even when the stand itself is closed. At least as long as the cable is still connected to your iPad.
This all sounds good, right? And, for some folks, it will be great. However, I use my 12.9-inch iPad Pro mainly as a “Mac companion” to do my Apple World Today chores while traveling. Which means the tablet is almost always connected to either a Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard Folio. I have to remove them to use it with Satechi’s product.
Issues with the Aluminum Stand & Hub
That said, if you use an external (Bluetooth) keyboard with your iPad, you may find the space grey Aluminum Stand & Hub indispensable. Also, the tablet should still fit on the hub with a case on — as long as the case/iPad combo isn’t thicker than 15mm.
But wait, there’s more
By the way, the hub can also be used with a MacBook that sports a Thunderbolt 3 port (2016-2020). However, if your laptop only has two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left side, you’ll need to rotate your laptop so that the ports are on the right side to allow the cable to reach one of these ports.