iPadReviews

Satechi’s Aluminum Stand & Hub is great is if you’re using your iPad as a workstation

However, it doesn’t play nice with Apple’s Magic Keyboard

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.

Review overview

Functionality7.1
Portability10
Price8

The Pros

  • Adds lots of functionality to an iPad
  • compact and portable
  • also works with a

The Cons

  • Can’t use it with a Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard Folio attached to your iPad

summary

8.4How useful Satechi’s Aluminum Stand & Hub will be for you depends on your preferred methods for using the iPad. Evaluate your needs and the features of the stand/hub before making a purchasing decision.

the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.

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