Hands-on with Satechi's USB-C Mobile Pro Hub

Satechi USB-C Mobile Pro Hub. Image via Satechi.

Satechi USB-C Mobile Pro Hub. Image via Satechi.

With last fall’s release of the USB-C-equipped iPad Pro models, it’s been important to find out exactly which USB-C hubs on the market work well with those iPad Pros…and which don’t. I’ve used several that have had issues when connected to my iPad Pro, but fortunately that’s not the case with Satechi’s $59.99 USB-C Mobile Pro Hub. Today we’ll take a look at the device, the features it offers, and how it works with Apple’s latest iPad Pro models.

Design

I like the Satechi USB-C Mobile Pro Hub for a number of reasons, especially the small size of the device (1 x 3.25 x .38 inches / 2.54 x 8.26 x .97cm). It’s tiny and lightweight (0.8 oz / 22.7gm), and comes in two colors — silver and space gray — in order to match the finishes on the iPad Pros.

Most of the other USB-C hubs I’ve tested have a similar “dongle” design. In other words, the actual electronics in the device are in a metallic casing that is separated from the iPad Pro by a short cable. In contrast, the Satechi USB-C Mobile Pro Hub has a male USB-C port on one side that plugs directly into the iPad Pro. When attached, the small aluminum hub almost looks like an extension of the Apple device.

Unlike some of the other dongle-type hubs, Satechi’s hub doesn’t try to “do it all”. Instead, it has one USB-C PD port for passing through power from an AC adapter to the iPad Pro, one USB-A port (USB 3.0 compatible), an HDMI port for connectivity with a monitor or projector (2K 60Hz or 4K 30Hz) and something I had been missing on other hubs — an audio port.

Sure, it’s missing an SD card reader and no, it doesn’t have an Ethernet port. But for most purposes, I find that what I need when I’m on the road is exactly what I’m getting with the USB-C Mobile Pro Hub.

Function

Using the hub is as simple as just plugging it into the USB-C port on the iPad Pro. To charge the iPad Pro while the hub is attached, you simply plug the USB-C charging cable into the USB-C PD port on the hub. While I’ve had issues with other USB-C hubs when trying to use a USB microphone and headphones (I had to plug the headphones into the mic’s output jack), the direct connection to the headphones worked beautifully.

Satechi USB-C Mobile Pro Hub. Photo ©2019, Steven Sande

Satechi USB-C Mobile Pro Hub. Photo ©2019, Steven Sande

Note that while Satechi says that the USB-C Mobile Pro Hub “isn’t compatible with cases”, if you’re using the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio for either the 11-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, you’ll be fine as they do not cover the USB-C port.

The Bottom Line

I’m very happy with the Satechi USB-C Mobile Pro Hub and have no qualms about leaving it plugged into the USB-C port on my iPad Pro most of the time. It’s a bit more expensive than some of the other hubs we’ve tested from Choetech and other manufacturers, but the small size and excellent finish more than make up for the slightly higher price. Satechi provides buyers with a 1-year warranty as well.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★