Apple has included USB-C port in the iPad Pro models to connect them with the external accessories. You can use the USB-C docking station to connect multiple accessories to iPad Pro and use them simultaneously.
USB-C ports are similar to Apple’s proprietary Lightning ports. However, due to their universal nature and protocols, they can now be supported by any USB-C compatible cable or device. Got a laptop with a type C port? Simply plug the iPad in and you are good to go for charging the device. No need to mention how much hassle it saves.
USB-C ports, unlike conventional Type-A ports, have symmetric jack design. This means you don’t have to curse and flip the port if you get the wrong end while connecting the USB to the device. Not to mention, USB-C offers greater speed on USB 3.1 protocol, reaching up to 10Gbps.
Best Docking Stations For iPad Pro
This new update comes with technical issues. Like the missing headphone jack. You can hear almost all the music lovers lamenting. So you have to either use the Bluetooth headphones with your iPad or go for USB-C headphones.
Apple’s MacBook USB-C ports are Thunderbolt protocol supported while iPad Pro supports USB-C 3.1 Gen 2. This means many Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C devices like LG 5K UltraFine display are rendered useless with iPad.
One of the best solution to connect multiple devices is docking stations for iPad Pro. Such a hub would enable multiple device connections to an iPad, just like that on a laptop or desktop.
iPad’s popularity makes it obvious that there will be a few dedicated docking stations for iPad Pro with time. Here are a few dedicated docking stations for iPad Pro you might be interested in.
Stouchi: Invisible Type-C Docking Station
This dock comes with four basic functional ports; HDMI, USB-C 3.0 PD charging port, a USB type-A 3.0 with max 5Gbps speed, and a 3.5mm standard headphone jack. The hub looks small and fits over the side of the iPad. With the connectivity served by a type C connector, this one is a highly iPad specialized dock.
The 4K HDMI at 30Hz allows for seamless video streaming and stunning graphics to the external displays for iPad Pro. The USB Type-A 3.0 port allows connection with an older USB port using peripherals like USB keyboards- no need for extra drivers. It also restores your headphone connection.
If you have another USB-C type device, plug it to your iPad using the USB-C port for power delivery purposes. The device makers boast of intact full speeds at each port even when all the ports are occupied.
The only downside is perhaps the protocol itself- the USB-A supports USB 3.0, works at much slower speeds than the newer USB 3.1 protocols. While they are backward compatible and can be ideally used by your iPad, they won’t give you optimum results. On the brighter side, they are economical.
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UtechSmart USB-C Docking Station
UtechSmart is one of the best docking stations for iPad Pro which can support up to 3 different display connection.
It also provides 4 additional USB slots which can open up options for many accessories along with SD Card readers. The two HDMI port supports 4k resolution up to 3840×2160@30Hz or if you are connecting three display, you will get 1920×1080@60Hz.
The docking station comes with 2 HDMi ports and 1 VGA port which can connect three additional displays. It also support the USB-C charging Port supported by Power Delivery 3.0 protection. This also protects the devices from over charging and provide charge up to 87W.
UtechSmart USB-C Hub can be easily carried with the pouch included in the pack. This will make it one of the easy to carry USB docking station for iPad Pro.
HyperDrive Docking Station By Hyper
This is perhaps the best out of all the USB-C alternatives. It is the only docking station for iPad Pro 2018 that can bring out the maximum potential with current technology.
How do you ask? Take a look at the specifications first. Its HDMI port supports 4K@30Hz or 2K@60Hz. This implies you can also get 1080p at 60fps. While this doesn’t use the iPad’s capability of 5K@60Hz display output, it’s close.
It also has a USB-C 3.1 Gen1 data and PD (power delivery or charging) port. This means data speeds at almost 5Gbps and PD at 60W max. There are SD and micro SD ports too, UHS-I 104Mbps supported.
For compatibility with USB-A type devices and peripherals, there’s a USB-A 3.1 Gen1 data port. And of course, one cannot forget the 16-bit 3.5mm I/O audio jack. The connector input is of course iPad specific USB-C Gen2, supporting fast speeds of 10Gbps.
Hyperdrive also solves the problem of any hub connected to an iPad showing up as an audio device. Instead, this dongle only routes audio through the hub when headphones are attached.
By far, it’s the handiest out of all docking stations for iPad Pro so far. Unfortunately, you will have a shell over quite a few bucks to pledge for the project and get it shipped to your place.
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OWC USB-C Dock: The Ultimate Port Combo
So far, we have seen 4 port and 6 port dongles. Here’s a mega treat- a 10 port USB-C docking station for iPad pro. The input is the same as the two above- USB-C 3.1 (although it’s Gen1 this time). But OWC attempts a middle ground between the HyperDrive and Satechi by increasing the cost-effectiveness and utilizable ports.
There’s a display of 4K@30Hz and 1 Type-C 3.1 Gen1 port. Additionally, there are 2 of Type-A 3.1 data and 60W PD ports each.
The micro SD slot of HyperDrive has been replaced by the Gigabit Ethernet connector. That doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice though. The usual SD card slot is still present but supports UHS-I at 70Mbps. The all-important 3.5mm I/O audio jack is there too.
The OWC dongle can be your go-to option if HyperDrive features attract you, but the price limits you. While not as amazing as HyperDrive with its device functionality, it’s plenty affordable.
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USB-C Docking Station For iPad Pro By RREAKA
This is another docking station for iPad Pro which adds multiple ports to your iPad configuration. You get 4K HDMI port, USB 3.0, SD Card reader, USB-C Data Port for Headphones, USB-C PD Port and 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Like other docking stations, the HDMI port is limited to 4K @ 30Hz or 1080p@60Hz. With the 7 different ports at your disposal, you can connect almost any accessories to this hub.
This docking station comes with two USB-C ports, one for data and one for PD. So you can use the USB-C accessories like a camera or headphones while charging your iPad Pro.
The docking station is compatible with the Apple Smart Folio accessories and will not hamper the Apple Pencil charging capability. Use the attachment grip provided with the hub to attach it securely with iPad Pro.
The new iPad Pro is a hot topic among Apple lovers now. USB-C upgrade was the right step towards universal compatibility. But like everything in this wretched world, it has its catches.
The market will need time to introduce docking stations that can fully tap into the iPad’s Pro full potentials. Till then, consider the options mentioned above that can keep you content, if not bring full satisfaction.
Also, you may never know if the next version of the iPad Pro will bring the thunderbolt support and opens up a new set of options for the users.