Review

Satechi Aluminum Stand & Hub review: Transform iPad Pro into a mini workstation

3.0
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The Satechi Aluminum Stand & Hub combines a compact stand with a handful of ports to achieve a minimalist iPad Pro desk setup.

The iPad can be transformed into a desktop workstation with a single cable connection — you just need the right hub. Satechi's Aluminum Stand & Hub has six ports and a weighted stand that can be folded into a small-ish rectangle for storage.

Since this hub operates with a USB-C connector, it can technically be used with any computer that has the port. The integrated cable will easily reach the iPad Air or iPad Pro ports, but when used with other computers, you'll likely keep the stand folded away.

Satechi Aluminum Stand & Hub design

The stand is almost entirely aluminum and has protective rubber feet on the bottom. It has a plastic interior where the integrated cable is stored.

The stand portion of the hub is attached to a hinge that unfolds to an open position. Once open, the cable can be freed from its storage to be connected to whatever device is in use.

There are six ports available:

  • 4K HDMI up to 60Hz
  • USB-A up to 5Gbps/no charging
  • USB-C 60W power-in port
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Micro/SD card readers
There are six ports on this Satechi hub
There are six ports on this Satechi hub

The overall dimensions are 5.1 inches by 4.2 inches by 0.9 inches, and it weighs 10 ounces. While not heavy, it is bulky for the functionality offered.

Using the Stand & Hub

We set up the hub with an iPad Pro connected to an external 4K monitor, an SSD via USB-A, a set of wired headphones, and an SD card. Everything connected fine and functioned as expected.

Given the size of the hub, we'd have expected at least one or two more ports. Unfortunately, the single USB-A port doesn't offer much versatility and can't even provide power to a connected accessory.

We settled on using a keyboard and mouse via Bluetooth since no additional ports are available to hard-wire them.

Since this is a stand, it offers no advantage to those using a keyboard case like the Magic Keyboard. You can still use a keyboard case with the hub connected, but it is overkill given the size of the hub when folded up — a smaller, more versatile hub could be used in its place.

The smaller Satechi hub has more USB-A ports in a tiny package
The smaller Satechi hub has more USB-A ports in a tiny package

As a permanent desktop fixture, the hub offered a great way to get the iPad into work mode with a single cable. Within seconds we could get images from our camera's SD card onto an external monitor for editing without much fuss.

Of course, the hub can be used without a mouse and keyboard. However, we feel this limits the usefulness of the "desktop workstation" aspect and doesn't offer much advantage to Apple Pencil users.

In addition, the angle isn't great for serious artwork and is only useful for annotations or minor photo editing.

Set up a minimalist desktop setup using Satechi's Stand & Hub
Set up a minimalist desktop setup using Satechi's Stand & Hub

However, the advertised "grab and go" nature of the stand is harder to understand. Satechi says the folding design allows for the stand to be used anywhere a workstation is needed.

This philosophy would make sense if this were a standard hub or had more ports, but it lacks the functionality to be a helpful portable hub. Our impression is that the hub would benefit from being treated as a more stationary and less portable hub with more ports.

Otherwise, this hub doesn't cut it for portability. So unless you lug along all the cables and accessories needed to make the iPad work wherever you are, you're left with just an aluminum charging stand.

Should you buy the Satechi Aluminum Stand & Hub?

For new iPad users looking to create a desktop workstation, this Satechi hub is a good first step. The available ports and single-cable connection make this a valuable tool for those dipping their toe into iPad productivity.

However, iPad Pro users with several accessories or a Magic Keyboard may find the Stand & Hub limiting. The lack of ports and minimal use as a portable dock leaves us wanting.

Customers like this may need to look elsewhere for better options.

The price makes this purchase more palatable if it's being used regularly. For example, new iPad users could buy this hub, a mechanical keyboard, and a Magic Trackpad with money left over versus a Magic Keyboard.

The Satechi Stand & Hub is quite large despite being advertised as portable
The Satechi Stand & Hub is quite large despite being advertised as portable

Functionally, the Stand & Hub works great. Connections are solid, and the iPad charges at a fast 60W. Customers will have to determine the hub's usefulness on a case-by-case basis.

Pros

  • Integrated hub reduces clutter
  • Useful ports for a simple desk setup
  • Folding design good for transport

Cons

  • Too few ports considering size
  • Travel-ready without being useful for travel
  • No power to USB-A port

Rating: 3 out of 5

Where to buy the Satechi Aluminum Stand & Hub

The Aluminum Stand & Hub is available on Satechi's website for $99.99.