The Apple 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a powerful piece of technology. However, for the more demanding creative professional the iPad Pro can have its limitations. With its single USB-C port, the ability to connect to additional devices and accessories is fairly restrictive for Apple’s flagship pro tablet.
The Satechi USB-C Mobile Pro Hub is a small, cigarette lighter-sized accessory that opens the door to a world of productivity and efficiency that you always wanted the iPad Pro to have. The Mobile Pro Hub comes in a tidy and fairly discrete aluminium space grey coloured casing measuring just 8.4cm x 2.7cm x 1cm. You simply plug the USB-C connector into the bottom of your iPad Pro USB-C port and you now have four very useful audio, video and data video ports now available to you.
On the business end of the Mobile Pro Hub are four different ports that breathe new functionality for Apple’s Pro tablet. From left to right, the first is a 3.5mm audio headphone and microphone port. When the iPad Pro 11 and 12.9-inch released in 2018 Apple decided to remove the 3.5mm port, much to the frustration of audio fans and music creators. This decision from Apple forced iPad Pro users to use either a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones or a USB-C pair of wired headphones.
With the Satechi Mobile Pro Hub and its 3.5mm port, you can now reuse your beloved 3.5mm headphones and audio music creation devices with it once again. Both audio and microphone recording input is supported through this port, so if you’re using a dedicated microphone or headset, you use this now on the iPad Pro through this hub.
The second port on the hub is an HDMI port. This is a 4K 30Hz compatible audio and video port, which allows you to connect an HDMI cable from your iPad Pro to an HDTV display monitor or television. If you travel a lot, there are times where you may want to connect and display your movies that are on your iPad Pro on to a TV situated in a hotel or apartment. If you do keynote or presentations, the HDMI port also comes in handy to connect to an office display to cast slides or video from an iPad Pro to the display.
I tried the Mobile Pro Hub out with a number of video content and streaming apps including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Plex and YouTube. All didn’t have any issues casting each of their content through HDMI to my Samsung TV display. Some dongles do have issues with displaying copyrighted content over HDMI, yet I didn’t come across any of these issues with the Satechi Mobile Pro Hub.
The third port on the Mobile Pro Hub is a USB 3.0 port. This port is just as versatile as any USB 3.0 port on a desktop computer in what it can have connected to it. Using iOS 13 and above you can connect a USB memory stick that’s full of data or photos into it and access them on the iPad Pro via the Apple Files app. You can also transfer from the iPad Pro onto the same memory stick. You could also plug in a USB-A microphone for better audio capture and you could even plug in a wired keyboard into this port and use a wired keyboard with your iPad Pro.
The last port on the Mobile Pro Hub is a USB-C port featuring Power Delivery fast charging support. This port allows you to pass through up to 18W of power to the iPad. This can be from a mains wall plug, or a power bank if you’re on the move and do not have access to a mains power outlet. This port also allows the transfer of data too, so you are able to plug in a USB-C memory stick or hard drive with files on, and just like the USB-A port, have access to its content via the Apple Files app. I was able to transfer to and from my 32GB SanDisk flash drive and open files without any issues.
The Satechi Mobile Pro Hub retails for $59.99 on Amazon and £58.99 on Amazon UK. Considering that Apple’s near equivalent USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter costs $69.99, it comes only with three of the same ports, and it does not feature a 3.5mm audio port. The Satechi Mobile Pro Hub is priced well enough if you think you will be utilising all of the four ports available. It is nice to be able to charge and use the 3.5mm port for audio, whilst the USB-A port allows you to connect to a bunch of older devices, and the HDMI port opens the ability to share video content with others on a much bigger screen.
There is little not to like about the Satechi Mobile Pro Hub. The price may seem a little steep for anyone seeking only one of its four-port solutions, but the additional ports it comes with helps expand what’s possible on the iPad Pro, and I am sure there will come a day when you wish you had something that featured one of these ports. If you are a frequent traveller or simply looking for a lightweight and discrete way to expand on the Apple iPad Pro’s restrictive single USB-C port, then the Satechi Mobile Pro Hub certainly delivers in more ways than you can imagine.