Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few years, you may have noticed the gradual takeover of USB Type-C devices. More and more laptops are being released with only USB-C ports as well as smartphones and now tablets. One prime example of this is the new Apple iPad Pro that only includes 1 x USB Type-C port and nothing else. Smartphones too are arriving like this which means they also no longer have audio jacks as well. This ends up being a problem for many because they have a lot of legacy devices they still want to use. A really simple solution to this is to use a hub like the new Satechi USB Type-C Mobile Pro Hub, made especially for the new iPad Pro.
For starters, the Satechi USB Type-C Mobile Pro Hub is pretty slick looking. It’s mainly made of aluminum and the silver color will match any silver colored aluminum device. There is black plastic on the back of the device, but that’s not seen at all once you plug this into a device. On the front, you’ll find four ports. In order, they are the audio jack, HDMI port, USB Type-A, and a USB Type-C port. When plugged in, a blue LED lights up on the front that also lights up the ports. For the most part, it’s very well made. It has a very nice finish to it and feels nice and solid.
When used on the new iPad Pro, the Satechi USB Type-C Mobile Pro Hub offers many notable benefits. Obviously, you get an audio jack back as the new iPad Pro doesn’t have this anymore. You also get a USB Type-C charging pass through so you can still charge while using these new ports. The HDMI port allows you to mirror your screen to an external monitor while the USB Type-A port allows for various accessories to be used. Missing however is a Lightning port for those who might want to use older Lightning chargers or accessories. Aside from this, the new Satechi USB Type-C Mobile Pro Hub works very nicely on the new iPad Pro and matches the aesthetic look quite nicely.
Now there are a couple downsides to this hub. For starters, it sits pretty flush with almost anything you use it on, so if you are running some kind of case, chances are that this isn’t going to fit unless you take the case off. This was the case with my buddies iPad Pro as well as all my Android smartphones. I know some people like running cases too on their laptops, so take that into consideration as well. Also, since a USB-C plug is pretty small, the hub can wobble a bit and if you’re not careful, you could probably twist it off and break it.
There are also some connection issues when you try this on other devices other than the new iPad Pro. It’s kind of a hit or miss with other types of devices. For instance, some features such as the USB Type-A port, and the USB Type-C charging port work, but the audio port and the HDMI port may not when plugged into a smartphone. Some factors that can affect HDMI output seem to be the type of smartphone (if it’s supported) and the type of display you’re using it on. I tried with an HTC U12+ and a LG V30 and they both worked on one monitor but not on another of a different type. Also my LG V40 doesn’t work at all saying “Displayport not supported for output”. And in case you’re wondering, only the USB Type-S port works for wired controllers and the USB Type-C for charging.
It should also work for the following, though I have not tested:
- Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus/S9, 8 Plus/8, Note 9/8
- Microsoft Surface Go, Surface Book 2
- Google Pixel 3 XL/3, LG V30
- Huawei Mate 20
- Microsoft Lumia 950 XL/950
While far from perfect, as a perfect USB-C mobile hub would be one that works with every USB Type-C device, Satechi USB Type-C Mobile Pro Hub is perfect for those who own the new iPad Pro and need to not only charge, but also have access to an audio jack, HDMI port, and USB Type-A port at the same time for accessories. It essentially allows for the iPad Pro to be more in line with a laptop replacement, like it’s been touted to be. It’s slim, light-weight, and doesn’t really get in the way. The only real downside is that if you’re running a case of some sort that covers the charging port area, it might not exactly fit correctly, so definitely keep that in mind. On that note, anyone with a new iPad Pro should really consider the Satechi USB Type-C Mobile Pro Hub