Satechi Aluminum Stand & Hub test: turn the iPad Pro into a mini workstation

The Satechi aluminum bracket and hub combines a compact bracket with a handle of ports to achieve a minimalist design iPad Pro desktop configuration.

The iPad can be transformed into an office workstation with just one cable connection – you just need the right hub. Satechi’s aluminum bracket and hub have six ports and a weighted bracket that can be folded into a small rectangle for storage.

Since this hub works 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 will likely keep the stand folded.

Satechi aluminum bracket and hub design

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

The hub support portion is attached to a hinge that unfolds to the open position. Once opened, the cable can be released from its storage to be connected to any device in use.

There are six ports available:

  • HDMI 4K up to 60Hz
  • USB-A up to 5 Gb / s / no load
  • 60W USB-C power 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 weigh 10 ounces. Although it is not heavy, it is bulky for the features offered.

Using the cradle and hub

We configured the hub with an iPad Pro connected to an external 4K monitor, SSD via USB-A, wired headphones, and an SD card. Everything connected well and worked as expected.

Considering the size of the hub, we would have expected at least one or two additional ports. Unfortunately, the single USB-A port doesn’t offer a lot of versatility and can’t even power a connected accessory.

We opted to use a keyboard and mouse via Bluetooth as no additional port is available to wire them.

Since this is a stand, it offers no benefit to those who use a keyboard case like the Magic keyboard. You can still use a keyboard case with the hub connected, but that’s overkill given the size of the hub when folded up – a smaller, more versatile hub could be used instead.

Smaller Satechi hub has more USB-A ports in a small box

Smaller Satechi hub has more USB-A ports in a small box

As a permanent desktop accessory, the hub provided a great way to put the iPad into work mode with just one cable. Within seconds, we could get images from our camera’s SD card to an external monitor for editing without much hassle.

Of course, the hub can be used without a mouse or keyboard. However, we believe that this limits the usefulness of the “desktop” aspect and does not offer much benefit to Apple Pencil users.

Also, the angle is not ideal for serious artwork and is only useful for annotations or minor photo editing.

Set up a minimalist desktop setup using Stand & Hub

Configure a minimalist desktop setup using Satechi’s Stand & Hub

However, the advertised nature of the “take out and take out” stand is more difficult to understand. Satechi says the folding design allows the stand to be used anywhere a workstation is needed.

This philosophy would make sense if it were a standard hub or if it had more ports, but it lacks the functionality to be a useful 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 are carrying all the cables and accessories necessary to keep the iPad working wherever you are, you are left with just an aluminum charging stand.

Should you buy the Satechi aluminum bracket and hub?

For new iPad users looking to create a desktop workstation, this Satechi hub is a good first step. The available ports and unique cable connection make it a valuable tool for those new to iPad productivity.

However, iPad Pro users with multiple accessories or a magic keyboard may find the Stand & Hub limitation. The lack of ports and minimal use as a portable dock leaves us to be desired.

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

The price makes this purchase more acceptable if used regularly. For example, new iPad users could buy this hub, a mechanical keyboard, and a Magic Trackpad with money left over from a Magic Keyboard.

The Satechi stand & The hub is quite large although it is advertised as portable

The Satechi Stand & Hub is quite large although it is advertised as portable

Functionally, the Stand & Hub works very well. The connections are solid and the iPad charges quickly at 60 W. Customers will need to determine the hub’s usefulness on a case-by-case basis.

  • Integrated hub reduces bulk
  • Useful ports for simple desktop setup
  • Folding design good for transport
  • Too few ports considering the size
  • Ready for the trip without being useful for the trip
  • No power at USB-A port

Rating: 3 out of 5

Where to buy the Satechi aluminum bracket and hub

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

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