REVIEW – Last Christmas, I bought myself an 11inch iPad Pro which didn’t get any use until just recently when I started using it to watch AppleTV shows while walking on the treadmill (who else loved Ted Lasso and Mythic Quest?). Now I’m trying to find other ways to integrate the iPad Pro into my daily workflows and the new Kensington StudioDock is a great way to do that. Let’s check it out.
What is it?
The Kensington StudioDock is an all-in-one luxury accessory for the 11in and 12.9in iPad Pros as well as the iPad Air. It’s a stand, it’s a specially designed docking station with USB ports, an HDMI port, Ethernet port, SD card reader, wireless chargers, and more.
What’s in the box?
- Kensington StudioDock
- AC power brick
- 5 power cords (NA, AU, JP, UK, and EU)
- Quickstart guide
Design and features
When you first lift the StudioDock out of the box, you know that this isn’t your typical iPad docking station or iPad stand. The StudioDock is a hefty L-shaped aluminum stand that is heavy enough that it’s not sliding around on your desk no matter what.
The base has dual 5W wireless charging pads designed for your AirPods and iPhone, or other wireless charging devices. The pad is made of a grey tweed-like material that looks great and won’t scratch the back of your devices.
A charging status LED is located below each charging area and glows blue while charging and blinks red when a device is placed incorrectly on the pad or isn’t wireless charging compatible.
The back of the StudioDock is where you find most of the expansion ports along with some security ports.
On the “shoulders” of the base are Kensington security ports that are compatible with Kensington locks which are sold separately.
There is also a row of expansion ports. From left to right (in the image above) there is a 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet port, USB-A/USB 3.2 Gen 1/ 5 Gbps (5V/0.9A) ports, an HDMI 2.0 4K 60Hz port, and the power port for the included AC power brick.
On the left side of the StudioDock, you find a USB-C USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps (5V/3A, 9V/2.22A) port, and a power button. It’s not typical that a docking station has a power button, but I really like having the ability to turn off power if I just want to use the StudioDock as a stand without charging my iPad.
If you flip the dock around to the other side, you’ll find an USH-II SD 4.0 card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The iPad holder can pivot 0~120 degrees to easily customize the viewing angle.
It can also rotate from landscape to portrait orientation with minimal effort.
The holder has a built-in USB-C port that charges and helps hold the iPad in place along with a magnetic panel on the holder.
The outer edge of the USB-C port has a USB-A port so that you can attach the optional Apple Watch charger that will be offered separately later this year.
I tested the Kensington StudioDock with my 2020 11 inch iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, my iPhone 12 Pro Max, and Apple AirPods Pro. Charging all of these devices with only one power cord allowed me to clear the cable clutter off my desk.
What I like
- Heavy construction
- 3-year warranty
- Dual wireless chargers
- Ports, ports, and more ports!
What I’d change
- Lower the price a little
- Can’t be used with an iPad in a case
What can you do with all these ports? The better question might be what can’t you do with all these ports! The StudioDock puts all the ports and expansion features that you might need or what for your iPad right where you need it without a bunch of extra adapters, cables, chargers, and power cords cluttering up your desk and hogging all of your power outlets. The Kensington StudioDock effectively turns the iPad into a mini desktop computer with ports to add hard drives, mice, keyboards, and wireless chargers for your phone and AirPods. All of these features come with a price though. Starting out at $379.99, it will make your wallet wince in pain, but I suppose if you add up the price of a quality HDMI adapter, a USB hub, SD card reader, a stand with screen rotation, an iPad charger, and dual wireless chargers, you wouldn’t be too far from the price tag and the result wouldn’t be nearly as nice as the Kensington StudioDock. People who use an iPad Pro or iPad Air exclusively will love this stand and it makes me want to use my iPad Pro a lot more now that I have it.