Hands-On With Kensington's New $400 StudioDock for iPad Pro
Kensington in February began accepting pre-orders for the StudioDock docking station that it released for the iPad Pro, and now those StudioDock orders have started arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new StudioDocks to see if it's worth the high purchase price for an iPad workflow.
Available for the 11-inch iPad Pro, the 10.9-inch iPad Air, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the StudioDock has a magnetic base where an iPad can attach, and it can be used in either landscape or portrait mode. We have the version for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and it looks kind of like the Pro Display XDR stand.
This isn't an Apple-designed product so it's not quite as high quality as the Pro XDR stand, but the aluminum design looks nice on a desk, and the plastic back panel is hidden. The iPad attaches magnetically to the rubberized front of the stand, and plugs in to the USB-C connector.
In addition to orienting the iPad in landscape or portrait mode, you can also adjust the angle up and down to get the ideal position for what you're doing, and once situated, it doesn't move around.
The dock offers 37.5W passthrough charging to charge your iPad at full speed through USB-C, plus it adds multiple ports and charges your other accessories. There are three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, an HDMI 2.0 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, an SD card reader, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a power button. There are also two spots for Kensington locks to protect the StudioDock.
On the built-in Qi-based wireless charging pad that's at the bottom, you can charge an iPhone and AirPods, or any other Qi-based device, plus you can add-on a separate Apple Watch charging puck. You'll need to give up the USB-C port on the side whenever you want to use it, though. The iPhone charging spot charges at 7.5W, while the AirPods spot charges at 5W.
At the $380 to $400 price point, the StudioDock is aimed at those who use their iPads in a professional capacity. If the iPad Pro or iPad Air is your main work or school machine and you're using it in lieu of a Mac or PC, the StudioDock adds all of the versatility you need for a full day of work.
If you're using your iPad in a more casual capacity and have other Apple products that you use alongside it, the StudioDock is likely overkill.
The StudioDock can be purchased from the Kensington website. It's priced at $380 for the 11-inch model that works with the iPad Pro and iPad Air and $400 for the 12.9-inch model designed for Apple's largest iPad Pro.