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Kanex iAdapt 6-in-1 USB-C docking station review: Expand iPad Pro



Kanex USB-C hub firmly clamps to the 2018 iPad Pro, adding HDMI and USB-A ports, dual memory card readers, and even a 3.5mm audio jack. It can be used with Apple's popular keyboard portfolio or without it.

This latest entry on the iAdapt line offers a very unusual design that wraps around a corner of the tablet, so we tested to see how well it is up to real world use.

Kanex iAdapt 6-in-1 Multiport USB Type-C Docking Station review

A cut-throat hazard is that they can put pressure on the iPad Pro's USB-C port. Attaching an HDMI cable, a USB cable, and an audio cable can provide a great deal of load. Even worse is that there is uneven pressure, which twists the tablet port.

Kanex's solution is to make the hub L-shaped so that it can clamp to one corner of the iPad. It is attached to the USB-C port via a short flexible cable. This makes the hub easily accessible without putting pressure on the door.

This design means that the iAdapt Docking Station can also be used with a MacBook. It cannot be stuck to the laptop, but when connected to a USB-C port, HDMI, USB-A and other ports are available. The extra flexibility is very convenient.

When we talk about flexibility, this is a product of a size that suits everyone. It's just a version for the 12.9 and 11 inch iPad Pro.

IAdapt Docking Station clings enough to the iPad Pro to almost become part of the computer. You can carry the tablet around with this attachment that is attached and it does not slip. That said, because this hub sits behind the screen, it gives considerable thickness to the corner to which it clings.

Most of the exterior is aluminum, and it comes in room gray, with curved corners, but sharp edges. It matches the look of iPad Pro pretty well, especially tablets that are also gray.

It is 3.25 inches with 1.4 inches with 0.75 inches (does not count the cable) and 1.7 grams. It fits in a pocket, or goes easily in a gear bag or purse.

If you wear the iPad Pro with this accessory attached, it is better to put it down the page first because the tablet is not flat on the back – the hub protrudes too much. And of course it is not possible to turn the keyboard behind the screen with the iAdapt Docking Station attached.

This hub rests on one of the tablet's four speakers, but is designed to let the sound pass through. We couldn't detect any strange effect on sound quality.

Plus, the designers solved another great design challenge: Part of the Apple Smart Keyboard sits behind the iPad screen, making the tablet thicker where the Adapt Docking Station needs to connect. But not everyone uses this keyboard, so the hub's design must adapt to the different thicknesses. Kanex's solution is a removable post for when the hub is used without the clip-on keyboard.

  Kanex iAdapt 6-in-1 Multiport USB Type-C Docking Station
The IAdapt Multiport Docking Station has a post so it can be used without a clipping keyboard.
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

This works well with Apple's offer and we tested it with Brydge Pro as well. We were equally fortunate with folio cases clinging to the iPad with magnets, as long as they are quite thin. IAdapt Docking Station cannot be merged with more protective cases that wrap around the corners of the tablet such as STM Atlas.

6 ports

The 2018 USB Type-C port iPad Pro supports a wide range of accessories, and the iAdapt Docking Station offers suitable ports for almost all of them.

At the top is a USB Type-A port. Once you have put this around the corner from all the others, it offers plenty of room for big thumbs.

With iOS 12, this port can be used with keyboards. Install iPadOS 13 and access almost any USB drive as well as a mouse. It offers up to 5 GB / s.

On the other edge of the Kanex accessory is an HDMI port. When used with an iPad Pro, it supports up to 2K video at 60Hz. A MacBook increases it to 4K at 30Hz.

Next, a microSD memory card reader is stacked over a full-size SD card reader. These support cards are up to 2 TB in size. With iOS 12, images can be imported from these cards, but iPadOS 13 gives full access to all content.

A USB-C port on the iAdapt Docking Station allows the iPad to receive power while this hub is in use, but that's just the beginning. Other USB-C accessories can be connected with daisies.

Near the bottom of the hub is a 3.5 mm headphone jack, convenient for connecting wired headphones or speakers.

  Adapt Multiport USB-C Docking Station
You can connect six different accessories to the Adapt Multiport Docking Station.
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

Kanex iAdapt Docking Station Performance

We tested all the ports in this hub, it is an iPad Pro running iOS 13 and can verify that they work as expected.

Tests of the gates were done individually and in combination. There was no difficulty in streaming a video stored on a thumb to an HDMI TV. Or copy images from a USB drive to a microSD card.

iAdapt Docking Station could read the contents of the USB-C thumbdrive. And it can access the USB-A port of another USB-C hub.

Sound quality through the 3.5mm connector is good for listening to headphones while working, but is probably not studio quality.

This accessory only gets a little warm, even when several ports are used. It is the aluminum house that helps to clear this heat.

Kanex iAdapt 6-in-1 Multiport USB Type-C Docking Station Final Thoughts

2018 iPad Pro is the first Apple tablet with a USB-C port. Accessory manufacturers are still exploring the best designs to work with the powerful port. Satechi's competitive offer is quite simple, while the HyperDrive version is also designed to protect the tablet's USB port. More than any of them, Kanex iAdapt Docking Station can record semi-permanent residences on the side of the tablet.

The design makes it better suited for iPad pros who usually have a clipping keyboard attached. And it is not compatible with protection cases.

Prices

Kanex's list price for Kanex in Adapt Docking Station is $ 99.95. At this time, this is a B&H exclusive.

Buy from: B&H Photo Video

Competing products

The rival Satechi Mobile Pro Hub sells for $ 59.99, but it lacks built-in memory card readers. HyperDrive iPad Pro is $ 89.99, and is the iAdapt's strongest competition.

Kanex gave Cult of Mac an appraiser for this article. See our review policy and check out several things we recommend.


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