Kensington StudioDock for iPad review: The perfect accessory for iPad enthusiasts and creatives Review

For the earlier handful of months, I have been carrying out a lot of my everyday work duties on my iPad Pro linked to an external observe. Making use of my iPad Pro for work isn’t new, but including a observe into the blend has been a new practical experience that is produced it feel even much more like a computer system substitute, even however it will not offer you genuine external screen support, but rather mirrors the iPad’s display screen (ideally that alterations soon). 

For the 1st handful of weeks, I located myself continually staring at the iPad’s screen rather of the much larger display screen in front of me considering that they the two clearly show the same thing. To crack myself of this practice, I switched from working with Apple’s Magic Keyboard with Trackpad as an enter unit, began working with a Bluetooth keyboard and a Magic Trackpad two, and moved the iPad off to the facet of the display screen, rather of directly beneath it. 

This arrangement labored, but it however felt like a workaround, partly because just about every time I wanted to use Deal with ID to unlock the iPad, open up my password supervisor or signal into a secured application, I would have to pick up the iPad. I wanted a thing that would place my iPad Pro off to the facet of the screen, but hold it at around eye stage so that when I required to use Deal with ID all I would have to do is look in excess of at the iPad’s display screen. 

Enter Kensington’s StudioDock, 1st declared all through CES back again in January. It is been offered for preorder considering that then, but beginning Tuesday, March sixteen, it is shipping and delivery.  

At 1st look it is quick to classify the StudioDock as an all-in-one hub for the 11-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the fourth-era iPad Air, but it is also a workstation that expands the abilities of Apple’s tablet, whether you might be working with it with an added observe or just as a stand to maintain the iPad at eye stage. 

I have been testing the StudioDock for a pair of weeks now. It is specifically the option I required, but it is high-priced and I have some issues about its foreseeable future. 

StudioDock.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Design

Top ZDNET Evaluations

The StudioDock seems as opposed to any other accessory or docking station I have observed for the iPad, preserve for possibly Square’s POS method, but that is a very precise use scenario. 

On the foundation of the stand you can discover two Qi wireless charging pads, every with an LED light just underneath them. The pad on the still left is able of 5W charging, whilst the appropriate facet prices at a max of seven.5W. There is certainly a fabric content that addresses the two sides, with a black rubber define that retains your units from sliding off. The still left facet has an added rubber perimeter toward the middle of the pad to reveal in which to spot your AirPods. The appropriate facet is in which you might be intended to place your Iphone. The lights turn blue when the pads are charging a unit, or pink when there’s a thing incorrect (normally incorrect alignment). 

On the appropriate facet of the stand you can discover a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones, alongside with an SD card reader. Likely to the back again of the stand, there are even much more ports. From still left to appropriate, there’s a gigabit Ethernet port, three USB 3. ports, an HDMI two. port with support for 4K at 60Hz and a port for the electric power supply. 

On the still left facet of the stand is a USB-C port that will cost units up to 18W. Just higher than that is a electric power button that turns the dock on and off. 

All four USB ports (three total size, one USB-C) permit you to connect accessories like a keyboard, mouse, digital camera or external mic to the iPad. You can also connect external storage to the iPad to entry or shop documents and documents working with the Data files application. 

StudioDock.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

There are much more than plenty of ports on the StudioDock to connect almost everything you can presently use with it. I would like to see Apple increase support for much more external units, like an external digital camera. Even if I had a wired mouse and keyboard linked to the dock, I however would have ports to connect storage or an additional accessory. 

There are two various sizes of the StudioDock. One for the 11-inch iPad Pro that also performs with the most up-to-date era iPad Air. The other size is for the major iPad we have observed to date, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Pricing for the StudioDock is dependent on the design, with the scaled-down version priced at $379, and the even larger design priced at $399. 

I have been working with the much larger version with my 2018 iPad Pro. The black pad will make up the prime of the dock, and is made up of what feels like a ton of magnets to maintain your iPad in spot. I located the easiest way to place the iPad into the stand is to rotate the mounting area to portrait orientation and slide the iPad down into the USB-C connector found at the base. When it is in spot, then push the iPad back again and let the magnets get maintain. There is certainly a cutout so your iPad’s rear digital camera is however all set to be used. Kensington is even building an attachment that connects to the mount base that will cost your Apple Look at, but that will not likely be offered till later on this yr. 

Total, I like the design and style of the StudioDock. At 1st, I imagined it appeared mildly uncomfortable, even though useful. But just after a pair weeks of use and adjustment, I can’t imagine of any design and style tweaks I would have produced to the dock. 

StudioDock.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Everyday use and overall practical experience

I have switched concerning working with the StudioDock as a usually means to connect my iPad Pro to an external observe, as pointed out higher than, and as an added observe for my MacBook Pro working with the MacOS Sidecar feature. 

I have a solitary observe on my desk, and can move concerning my MacBook Pro or iPad Pro just by modifying inputs. And with my keyboard supporting numerous wireless connections, I never have to do a lot of switching around accessories (besides switching out a mouse for a trackpad). 

The USB-C connection to the iPad Pro gives 37.5W of electric power to the iPad, charging it and preserving it there regardless of how you might be working with it. 

The display screen rotates 90-degrees, going from portrait to landscape method with small strain. You can also tilt the display screen vertically up to one hundred twenty-degrees, going from wholly vertical to laying wholly flat, and then a tiny bit further. 

On a handful of events, I have had to tilt the display screen back again to get it into a much more cozy position when working with the Apple Pencil to edit photos and screenshots. The dock’s hinge retains the iPad’s display screen in spot whilst producing or drawing, even with a average amount of money of strain staying place on the display screen. 

StudioDock.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

My frustrations with the StudioDock practical experience are rooted in the way iPadOS handles external displays, and have practically nothing to do with Kensington at all. There are two principal spots I get problem with. To start with is the simple fact that whenever the iPad is linked to a observe, iPadOS assumes that audio should be provided with that connection and the iPad’s speakers usually are not listed as an audio supply. So you either have to hook up a speaker to your observe (assuming it has one), use the 3.5mm headphone jack on the dock or connect a pair of earbuds or headphones. 

I never intellect the latter two solutions, but I never often want to have some kind of headphones on. There are occasions when I want to listen to tunes on an additional speaker, like the HomePod, but however listen to alerts and appears from my iPad. 

The second problem I have is the way iPadOS treats external displays. There are some apps that use the instruments Apple gives to present a better second-display screen practical experience. For illustration, when editing a photo in Apple’s Photographs application the external observe will screen a much larger version of the image, but you can will need to do all your editing on the iPad. It is bewildering and I’m not certain in which I’m genuinely intended to be hunting most of the time. 

The only application I routinely use that I have located to present a respectable external observe practical experience is Screens, which will allow me to remotely connect to other computers and control them. When in use, the overall display screen of the external observe is used rather of black bars on either facet of the existing application that is open up, as is the common look of iPadOS’s display screen mirroring set up. 

StudioDock.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Who is the StudioDock for?

After a handful of weeks of use, I however have a pair of issues pertaining to the foreseeable future of the StudioDock. The 1st problem is how will Apple move the iPad ahead when it arrives to docks, accessories and external shows? If operation and compatibility is greatly expanded, the StudioDocks flexibility will grow and that $400 selling price point may well not look so substantial. 

The second problem I have is this: What transpires if the next iPad Pro alterations magnet alignment, or the overall design and style, and it is no lengthier equipped to work with the StudioDock? Don’t forget, Apple is anticipated to announce new iPad Pro versions as soon as March 23, and exterior of a handful of rumors about the screen, we never genuinely know what to assume. 

The StudioDock correctly turns an iPad Pro or iPad Air into a miniature iMac. I notice viewing the iPad as a computer system substitute is a thing you either get, or you battle to see the utility. If you might be in the latter camp, then the StudioDock evidently isn’t for you. Having said that, for iPad fanatics and resourceful pros who do a lot, if not all, of their work on the iPad, then the StudioDock is a thing you should give a prolonged, really hard look at. 

It is a expensive accessory, there’s no denying that. I would like to see it at around fifty percent of the $400 selling price tag, but I’m not certain what corners would have had to been reduce to make that take place.