Earlier this month Kensington launched the 2021 StudioDock iPad Docking Station, which is unlike the previous version, compatible with the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It’s a great accessory for the Apple tablet, though it’s not future proof.
Here’s my concern: the updated dock costs $399.99 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro version. That’s a lot of money to invest for an accessory that might or might not work for years to come. For example, if Apple redesigns the next generation iPad Pro — which is always a good possibility — the 2021 StudioDock might not work with it.
If you’re willing to take that chance, it’s — as my former AWT compadre, the semi-retired Steve Sande, said in a May 4 review — the ultimate iPad Pro dock. Read his review, as I agree with his critique, but have a few more thoughts on the updated dock.
The best features of the StudioDock
The StudioDock is fantastic if you’re using Apple’s SideCar feature — and if you have a Mac and an iPad, you should be. Sidecar, introduced with macOS Catalina, allows users to extend their Mac desktop by using their iPad as a second display or as a high-precision input device across creative Mac apps.
The StudioDock also greatly reduces desktop clutter. Out of the box, it can charge not only your iPad, but also an iPhone and AirPods or AirPods Pro (if the earbuds have wireless charging cases). In addition to delivering 37.5W over USB-C to charge the iPad at speeds faster than the Apple 18W charger, the dock includes Qi wireless iPhone and AirPod charging (up to 7.5W and 5W, respectively).
You can further reduce desktop clutter with an optional charging module for Apple Watch (up to 5W) that’s compatible with Apple Watch Series 7. However, that will set you back another $59.99. And the module doesn’t charge the smartwatch as fast as the 1-meter USB-C magnetic fast charging cable that ships with the Apple Watch Series 7.
Some things you should note
The StudioDock is very solid. At 5.58kg, it sits firmly on desk. However, at that weight, it’s not something you can just throw in a backpack and take with you. That’s not a complaint, just an observation.
And here are two more observations:
° You have to take your iPad out of any case to connect it to the StudioDock.
° To connect make sure you’ve firmly connected the iPad to the charging port on the dock. Push until it clicks into place. The first time I used the StudioDock, I thought it was properly connected. Hours later, I removed the iPad and found it hadn’t recharged.
You can get all the features of the Kensington dock by buying separate products. But none offer the elegant and simple design of the StudioDock.